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!!!

 

 

Lady may I?

In light of the recent sexual assault accusations against… basically every male in Hollywood … I wanted to say somethin’ very quickly to the (hopefully) majority of men who are not sexual predators and never want to be.

How ’bout you fellers start asking -and pausing an appropriate amount of time – before touching any extra-familial lady in any way that is more intimate than say… a handshake.

Even with something as low-key as a kiss, a simple, sweet, and respectful gesture is to ask first before you just go for it.

If you’re afraid that asking will make you seem timid or weak, or the whole experience will be less sexy or something, I beg to differ. The few times that guys have asked me for a smooch,  it was yowza yowz.*

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So hot 🔥🔥🔥

I bring up this suggestion because I am honestly scared for my heterosexual laddies who have been relying on the tried-and-untrue “read-her-signals” method to figure out when and what to do in a romantical situation. In the current dating climate, relying on your subjective interpretation of a woman’s  — who you probably barely know, I may add — “signals” isn’t just unwise or ungentlemanly— it’s downright assinine.

Anyway, I promised brevity and brev I shall be.

If you read any of this read this: I humbly ask you to humbly ask. You have everything to gain and practically nothing to lose… except a future sexual misconduct allegation. And in the meantime, you might make a few ladies feel valued and respected. Give it a try today!

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Of course there was one time when I said no, but it wasn’t as awkward as you might imagine.. and actually it ended up being much less awkward than it would have been if he had just gone for it. So you ask, and worst case scenario she says no and your ego wimpers a bit vs. you don’t ask, and worst case scenario you think everything’s great, then find out later that she told your entire social circle that you pressured her and made her feel icky.

 

 

 

A smart jerk is still a jerk

Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist… that don’t impress me much. – Shania Twain

As dangerous as a little knowledge is, even more dangerous is much knowledge without a strong, principled character.  – Ghandi

And if I … understand all mysteries and all knowledge, … but have not love, I am nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:2*

This year I graduated 22nd grade. You heard me – a full decade of post-high-school education! Yowza. I’ve been deep in the dark recesses of academia for a while, surrounded by all the smartie-pants.

They are many fab things about working around and being friends with smarties. They sharpen you. They don’t let you get away with lazy thinking, or holding too tightly to untested assumptions. Even my lunches have been subject to the critical appraisal of my labmates, no lolz. So, I highly recommend having at least a few hard-core smarties in your life.

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Shania gets it, y’all.

**BUT** please don’t romanticize the intelligentsia. Being smart and/or educated (trust me, these are not mutually inclusive!) just means that .. you’re smart and educated. It doesn’t make you a good friend, it doesn’t give you good character, it doesn’t give you wisdom. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that you live out what you know. Seriously – people accuse Christians of being hypocritical, but great googly moogly! I know so many academics who – in stubborn refusal to acknowledge decades of nutrition research  – rebelliously guzzle diet cokes and stuff pizza in their faces as they listen to a talk on the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease.**

Smarties can also be arrogant and dismissive, especially to those who are not as intellectually gifted. #dumblivesmatter

Smarties can also apply their knowledge in a destructive way. I hate to play the Nazi card, but I’m going to play the Nazi card. Germans were highly educated. They weren’t in-bred rednecks who got super drunk one night and decided to go on a killing spree. There is a horrifying logic to eugenics, actually.

So what’s my point — not that being intelligent makes you evil. It’s just.. one – and only one –  feature that’s pretty coolio. But please, please don’t over-glorify it. Being loving, kind, joyful, a peacemaker, humble, good, faithful, gentle, having self-control*** those are the qualities that are truly unique and praiseworthy. Maybe being intelligent will help you live some of these out more fully, but being smart is not sufficient, and probably not even necessary to have this kind of character.

So sure – let’s all give up a golf clap for smart people, but let’s not go into standing ovation territory. And if you happen to be brilliant, get over yourself – and make sure you seek out the mentorship of people who will help corral your smarts for good and not evil.

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*edited for conciseness, but it’s a beautiful chapter so read the whole caboodle!

** FYI artificial sweeteners and diets high in saturated fat can increase your risk of AD #thatonewasforfree #yourewelcome #shamelessselfpromotion

*** You good church folks are probably noticing I’m getting a little FRUITY!!

Unsung Sheroes: A Tribute to Action Jackson

For every 1 doer, there are 1,537 (+/- 49) critics.*

As any writer will tell you, it is much easier to edit a rough draft than produce that rough draft.**

In 15 minutes, a reviewer can rip apart a 2 hr movie that took 14 months to make.***

It’s all too easy to rally around the sentiment, “this sucks!” It is profoundly difficult to craft and implement a new and better plan.

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Bah, free images are the WORST. *sigh* but uh, thanks pixabay.

It takes courage to act, because doing or changing anything is bound to upset people. There are some who brave that headwind and stand front and center, bearing the brunt of inevitable push-back. Louie Giglio said (paraphrased) – “If you feel headwind, it just means you’re going somewhere.”  [insert obligatory Teddy Roosevelt quote here]. In a world of self-appointed Monsieur Criticisizés, it’s downright ballsy.

Now, are these Action Jacksons flawless? Not at all, Rosenthal. But instead of sneering from the sterile balcony of idle criticisms or suffocating in a sink-hole of analysis-paralysis, they do. They take the best course of action they know how with the information that they have. Acting without thinking can be dangerous– yes! But maybe equally, if not more, damaging is thinking without acting.

Just like Honest Abery, this shouldn’t be revolutionary, but it is. Action Jacksons are a dying breed.

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Carrots are better than sticks. Carrots in a basket made of sticks.. next level. (Free image from pixabay)

So what can we do? Well, for every criticism we have, we can try to find a counter-example and praise that instead. Ya know, carrots instead of sticks. Also, when you have a legitimate disagreement with a doer, I would suggest contacting them personally and talking to them about why you disagree with them instead of publicly smearing their name. Doers have feels. Do not let the seeming anonymity of social media turn you into an inconsiderate arse.

I salute you, Action Jackson!

— EDITORIAL NOTES —
*Galloswag, 2017, personal observations.
**Galloswag, 2017, personal reflections.
***Galloswag, 2017, personal estimations.