Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Easy Out Clause... A Personal Crutch?

(Food for Thought: First, I debated calling this entry "The Easy Out Clause... A Personal Crutch?" or "The Power of Comparison" - Just thought I'd through that out as a preemptive statement...)

I have so much to write about... I feel fired up about a lot of things - not in an angry way, but in a passionate way... I find that ofttimes when I am overcome with passion about a certain subject of incident, that people think I might be angry. I assure everyone that I am rarely angry at all... In fact, when I am really mad about something I usually get very quiet and withdrawn and save speaking out for when I have calmed down. When I am speaking passionately, sometimes it just comes across as anger... Oops. That being said, I am very passionate about the next few things I will blog about.

First things first - obviously... I never understood that statement though I use it - I feel I should pose a question. What is your personal easy out clause? In other words, what do you use as your crutch in life to excuse yourself from doing things that are hard, that you are scared of, or that might make life easier?

Most people have a crutch of some kind in their lives... This is not an attack on anyone, just a realization about myself and human beings in general. Just a little preemptive note to let others know that there is no need to defend ones self... It is food for thought for all, including myself, to contemplate and hopefully determine if they have need to overcome the "crutch" in their lives. In this instance, I will discuss myself, as that is who this article is really about no matter how much I wish it wasn't - haha! Now, I shall continue...

Most people have a crutch of some kind in their lives... Most people use something about themselves or their lives as an excuse to not become as great as they could be. I don't believe anyone does this on purpose or even with a full knowledge of what they are doing. I know that I did not realize I was holding myself back. At times though, I found myself looking for the easy way out of a tough time or tough emotion. I found that I felt better about the things that went wrong in my life by blaming it on "my crutch" and feeling like I was safe from the judgement of others. I knew what I was doing, but only partially... Every time I felt bad about not finding success in relationships, leadership positions in HS, sports, jobs, or even music, it all led back to one thing in my mind.... My weight.

I would spend nights in MS/HS crying over my "lack" of a boyfriend, for not making it into the student government role I wanted, for never being discovered within my music and acting, for making the "B" team in volleyball, etc, etc, etc... and blaming it on my weight. However, the problem was not my weight... It was the fact that I was using my weight as an easy out. That might appear confusing, but I will say it again - It was NOT my weight, but my decision to blame my weight for not succeeding. It caused me to create a false comfort in my failures and unhappiness, and I found that I was able to do less work. I would go for the things in life that came easily for me, and things that were hard were blamed on not being skinny enough - not always, but often.

"People are just prejudice!"

"I'm not pretty enough... I'm too fat for him."

"They would notice my talent if I was thinner... If I just looked like HER."

These are dangerous thoughts to have... I have always been a fairly confident person - however, everyone has something that holds them back a bit in life if they let it. I have slowly stepped away from that, but it has taken time. I am confident in who I am, and have been for a long while now. However, doubts in myself return in moments of comparison... I just know have learned over time how to fight them.

Now, I am taking a step in a different direction, but it does tie into my general point. Bear with me, and please be patient as I get to that point because I believe this "tangent" explains why we use "crutches" in our lives.

Comparing is one of the most powerful tools that can be used for good or evil. I believe that we can use the power of comparison in many positive ways and it can teach us about ourselves and others... However, I also believe that comparison is one of the most powerful tools of the devil. It is used as means of convincing others that difference is negative and that they are less than another person because they are different. Whether this be with physical appearance, race, mental ability, religious beliefs or practices, wealth, talent, etc., the power of comparison can often cause others to feel inferior. That is WRONG. That is EVIL. Everyone is on equal ground - perhaps not in individual situations, personal or economical resources, or even by the power of wealth. However, each individual in this world is EQUAL in the sight of God. I wish we would be equal in the eyes of each other as well, but this article is about the most important step in making that happen... If we want to be more accepting and loving of each other, we need to be accepting and loving of ourselves.

We need to stop comparing our bodies to supermodel bodies, or even to the "prettiest girl in school." We need to stop comparing ourselves to other people in the same job that we have and where they are, with the same talents we have and how advanced they may be, and comparing our cars, house sizes, clothes... It is insanity. Society and the natural man has created enmity toward one another, and on a deeper level that is spurned from the enmity we hold toward ourselves and where we are. Stop.

Stop comparing yourself to others, and thus, stop comparing others to what you are, think you are, or want to be. No one is perfect, and yet we are all equal...

