Do you suffer from delusions of petiteur?

solar_system

My very first “about something” post for little Galloblog was titled “Dismounting the activism high horse.” I wrote about how I had stopped feeling the need to use my social media accounts to change the world. I recommended shifting the focus from grandiose goals for world change (“I’m going to combat world hunger!”) to realistic goals for changing your immediate surroundings (“I’m going to bring dinner to a struggling family I heard about from a mutual friend”).

I still agree with that post, to a certain degree. But I also wonder if I’ve gone too far in the other direction. Should I ignore the ills of the world? Can I really do nothing positive to help people that aren’t in my immediate circle? Mais non! Consider the following brilliant points:

One, there is a circularity to this thinking. My former conviction to focus on those around me has also fostered a callousness and indifference to The World. I know I can’t stop poverty or racism or men wearing crop-tops, so I don’t let myself think or learn about those social ills. I hate knowing about a problem and not being able to fix it. I’ve convinced myself I can’t fix it, so I ignore it. But of course my astute readers can see the circularity here – we ignore problems so they persist, they persist so we ignore them. 

Two, occasionally one person or a handful of people actually do something that is good. Women and men did come together and advocate for women’s right to vote in the United States, and now women can vote. That didn’t solve all inequality and sexism out there, but it was a good thing. Something that was worth knowing about and fighting for.

Three, sometimes even meager improvements – in relation to the grand scale of the problem – are very impactful to certain individuals. Chemotherapy didn’t cure cancer, and many people still die from cancer. But the development of chemotherapy as cancer treatment has allowed some people with cancer to live much longer than they would without. Does more still need to be done? Of course. But chemotherapy was worth working on.

Finally, sometimes you have to do the best you can with what you know, all the while knowing that you are also going to introduce some new or different bad in your attempt to bring about good. The medical community has made great progress in treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, so now we’re much more likely to die from horrible chronic diseases. Still, I’m extremely happy that dying from diarrhea is no longer a major threat to our society.

Some big issues are worth caring about and working toward. And maybe different people are more prone to and qualified for working toward different scales of change – whether that be at the macro (world hunger!), mezzo (hungry children in my congressional district!), micro (one hungry family in my neighborhood!).. nano (hungry rats in my attic?!) level. But I doubt anyone’s off the hook.. so shake off your delusions of petiteur and do something grande. 😉

*awkwardly remounts the horse*

Jojo Fletcher Mount GIF by The Bachelorette - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

 

I refuse to love you exactly the way you are

“Why can’t you love me for who I am?”

You’ve heard some variation of this question, whether from someone you actually know or while watching some dramatic interaction on the telly. It’s usually a question that doesn’t really want a real answer. It’s typically asked to shame the other person more than anything else. The implicit assumption is that real love wouldn’t want or ask for someone to change anything about themselves.

Toy Story 4 Disney GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’m not sure if that’s true. Here is why.

  • You will change, guaranteed
    • As the renowned Timothy Keller points out in the Meaning of Marriage, you should never be so enamored by the person your partner is right now that you would be devastated if they ever change. Why? Because they definitely will. Experience changes us. Time changes us. Relationships change us! It’s inevitable.
  • You should want to change
    • Everyone has varying degrees of ickiness in themselves. Let’s take for example, me. I like myself. I think I’m pretty legit. Yet, I know I have flaws. My acknowledgment of my flaws doesn’t lead me to severe self-hatred, but I do want to tame or obliterate them depending on their severity.
  • People who love you should want you to change
    • My friends and family who support me in moving forward and becoming a better version of myself are good for me. I am thankful for them. Who wants a friend spitting out their tobacco and snarling “You think you’re better than us?” and resenting your growth? Not I, said the fly.  
  • You cannot change everything about yourself
    • An important distinction in this entire Chat du Change is to strive for – and hope for, in others – changes that are actually possible and/or likely. I may not like that I can be overly emotional sometimes, but barring a drastic personality change I’m not likely to become a stoic anytime soon. BUT, I can still hope to change how much I am controlled by my wavepool of feels.  
The Exorcist Look Doc I Really Dont Understand How Her Whole Personality Could Change GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

All that being said, I also know it’s foolish to enter into a relationship (romantic or otherwise) wanting and expecting someone to change in the exact way that I want — especially if that person shows no signs of wanting that change themselves. Or, even if they appreciate the idealized version of themselves, they are making little to no progress getting there.

[IMPORTANT ADDENDUM 04/12/19: I have had a few fellas that became very smitten with a version of Cgallo that wasn’t real. It’s a little delicate, but maybe the best scenario is to have clear double vision — the ability to see and love who someone is now, but also the ability to see, love, and support a future version of themselves that they see and want to become too. I think?! I ain’t no relationship therapist! ]

Altogether, I think what might be important is surrounding yourself with people who are excited for and encourage you to be the person you could and will probably turn into. Anddddd can put up with your flaws in the meantime. God bless ‘em!

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The most annoying advice I’ve ever received

There was a long pause on the other line. Then my sister said, “Well Claire, if you don’t like something about your life… change it.”

If I didn’t love my sister so much, I would hate her. She had zero respect for my self-pity, and I was a bit put out at the time. But this advice drilled itself into my mind.

