Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"You want to be happy. There are more important things to do."

Isn't it interesting how the most confident, charming people you know are also the ones who most need reassurance?

In my Theories of Personality class, we just finished our unit on Carl Jung. What fascinated me most about Jung's theories is his concept of the Ego and the Shadow. The Ego is what we consciously recognize about ourselves -- often, how we define ourselves. The Shadow, on the other hand, is what we are, but only subconsciously. When traits are very strongly in the Ego, that usually means that the opposing trait is very strongly in the Shadow as well. People are made up of both Ego AND Shadow, and Jung theorized that when we stand between the two and make our choices, recognizing the pull of the other side, we are most psychologically healthy.

A brief example, just for understanding: A guy goes to a hockey game and in a dispute related to nothing more monumental than the game, kills another man. He never recognized the Shadow -- his ability to kill someone else -- and so the choice not to act on the Shadow impulse never came up until it was too late.

That said, the Shadow isn't necessarily bad. For example, a few of years ago, my Ego was a shy, reserved, quiet girl; my Shadow was a gregarious goofball. Somewhere along the way, the two have switched. On the inside, I AM a shy, hesitant person. I am! You'd never know that looking from the outside in, however, and I recognize that.

This leads me to the true point of this post...that perhaps the people whose company I crave, the people who are so clearly chatty and energetic, may also be the people who most need me to show them that I love them. In the same way that I am not so healthy, happy, and fulfilled as I may seem, perhaps my friends who seem to have it all figured out really don't.

This, then, is an invitation for me to take care of them, even when it doesn't seem like they're the ones who need to be taken care of. I'm best at pretending not to need help when I most want it; why would I assume that they're different?

It's also an invitation for me to think before I whine. I have lately wished that the men in my life were more consistent. Sometimes I feel like I'm riding a swing set, where "to" is when they are affectionate, attentive, and sweet, and "fro" is when I feel ignored, overlooked, and disconnected.

"I'm so mad at -----," I told Natalie recently. "He won't stop being nice to me!"

"How dare he!" Natalie quipped, trying not to roll her eyes. "Kick him in the shins!"

Of course I don't actually mind when men are nice to me. What bothers me in the inconsistency...that I enjoy the over-the-top niceness, but then I have to deal with being ignored. I'd much rather someone was moderately nice to me all the time.

But, as I also learned in my Personality class, there are more important things than being happy, such as (according to Adler) helping other people. I should probably stop worrying so much about how inconsistent other people are, and start taking a risk by being a consistent person for other people. The stress in our lives only exists when we consider it stressful...so maybe I should consider other people, and not think much of my stress at all.

Food for thought.

Hearing: Jennifer, talking about monthly Girls Night! :)
Feeling: wondering if I can actually do what I've just blogged about actually

Monday, October 19, 2009

Honesty and Obstacles to Education: English 495 Senior Writing Seminar Assignment

Metaphor of the Day: Homework is like brushing your teeth. Kind of annoying, especially when you'd much rather go straight to bed...but let's face it. It's essential.


"Another reason people don’t use their real voice is that it means having feelings and memories they would rather not have. When you write in your real voice, it often brings tears or shaking – though laughter too. Using real voice may even mean finding you believe things you don’t wish to believe. For all these reasons, you need to write for no audience and to write for an audience that’s safe. And you need faith in yourself that you will gradually sort things out and that it doesn’t matter if it takes time." (Peter Elbow, "How to Get Power through Voice")

My understanding of this assignment was that we were to discover what our core obstacle was to getting an education, and discuss it with full honesty. I’ve struggled with this assignment. I know what my core obstacle is...I just don’t want to talk about it. So after missing several deadlines, I met with Brother Ward and frankly told him that he didn’t know what he was asking of me. I survive by compartmentalizing my emotions; I succeed academically by removing my heart. Honesty is a hard thing to commit to, regardless of the venue.

Palmer states, “The goal of a knowledge arising from love is the reunification and reconstruction of broken selves and worlds.” That would be really, really nice – and I think, or hope, that it’s true. As I have learned more about myself – through professional counseling; wise, genuine friends; and an aching, downtrodden reach toward my Savior – I have learned the power of honestly acknowledging shortcomings.

Sometimes these shortcomings are our fault – sometimes not. That is not the point. We must confess the deficiencies that make up so much of our characters, so that the Savior can change our characters. “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. It is this: The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves you,” states Murray. As we have discussed in class, we must deeply understand the problem before the truth of the solution will become compelling.

I cried as I sat in Brother Ward’s office, while in the act of explaining that I intentionally muffle my emotions. On one hand, I did so because I was frustrated with my failure. But on the other hand, I cried because it felt so good to look the truth in the eye and confess that I was simply not up to the challenge. Individually, we don’t have to be up to the challenge of our own emotional disconnection, in our educations or otherwise. All we have to do, at least to get started, is to acknowledge that our disconnection exists, and ask for help.

Hearing: let's see how far we've come / let's see how far we've come
Feeling: a little overwhelmed, but OK

Friday, October 16, 2009


Metaphor of the Day: Dancing is like the rain. There's no being good at it --there's just loving it and letting it come.

Every now and then, I realize how much of my life I've already lived. I have had so many good things happen in my life. I LOVE college. But all of these moments...I'm not ever going to have them back. I'm never going to have Fall '08 (the Zion semester) ever again. I'll never have the experience of learning to lindy-hop again. Or my 21st birthday. Or Cindy's wedding.

Why on earth do we live our lives, unwilling to take risks? This is all we have! There is SO much to love...why would we ever waste our time on something we only liked, or someone who didn't love us in return?

So, here's a promise I make to myself for when I'm 45 and my children are just beginning to really live their lives: I will have lived my life too. Especially because I suspect (well, hope) that it's only going to get better from here.

Hearing: swing music. I love this stuff.
Feeling: weekendish

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Metaphor of the Day: Being honest when you don't want to is like wearing flip-flops in the snow. It seems fun for a minute, and maybe you even pretend it's more fun than it is. But, in the end, it's neither practical or comfortable.

I have been praying very carefully lately:

Father, please, if an opportunity comes, help me to act on it. And Father...if an opportunity never comes...help me to be OK with it.

Sometimes, I have a hard time being honest with God. Cognitively, I know how crazy that is -- He's God, He knows everything anyway! Feeling that is another matter, of course, but I'm trying.

Hearing: hairdryer
Feeling: a little rushed...