Now, tying this back to our personal "crutches" in life, we build these crutches based on the need we have to be loved and feel important. Everyone - EVERYONE - needs someone to connect to. (Side note: That is why I believe that the worst punishment for hardcore criminals would be solitary confinement... That is true punishment, and true death.) Often, as human beings we feel that we are not good enough to be with other individuals for many different reasons. We don't understand why someone doesn't to be with us, or even be a friend. We don't understand why the companies we have applied for didn't accept us. We don't understand why bad things happened to us, and not to someone else (there is that comparison tool again...)

Therefore, we create a fake sense of confidence in who we are, and use our weaknesses as excuses for our lack of perfection. We blame our problems, insecurities, trials, and misfortunes on these weaknesses instead of trying to fix them and realizing that sometimes, bad things just happen! Sometimes life sucks or we mess up... There is no reason in specifics for this. Also, sometimes if we had more faith, not only in a Divine Creator, but in ourselves, we would see that things happen for the best in the long run - and sometimes it is a LOOOOONG before one will see that.

We are told within the church that we can turn our strengths to weaknesses... Now, whether you are LDS or not, I believe that everyone knows deep down that those things that you are bad at can be improved upon with hard work, determination, and faith in yourself. That said, I believe that these weaknesses can become strengths. I don't think that this necessarily means that if we suck at basketball we can someday play in the MBA - though there have been stories of miraculous improvement through hard work leading to amazing things. However, I do believe that with work you can become better at anything, and that work and determination will make you stronger not only at that one thing, but as a person. Thus, our weaknesses become strengths. In addition, our passions grow in that thing and our confidence in ourselves grow... More strength is born.

Finally, there are times that which you are weak with can become a strength. For example, if someone is an alcoholic and works really hard to overcome that, they can. Not to say that they could necessarily drink at all anymore and be okay, but if they stayed away they could get to a point where it is no longer a needed craving... I have seen this happen. Then, this man went to schools across America talking about the power of alcohol when used negatively... He spent his time helping teens stay on a positive path and saving them from going down a similar path to where he had been. He turned his weakness for alcohol into creating a job and stability for him, and he blessed the lives of others - his weakness became his strength, and the strength of others.

I have used my weight as a crutch to lean on, instead of seeing it as a hurdle in life to cross and progress past. My weight really may have been the reason for some things happening in my life, but I can not blame problems or my unhappiness on it. I can not think that it really has held me back in any way because though I have not had a lot of things I have wanted in my life, I have done a lot of great and amazing things. However, I have used it as an excuse, alibi, and explanation at points in my life - and for a majority, this must end. I have begun the process of making that happen... I have been losing weight and taking care of myself - but even if that was not the case, I have realized I am beautiful, funny, talented, caring, smart, and a good person. I have solid priorities and am thoughtful in the way I act toward others. The things that matter are all aligning, and those things that I lack are being worked at.

We are going to feel that we don't have the same things to offer the world or others as another person might have. It is because we are all different, which is amazing. Why would we want to all be cookie-cutter children? We all have different things to offer to the world and to ourselves... That's ok. It is okay that I can not do a lick of science and that I struggle with math and spelling - Thank goodness for spell check... Thus, I will never find a cure for cancer or heal the world of aids. I will never be an operations analyst for the government or go undercover for the FBI. I will never write the next version of E=MC2... That's ok. I will teach children values and critical-thinking skills to improve themselves. I will bless the world with music and share my faith in the gospel, myself, and the world through song. I will be a mother someday and raise a child (hopefully a few) who will continue to contribute to society and give what they can give - thus, having a piece of myself give even more.

I don’t want to be the best them – I want to be the best me. Otherwise, I’m not giving what I need to be giving...

I think the most important thing to remember, from a religious point, is that we are going to lack things in life. In those things we lack, remember, we do have a Savior who will make up the rest. We have a Savior who lives and loves us... and he has not only paid the price for our sins, but has filled in the places where we are lacking... Christ has made up the difference.

Remember, you will struggle and falter in life, but failure only comes when you permanently stable yourself on a personal crutch ... Failure comes when we give up on our dreams or faith because we have a moment of weakness, and then we use that as a reason to refuse our progression from going any further. Failure only comes when you give up.

"Don't give up what you want most, for what you want at the moment..." - G.A.


1 comment:

Brooke said...

You're my hero, Linze. Thanks for your post.