Remember…

A reminder for myself…well, for anyone, really…

“Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us—a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain—it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves. It’s made of exertion, that dowdier cousin of impulse. Sometimes we care for another because we know we should, or because it’s asked for, but this doesn’t make our caring hollow. The act of choosing simply means we’ve committed ourselves to a set of behaviors greater than the sum of our individual inclinations: I will listen to his sadness, even when I’m deep in my own. To say “going through the motions”—this isn’t reduction so much as acknowledgment of the effort—the labor, the motions, the dance—of getting inside another person’s state of heart or mind. This confession of effort chafes against the notion that empathy should always arise unbidden, that genuine means the same thing as unwilled, that intentionality is the enemy of love. But I believe in intention and I believe in work. I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.”

Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams
(via fyp-psychology)

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Thinking about things…

I can’t tell if I’ve been lazy about this blog…Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true. I feel like I’ve been lazy with my posts. I’ve set a goal of posting almost every day and I think I’ve mostly stuck to that. However, WHAT I post…I do think about anything I post but the regular things that I write are short and reactive. What I mean isn’t just that they’re easy, which they are, but that they reflect almost exactly what I think or feel at that moment or at any given day. The harder task would be to regularly post about topics that require thoughtful discussion and would need me to re-read and possibly edit what I write and how I’m expressing things…

I want to be more thoughtful. I want to improve my writing. I want to improve my thinking, my critical thinking, especially about topics that I don’t know much about. Those weren’t the primary goals of me starting a blog but those are things that I think about a lot because I am someone who is more articulate on paper than in conversation. I am someone who is very tentative about speaking…

One of the actual purposes of this blog for me is to archive things I think are cool (like the Dr. Who videos, the TED talks, science-y and space-y stuff…have I actually put up any space stuff? Space is cool.) and I’ve not done that in a while. I’m not sure why…

Some of what this blog consists of seems to be how suck-y I think everything is…a lot of the time…and I don’t like that. I feel like it becomes some sort of spiral. I definitely think a person should be honest about what they’re feeling and thinking. No repression, generally. It’s just when I dwell and obsess…and in doing so, forget the good things and blessings in my life…because there are so many. They don’t and shouldn’t be expected to lessen the effects of…fine, my depression. Honestly, I’m depressed. I can recognize that I have SO many good things in my life and at the same time, I shouldn’t feel so guilty when I’m in a really bad place mentally. It makes it harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel when I’m dealing with the guilt on top of the depression…

Anyways, hopefully, I can implement some changes here. Not immediately and not wholesale. Slow and steady, right? This is obviously mostly a promise to myself said into the void of the internet.

resolution

Ok, it’s probably weird to make a resolution in the middle of October but I just wanted to start reading books again. I feel like all I read are articles, whether they’re topical or news, and that is just really starting to frustrate me. It’s not that I’m too busy or anything. It’s just easier to read these bites of material or watch a TV show or even just an online video than to actual read…

So…hmm, at this point, is a book a month too ambitious?…Hmm…going to try it. Need to pick something for November…

Happy mediums are hard…

Listening is always good. Know when to speak. For the longest time, I had pretty great self control in a sincere, serious way. I was actually and honestly interested and wanted to listen to and consider everyone’s opinions and POVs. But I was mostly silent on mine and was therefore thought to be indecisive or generally…well, dumb. Part of that was that, in actuality, I was constantly re-evaluating and forming my opinions and was never confident enough in them to speak. Somewhere along the line, I wanted to be heard…I actually wanted to speak and have people listen to me. I feel like I went overboard in my enthusiasm because I couldn’t understand why people were disagreeing with me and making me feel dumb…they probably thought I was dumb and uninformed and naive or cynical, depending on what subject we were discussing.

I’m trying hard not to regress into my former approach and to just try and find a happy medium where I feel like I can express myself without coming away from conversations SURE that I was right and they were wrong because obviously they’re stupid. That kind of attitude is noticeable, I think, and contributes to their opinion that I don’t think things through and don’t know what I’m talking about…a lot of the problem is that I don’t communicate well verbally…it’s very, so very difficult for me to communicate articulately and effectively…especially when I feel attacked and on the defensive. This is why I understand the defensive response to some of my inflammatory opinions but also…well, if I’m aware that I should change how I deal with it and think about it, why don’t other people? That is hugely selfish and bratty too, I think. Basically, in the process of trying to improve myself. I also whine about superior I feel/am since I notice my faults so why can’t other people notice theirs, etc.

Ugh, sometimes I need to remind myself I’m human but I kind of hate that that means I can’t be perfectly good and nice to everyone without effort…because I hate hurting other people or having to take hurt, however unintentional, from others…

Things I’m thinking about…

I want to become a better listener. I feel like…I’ve allowed myself to be stressed out and frustrated by other people and I wind up thinking about how dumb and stupid these people are…okay, so I don’t want to be all “I blame myself for everything! I can control myself and everything around me!” because that is a mode or mindset that I do get stuck in but at the same time, I feel like I’ve defaulted to a place where, if you disagree with me, then you’re stupid or uninformed or whatever. Opinions can be conflicting and well-informed. But priorities and issues are different for different people.

(For example, I grew up in a very conservative, religious environment. I still greatly respect and look up to a lot of those people and I personally still identify with my faith. However, I am pro-choice. I support gay marriage and equal rights in general. I am a liberal with both socialist and libertarian leanings…confusing, huh? I am an environmentalist. I am a scientist. I am very issue-based. I think vaccines are good. I think that self-regulation within industry isn’t always appropriate. I feel very strongly about the separation of church and state as well as about freedom of religion. I do not think a hijab is a symbol of oppression. I don’t think all priests are perverts. I think that Islam and Christianity and Buddhism and all religion are beautiful and full of flaws. I feel, like secularism and atheism, religion is a motivation for both positive and negative actions in the world. We’re human.)

Anyways, I feel like I can’t properly listen to people and actually hear their point of view because I’m too busy sound-biting their stance in my head…which is so disrespectful and I really want to stop.

On the other hand, I’m not sure if I want to understand people who genuinely think that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the best thing for America. I’m really actually scared of the future America that that would mean…and of the America that exists currently that would vote one of them into office…the America that not only values the things that these two people represent individually and collectively but is opposed to anything else…