Wednesday, 25 April 2012

What's worth fighting for?

Bear with me, I am just getting started with these thoughts... but I had someone recently say to me, "Don't give your heart away. You are worth fighting for."

But here's what's funny. It wouldn't be fighting in the traditional sense. Some guy walks up to Jane and notices Ryan Reynolds to her left and Daniel Craig to her right, and thinks, "Oh, shoot, I have to fight Green Lantern and James Bond to be with Jane."

Well, as awesome as that would be, I'm thinking it's a bit unlikely... however, there are things we have to fight against all the time, albeit less glamorous than movie stars.
We have to fight with the impulse to close ourselves off and withdraw from others, even when we can look at the situation and see very little chance of making or keeping a connection. We have to continue to try.

We have to fight with our own selfish tendencies and above all else, we have to fight to hold our loved ones in high esteem. Author Malcolm Gladwell wrote about a study of couples who were observed by psychologists. There was one determining factor that predicted if the couple would stay together: lack of contempt. If we feel like we are authorized to speak to others contemptuously, we poison the relationship (and deep down, are insecure ourselves). If we are addressed contemptuously and do not defend ourselves, we are not honoring ourselves. There is no room for contempt.

We have to fight with each other sometimes. I once dated a guy who didn't like me enough to fight with me; instead, he'd freeze me out with contemptuous eye-rolling and imply that he was so much smarter and more mature. Guess what? That romance went to hell in a handbasket. (Of course, this is open to interpretation. Disagreeing is one thing, slapping each other around is quite another.)

We have to fight for our ideas and opinions, or at least get to the point where the two sides respect (even if they don't agree with) the other side's views. If you don't have respect, you don't have much of a friendship. I know plenty of people who make decisions I'd never make, but that doesn't mean they can't be my friends.

We have to fight to get through the day sometimes. Do I ever know about this! I fought with pain and illness (still do!) and it's a process. I try to handle it gracefully, but don't always succeed. I also work in a place where shit happens all the time, and things do get ugly once in a while. If I come home, break out the comfort food, and pop in an Adam Sandler movie, guess what? My day just kicked my ass. But, as they say, the show must go on.

We have to fight to get respect from difficult people. This is always a challenge. I find that the minute you say to someone who is being difficult, "OK, have it your way, but I can't have any part of this," their respect for you grows by a hundred percent at least. I once worked with people who were constantly criticizing my work, even though they couldn't keep their business afloat. When I left, suddenly I was valuable. Suddenly, they didn't know what they'd do without me. Suddenly, my value was apparent; maybe it was because my work improved toward the end of my tenure because I knew more about what was going on, but in any case, it's hard for me to go to a place every day where I'm not treated with respect. I imagine I'm not the only person with this challenge.

We have to fight to change our situations in life. This can be one's weight, health, employment, housing, friends... anything. We have to be aware enough of patterns in our life to change them when they need changing. Overcoming addictions is a real test of a person. Here's a secret: I'm not strong enough to break an addiction so I can't let any addictions take hold. It's true. I never smoked. I never drank too much (except for that one time, and learned my lesson!). I never even learned how to BAKE because I didn't want to have to burn those calories later; have you ever seen how much sugar goes into making brownies? I mean, really!

We have to fight against our own bad habits. Even if something is normal doesn't mean it's good for you. Take, for example, the American diet. Why does KFC include a chocolate cake with their calorie-laden greasy family dinners? How on earth is this helpful to anyone? But people see this and accept it. Shoot, why not eat dessert every day? (Hint: it's because you will too much gain weight!)

We have to fight against our upbringings and make better choices for ourselves. An example of this is someone who grows up in an abusive home and chooses not to abuse others, even though he/she has been conditioned to do so. A less severe example is taking in a scene that is familiar and being able to say to yourself, "This isn't the kind of reality I want for my life; I'm going to make other choices to create a different outcome." Maybe it doesn't work every time- certainly, everything we attempt isn't always successful- but at least it's a step in the right direction.

I am just getting warmed up. Diva, feel free to add whatever you want.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you gotta fight...for your right to party!! :) had to add that in!!