Isn't it interesting... I was just about to say that you both deserved a prize for reading through my ramblings, but then I stopped myself because I realized that was, in a way, putting myself down. Which is in essence part of what I was discussing in my LJ post, how oftentimes people feel compelled to make resolutions not because of positive reasons like yours, Steph, but because they feel there's something wrong with themselves, something that isn't good enough, something that needs to be corrected, and as a result they get down on themselves and treat themselves as if what they do and say has no value.
I think part of my getting stirred up about it is exemplified by corporations' marketing and media's willingness to prey upon people, especially those who are depressed or lacking in self-confidence. Just turn on your television and you can see it happen. While I had lunch yesterday, I watched a bit of one of the Bones episodes that was running in a program marathon on TNT. While I watched, every time the show went to commercial, immediately there were ads running for weight loss pills or exercise equipment. The focus of the commercials was in showing overly thin yet beautiful women dressed in bikinis (as compared to you, the viewer, who is clearly not as fabulous until you buy their product). Gag. The other focus was about how 'quickly' their product will work for you, which is crap because there are so many other factors involved with losing weight; one item alone is not going to do it. Preying on people's insecurities and desperation (especially after the holidays when they might be feeling like they overate or celebrated a little too much) may be an effective selling technique but is at the same time a very cruel one. Not to mention that it only serves to make people feel worse when the product doesn't do exactly what the ads say. Instead of blaming it on the item or the deceptive sales pitch, the buyer tends to blame him or herself, as if they didn't use it correctly or not often enough or because they were somehow lazy or inferior (especially in comparison to the buxom beauty in the ad). It's a vicious cycle. Personally, I think those types of products should be boycotted until the companies and advertisers try a little harder to find positive ways of selling their products. But that's a whole other soap box topic.
At any rate, I took one look at that commercial and changed the channel... only to find commercials for similar products running on several other channels at the same time. This seems to happen every year right after the holidays. It's like clockwork: the new year begins, and these commercials emerge full-force. I find it disgusting.
Okay, that was a long tangent! Moving on...
Like I mentioned in my initial post above, I suppose it's all in how you view it. I think that resolutions can be valuable for some, especially when the goals come from a positive place, with a positive attitude. In other words, knowing that these are not rigid rules you're expected to follow, realizing that you're doing the best you can, and cheering yourself on for what you are able to accomplish (rather than berating yourself for what you couldn't). It sounds like you take that point of view, Steph, and I think that's marvelous. I cheer you on!
I think most people who make resolutions think of them as desirable and attainable -- they want to lose weight or work less/more or spend more time with family, etc. -- and that's terrific. Those are good goals. But I think people often make those blanket statements without any backup plan on how to achieve it, you know what I mean?
For example, people say "I will lose weight" and decide to eat less, but don't account for the certainty that every work day around 4 pm they lose energy and get really hungry. Without a way to combat that issue, they end up eating (perhaps even more than they normally would, because they've been depriving themselves as part of their well-intentioned resolution) and then they feel bad because they aren't able to keep their resolution. Not everyone, of course, because some have a much more relaxed attitude about it (ah well, I tried, c'est la vie, there's always tomorrow). I think my focus in my LJ post was more for those people who don't have that kind of attitude, those who feel like yearly resolutions are a punishment, those who immediately go to the negative and get down on themselves or get depressed when they're unable to keep up with a resolution. My point to them (and perhaps to myself) is that you can say no, I will not do this to myself this year. I do not need to make resolutions. I will not focus on what I think is wrong with me, especially right at the turn of the new year when the hyper energy of the holiday season has just died down and I may be feeling a bit deflated. Instead, I will amp up the positives, which may in turn allow me to see myself (and others) in new, more enjoyable, and more balanced ways. And -- pardon the language -- screw New Year's! This is something that I can do all year 'round.
Absolutely! And I like what you had to say about fate. I do believe some things occur just when you may need that particular lesson, and eventually -- like you said, if you follow the little or big signposts along the way -- you find your way along the path of your particular life's journey.tennantselbow wrote: I think most people are far too hard on themselves - beat themselves up about things they have no control over. Life can be pretty crappy and sometimes you've just got to sit back and think 'I did the best I could'.
It's interesting, what you said about the credit crunch and how 2009 may end up a rough year financially for many, yet may cause people to value material items less (which is a good thing). This year my family asked me to make up a small list of what I wanted for Christmas so they'd have a starting point for Xmas gift shopping. I have to say, it was really challenging for me to come up with a list this year, mainly because it all seemed so stupid. Don't get me wrong, getting presents is really fun. I enjoy it. Who doesn't? And giving can be so amazing, especially when you know you came up with something really clever and spot-on. However, this year it all felt so pointless. At the risk of sounding repetitive (apologies for that!), I got laid off from my job last year, and as a result, cut back severely (almost to a punishing point) in order to make sure I could afford to live, as I made my way through this rough patch. To come up with a list of silly little things (fun though they may be) just seemed so unnecessary. Especially when the only thing I really wanted was to find a new job, one that (dare I wish for it) might even be creatively fulfilling. The greatest gift for me would be to find smart ways to get started on that particular path. As a result, the material stuff held no value for me this year. That's probably a good thing, but it did make me sad because I wasn't able to enjoy the holiday as much as usual. Then again, giving to my nephew and nieces and watching their faces light up with excitement was enormously gratifying, so I did appreciate that.
And I really appreciate a good conversation, so thank you both for reading what I wrote and considering what I had to say and discussing it with me.