found! not lost blog

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver

To be less stupid in the New Year…

I’m baack.  Apologies for the hiatus to those who actually missed me.  What began as a break from writing during the pre-Christmas scramble (during which I run out to stores the week before Christmas to procure not the last-minute gifts, but ALL of the gifts, send out our Christmas cards, etc. etc.) turned in to a two-week-plus hiatus.  We were busy relaxing, playing, cleaning, and generally doing a bunch of stuff we don’t do when we’re working.

Not that I didn’t think to write, but maybe it was the sense that if I wrote around Christmas or New Year’s I’d have to write about those things, and I didn’t have much to say on either topic at the time.  But now I do (belatedly) thanks to an article on the Huffington Post shared with me by a friend the other day, titled:12 Really Stupid Things I Never Want To Do Again”. 

Check out the link above, it’s worth a read. The gist is this: stop doing things that make you either unhappy or intolerable to be around — all classifiable according to the author as “stupid things”.

An aspirational goal, inspirational way of looking at our own behaviors even if it is a bit hyperbolic.  Worrying about your looks is hardly because you think your friends won’t like you otherwise (unless maybe you’re in junior high, in which case they might not), but some of us actually get joy in dressing for ourselves. It’s not about approval from others — but the idea of focusing more on what’s inside than outside, yeah, I get it. That resonates. 

Not making fun of people?! Really — you’re killing me, Reverend. I get that it isn’t kind, necessary, or even always true, but I this is a tough one. I don’t do it often, but there’s definitely a sarcastic part of me that can’t resist an occasional comment or two — and I’m also guilty of getting a laugh out of other people’s smart remarks, who can honestly say they don’t? If you watch Chelsea Lately or E! The Soup you know exactly what I mean.  But – we can probably all agree the really mean-spirited stuff (that which is laughing at the person more than with them) is not necessary to living a humor-filled life.

As for the others, I do agree that things like comparing yourself to others, “should”-ing ourselves, trying to compel others to like you, interrupting, working constantly, not giving people a break, or generally being a jerk are behaviors that can and should be limited. They don’t add any value to our lives, and limiting them actually can make our lives and those of people who have to be around us a lot more enjoyable.

Something I’ve learned to do better in the last couple of years was letting go of the need to be liked, and not being too hard on myself. It’s sort of happened as I’ve gotten older, the self-acceptance and the realization that who I am is just fine, but may not be for everyone and that is just fine too. My version of Stuart Smalley’s “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, (enough) people like me!”. HA!  Along these lines, working constantly is no longer a struggle for me as once I got to the likability and self-acceptance I was able to feel confident about myself and my work performance without working around the clock. In fact, I like myself better because I’m not a workaholic — makes me a better and more interesting person, wife, mother, than I was before.

Goals for this year that I could adopt were well-articulated in the article:  try to give other people a break (only fair if I’m letting myself off the hook, per the above!) and not interrupting — something I tell my kids, but don’t always obey myself.  I talk a lot, I talk fast, I think I’m an OK listener, but others may not feel like I’m listening if I’m also interrupting. This flows into the last one: not being a jerk — seems obvious, but to really look at the writer’s examples of jerk-like behavior and hold myself to NOT doing this, it’s a good challenge. And interrupting is a jerk behavior too, BTW.  So, these are goals, not “New Year’s resolutions”, since I do not believe change has to happen based on the date on a calendar, but maybe they offer some fodder for your own reflection. Which of the 12 do you think you’re most guilty of and do you agree with the article’s stance, do they all need to go?  Have you successfully tackled any of these already?

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This entry was posted on January 5, 2012 by in learn and tagged , , , , .
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