I had a thought.
No, it’s not the first time that has happened. Shut up. 🙂
I was angry at someone this morning because she said something that I thought “was meant to hurt me.”
But then I realized: Apart from what she actually said, I don’t know what she meant. It might have been just a careless remark. I have no way of knowing what was in her mind.
A lot of times we get upset because of what we assume about what other people are thinking, what they intend, or how they feel about us. But we have no first-hand way to know any of that.
Here’s what I think. When someone says or does something that we could interpret in a bad way — but which we could also interpret in a good way — then we should interpret it in the good way until and unless that’s proven wrong.
We will be happier and have more peace of mind. It’s also fairer to the other people.
And one other note: This is my 193rd blog post. I’d like to make it to 200 posts by graduation. If I can, I’ll post some graduation photos and thoughts for my 200th blog post.
Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.
So are you.
We think that we’re in control of our lives, but we’re not.
We absolutely should do our best and work hard. But we should also realize that what happens to us depends on all kinds of things outside of our control.
What got me thinking about it was a New York Times column yesterday in which the writer quoted the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes:
The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.
Sometimes, we don’t appreciate how lucky we are.
Yes, the United States needs to improve in a lot of ways. Still, we live in a wealthy country, with freedom and opportunities. The most fortunate among us (including almost all college students) have access to education, adequate food, recreational activities, and medical care. We have never been deprived of anything truly important.
I work hard at my studies, and so do most of my friends. But if we had been born in an undeveloped country where the per capita income was $1 a month, our hard work wouldn’t get us nearly as far. The same would apply if we had been born as “crack babies” sick with AIDS. The difference between those lives and ours is the good fortune with which we have been blessed.
I am not a better person than people with less opportunity: I’m just luckier. And it’s good for all of us to remember that about ourselves.
We are all in this together, and we shouldn’t turn away from helping those who need it.
Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.
I’d like to share a few things that I’ve learned. Some of the ideas are related to each other:
1. Life isn’t just about me.
Sometimes, I get to be the star and other people support me. Sometimes, other people get to be the star and my job is to support them. The same applies to all of us. Sometimes we’re the star, sometimes the supporting actor. We should play either role with grace and gratitude.
Sometimes, things go the way we want and other people are disappointed. Sometimes, things go the way other people want and we get disappointed. When the latter happens, share the happiness of the people who “won” this time, learn whatever you can from the situation, and then move on to the next goal without looking back.
2. If something isn’t in our control, don’t stress over it.
Sometimes, we and the people we love will get sick. Sometimes, we won’t get the jobs or the social situations we want. Sometimes, we will get dumped. By the time we’re 30, the Arctic ice pack will probably be history (not that we were ever going to go there, anyway). Someday, the sun will explode. Someday, each of us will almost certainly die.
We can’t do a thing about any of those events. Don’t worry about them. Try to invest emotional energy only in things we can control.
3. People do whatever they do. Get over it.
People always think they have good reasons for doing what they do. We usually don’t know what their reasons are. Even when someone makes a hurtful remark, she’s doing it for a reason. Maybe she misinterpreted something we said or did, and that hurt her. In her mind, we were the ones who started it. She might think that she’s just striking back.
People very rarely do mean things just from pure meanness. Instead, they have reasons that make sense to them. In addition, they often have subconscious motivations of which they aren’t even aware.
The best thing we can do is try to be as fair and as nice as we can to everyone. If they don’t act that way toward us, remember that we don’t know their reasons. They see the situation differently from the way we see it.
We are only in charge of our own behavior. We should only worry about making sure that our own actions are fair and loving. How other people act is their choice, between them and their conscience. We have no control over that, so we shouldn’t worry about it.
4. This, too, is for the good.
Our viewpoint is very limited. We don’t see the big picture and we are biased by our own desires. When something happens that frustrates us, we need to remember fact #1: “Life isn’t just about me.”
If we can improve a “bad” situation without hurting people, then we should do it. Otherwise, we should trust in the essential goodness of the universe and not worry about it. Things will work out for the best.
5. Happiness and fulfillment are the goals of life.
For you, for me, and for everyone. Things that help people achieve happiness and fulfillment are good. Things that frustrate the process are bad.
In our personal actions, we should seek happiness and fulfillment for ourselves in a way that supports other people’s pursuit of them. In our countries’ social policies, we should do the same. Policies that help the most people achieve the most happiness and fulfillment are good as long as they don’t violate people’s rights or cause excessive harm.
Copyright 2009 by Rinth de Shadley.
I’m dead tired after the long drive but too excited to sleep. Dad went to bed as soon as we got checked in. I thought that people were supposed to need less sleep as they got older? Not that he’s very old.
I went for short walk, but it’s about 50 degrees and a bit chilly for me. Not as chilly as it will be when winter arrives, but then I’ll be better prepared for it.
Sorry, I’m rambling. (Again.) It’s the combined effects of fatigue, adrenaline, highway food, and joyful anticipation.
I suppose that I should at least lie down, close my eyes, and try to sleep. I hope that your night has gone as well as mine!
Every day is interesting because you don’t know what will happen. You might meet the love of your life, or win the lottery, or the earth might get hit by a comet.
Of those three options, I prefer the first two. If I could only choose one, I would naturally choose to meet the love of my life. But like most things, that’s not in my control. We partly make our lives, but mostly they just happen to us and we have to deal. That’s about as philosophical as i can get at 6:30 in the morning.
I’m still sleepy but I have to get dressed and finish my studying from last night before I go to work. I have a summer job working as a restaurant server and I usually work lunch, but I have to be there at 9am. It helps that I wear a server uniform so I don’t have to decide what to wear, but I go to class right after work, so I still need some nice clothes for class in case the love of my life shows up.
I want these blogs to be interesting, but I wonder how other bloggers do that. Most of my life is routine, and I don’t want to make things up just to have something to write about. I’m still working on the tone. I want it to be sassy, provocative, and a little sexy. I suppose that I could blog some of my poetry or talk about my math homework, but that would probably put everyone right to sleep. I have definite opinions about fashion, hair, and makeup, but I don’t want to bore any readers who are guys. I don’t think that I should talk too much about where I live because of the danger of stalkers. Oh, well, I will figure it out.
Enough for now. If you think that my life is interesting enough to read about, then thank you! If you come into the restaurant today, I will give you a free latte.
Copyright 2009 by Rinth de Shadley.
I’m getting a late start this morning because my date last night ran long. We sat downstairs and watched DVDs for most of the evening.
I teased him that I wanted to watch “Gossip Girl,” but we ended up watching a German movie called “Run Lola Run.” It was a good compromise because it had a strong female character for me, and she was sexy enough to interest him. The movie was about a woman whose boyfriend lost $100,000 belonging to a drug dealer. She has 20 minutes to get the money somehow or the drug dealer will kill him. It was actually pretty cool, and it does last longer than 20 minutes (I won’t spoil it by telling you how). I am glad that the actress lives in Germany, because even though she must be at least 30, my date’s tongue was hanging out all through the movie. I don’t need that kind of competition. On the other hand, his tongue was still hanging out after the movie and he was full of energy, so that was a good thing.
I’m mostly studying today (Sunday) because I don’t get much time during the week between my summer job and summer school class. Tonight, it’s my turn to cook dinner for the family, so I think that I’ll make chicken and dumpling casserole (tasty but fast and easy to make) with pasta salad and buy some cookies for dessert. Yes, I do know how to make cookies, but mine aren’t as good as the ones from the bakery.
Copyright 2009 by Rinth de Shadley.