I get so upset and stressed about things in my life that I cannot control. I cannot fully control, for example, how much other people like me… or sometimes even when my own body turns against me and defiantly gains 8 lbs despite me working out more.*

So what can we actually change or control about our lives?

Well folks, I have found that I have a great degree of control over 1) who I hang out with 2) what environments I plant myself in and 3) how I act, talk, think (which ultimately, feeds back to influence how I feel!!!) about what happens in my life.

Some examples —

In the very recent past, I was getting frustrated that it seemed like the vast majority of my friends were not near as enthusiastic about hiking as I was. I wanted to go like, 1-2 times a weekend. After pouting for a while, I realized that instead of harassing my current circle of friends, I could take steps to expand my circle and actively seek out people who love to hike as much as I do. So I downloaded this app that let’s you join groups with people who have common interests in your area, and I’ve gone on several hikes with randos in the past few months. It has been super jolly meeting new people, and I no longer hate my hiking-unenthusiast friends!

I also recently had a falling out with someone. There were several contributing factors to our falling out, but one of them was that they didn’t seem to truly value me for who I was. I saw them the other day, and at first I felt almost sick with anger, bitterness, sadness — you know, the regular crew of bad feels. I thought of like 24 snarky comments, and I strategized different ways to artfully snub them with my body language. But then I was suddenly flooded with this thought — maybe from the Holy Spirit! — that was like “Is this really who you want to be?”** And I thought, Holy Toledo, no it is not. I saw them standing at a distance and I waved at them, and I could see their face flood with relief. Then we chatted for a while and it was fine. Are we going to be besties?  Probably not. Can I control how much they value me? Definitely not. But I can control whether or not I’m petty and hold on to every hurt and slight, or whether I keep the big pic in mind. This person is a Christian, and at the end of all days I truly believe we are going to be joined together with a huge group of diverse people celebrating God together. When I have that perspective, it is really difficult to hate them, or want to punish them for not valuing me as much as I think they should.

This is getting a little bogged down in my personal examples, but this is what I’m tryna say —

There’s a lot we can’t control — stop obsessing over that crap.

Recognize what you can control — and change that stuff when you can to make your life dramatically better.

When you’re struggling with how to act — think about the person you want to be. Our character is shaped by every little decision we make. So if being a petty, bitter, or frustrated person is in line with your life goals, by all means go for it. But if it’s not, then… don’t act in a way that is in line with being a petty, bitter, frustrated person!***

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Nerd confession: I kinda want to be Sydney Bristow 😬

That’s really it. I’m sorry that you all don’t have a sister as awesome as mine..  but that’s what this blog is for — so I can share my wise-sister privilege. 😀

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —-

*All the explanations of I’ve read of age-related weight gain have to do with decreased muscle mass, which makes sense generally. It makes no sense specifically when you are in fact increasing your muscle mass yet still gaining weight. And I know what you’re thinking and no, not all of it is muscle. Do you know how much work it takes to even gain a few pounds of muscle? Like gallons of whey protein, working out 3 hours a day, and oh yeah, being a man. So  I reeaaallly doubt the 8ish pounds I’ve gained in the past 2 years are pure muscle. So take your positivity ELSEWHERE. 😉

**Honestly this question has been SO FRICKIN’ HELPFUL the past few months. If it doesn’t end up being too redundant, I will post an entire blog just about this.

***Not trying to be preachy, but I honestly don’t think this is possible without the help of the Holy Spirit. Seriously — it takes supernatural power for me to not be petty!!!

 

 

You Can Keep the Change

Remember when you were a kiddo, and you used to play make-believe? Wasn’t that jolly?? Okey, then! Let’s play make-believe for une minuto.

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A gross looking pot of soup, from pixabay images.

***
Connie is making a pot of soup for a large crowd of people. There was a general consensus after the early taste-test that the soup really needed salt. So, Connie starts adding one grain of salt at a time.
Then Libby storms the kitchen, shoves Connie away from the stove, and screeches, “This isn’t progressing like it should!” She proceeds to dump an entire cup of salt into the soup and serves it to the guests.
When asked to explain her brash actions, Libby snorts, “Connie wasn’t getting anything done. We needed that tasteless soup changed NOW!” But many guests grumble about the salty disaster they were served. When Libby hears them, she huffs, “You just love tasteless soup! Plus, I prefer over-salty to under-salty.”  Some of Connie’s closest friends snap back testily, “But we prefer under-salty to over-salty!”
****
The point of this dynamo story, dear readers o’ mine, is that getting behind causes or movements that call for general “change” or “progress” is lamé. When you’re dissatisfied with a situation, don’t get on board the Generic General and chug toward Change, Otherwise Unspecified. Maybe the change suits your personal tastes, but that doesn’t mean that it will taste better for everyone. As the youths say, it’s still “extra.” It’s just extra in a different direction.

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Outstanding artistry of coins, also from pixabay images.

 So don’t be an Extra Eliza. And don’t advocate for change or progress solely because it’s different from now, even if now kind of sucks. Let’s get behind smart changes – with an actual end-goal in mind  – instead of simply, “anything but this!” That will be progress. Then we can all eat a tasty, nicely salted soup. Hmmm.. delicious.