: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
Life is full of compressive stress, misfortune, change. All of which may or may not be deformation causing.
For quite a while now, I have been pathetically lacking in this kind of necessary life gumption that gets you through the day without slumping over at every poke. I am a strained body, incapable of recovering my size and shape after the pokes and prods of everyday life. It’s nobody’s fault — just the result of a lot of different stressful events, thoughts that have made me sad, questions that have gone unanswered. And questions that have not yet been answered — at least not to my satisfaction.
I’ve been doing a lot of bemoaning and emoting, sometimes productive, and at other times, really not. And yeah, it’s healthy to let yourself feel stuff through and to “be okay with not being okay,” which itself was a huge milestone of a realization when I came upon that gem.
But I think it’s time to snap out of the self-pity-parties and not be so slumpy anymore. I wanna be resilient. *snap snap* Am I resilient yet?
Hm. How does one build resilience? Just spit-balling here, so forgive the mess:
First, acknowledge the bad. You’ve got a trove of sadnesses indeed, and those have made you the person you are JUST as much as the happinesses have grown you. Give them time in your thoughts without letting them crease your face.
Remember the good. Remember how things have turned out, remember the nuggets that were gleaned as a result. Remember how faithful.
Noodle about how the sadness, the gladness, the redemption all fits into the picture of creation as God has made it. The limits of your imagination =/= the limits of actual human reason, let alone God’s purposes. Ask older, wiser people when stuck.
Read back on sappy stuff about MM, cause he’s loved you since such a long time ago, back when you din’t barely hardly know nothin’ about what love even is. Back when you were going around like a fool, asking everyone else’s opinion, trying to social scientist your way to an answer.
What really inspired this post was the simple thought that I have been a little bit like the squishy white exterior of a steamed bun — impressionable in a bad way, no spring-back if you poke me — and that I would like to quit it and stop being this way.
Pray more, obsess less. Love more, demand less. Do more, brood less. Seems simple enough, right?
I liked New York! and yeah, that’s something I’ve thought about these past two trips there — whether I’d like to live there or not. I think I’d like to — just for a year or two, maybe. it’s definitely a little too crazy for me for the long term, but I think for a short while, I’d enjoy the liveliness! Mark never wants to live there, though, so…maybe not. haha we’ll see. who knows what’ll happen. I never went to Take 31!
I know it must be so hard… but you’re absolutely right that the Lord is with you. and through EVERYTHING, he’s shaping you and molding you to be the person you’re meant to be. yeah, maybe that’s a good gauge of whether or not you’re progressing and moving in the right way — if certain steps you take (or don’t take) are refining you (in your character) to be more like a character that God would be pleased with. the fruits of the spirit, right? if certain situations, even if they don’t seem to be “clear” in terms of your career path or life trajectory, are increasing your character’s capacity for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… maybe that’s a good sign. but if you’re decreasing in patience… if you’re at a loss for joy… if you can’t hold onto faithfulness… maybe it’s not the way to be going. maybe it’s time to find a different direction from the Lord. whatever that might mean in your life right now.
a verse that talks about this “refining” love of God: Isaiah 48:10
this is a good reminder for me, too. life is pretty good in general, but I find myself getting impatient with people around me — friends, family — and also just really easily upset by trivial things. traffic. messes to clean up. stupid stuff like that. and I take out my anger on other people around me. but doing that takes away any semblance of love, of joy, patience, kindness, goodness from my character… I am NONE of those things when I dwell on the negative. this is clearly not the right place for my mind and my heart to be in.
thoughts thanks to an articleshare by gloroh. response much, much to belated, but finally here.
as an overly proud English major whose heart, in recognition of itself, beat faster at these paragraphs —
The first thing that college is for is to teach you to think. That doesn’t simply mean developing the mental skills particular to individual disciplines. College is an opportunity to stand outside the world for a few years, between the orthodoxy of your family and the exigencies of career, and contemplate things from a distance.
But it is only through the act of establishing communication between the mind and the heart, the mind and experience, that you become an individual, a unique being—a soul. The job of college is to assist you to begin to do that. Books, ideas, works of art and thought, the pressure of the minds around you that are looking for their own answers in their own ways.
I’d like to think that the author of this article would be very proud of me. despite the fact that UVA didn’t make his list of recommended schools not trying to compete with the Ivies.
and this, this stuff is tragic; it makes me want to send this article to everyone I know who went to Ivy League schools and somehow coerce them into telling me their true inner thoughts. is it real? —
Before he started college, he spent most of his time reading and writing short stories. Three years later, he’s painfully insecure, worrying about things my public-educated friends don’t give a second thought to, like the stigma of eating lunch alone and whether he’s “networking” enough. No one but me knows he fakes being well-read by thumbing through the first and last chapters of any book he hears about and obsessively devouring reviews in lieu of the real thing. He does this not because he’s incurious, but because there’s a bigger social reward for being able to talk about books than for actually reading them.
Look beneath the façade of seamless well-adjustment, and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation. A large-scale survey of college freshmen recently found that self-reports of emotional well-being have fallen to their lowest level in the study’s 25-year history.
and then, the following para made me think of this vidjo which I believe we discussed at our last dinner date.
So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect ofnot being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential.
and overall, I really agree with his final suggestion for reformation:
The education system has to act to mitigate the class system, not reproduce it. Affirmative action should be based on class instead of race, a change that many have been advocating for years. Preferences for legacies and athletes ought to be discarded. SAT scores should be weighted to account for socioeconomic factors. Colleges should put an end to résumé-stuffing by imposing a limit on the number of extracurriculars that kids can list on their applications. They ought to place more value on the kind of service jobs that lower-income students often take in high school and that high achievers almost never do. They should refuse to be impressed by any opportunity that was enabled by parental wealth. Of course, they have to stop cooperating with U.S. News.
and really did enjoy the whole thing, except that he seemed to get progressively angrier and angrier as he wrote on, which was detrimental to his credibility as a writer/expert and which was the principle reason I haven’t sent this article to all my friends who went to Ivies — for fear of inciting much responsive anger. hm…I dunno.
OVERALL, a MOST ENJOYABLE READ! I wonder what the state of college will be like by the time our kids are ready to go to college. if I do have kids, I hope I can be the kind of mom who instills in them the desire to gain understanding and wisdom and soul-stretchings in college and really see higher education as that best opportunity for those endeavors. but I fear that I am weak and will probably be anxious if they don’t get high SAT scores. much growth and prayer needed.
despite everything being broken and all, there must be something in us that yearns for (looks toward? hopes in? clings to?) good.
according to wikipedia and a quick ctrl-f search for “positive” and then some:
Fading affect bias: A bias in which the emotion associated with unpleasant memories fades more quickly than the emotion associated with positive events.
Negativity bias or Negativity effect: Psychological phenomenon by which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories compared with positive memories.
seems kinda opposite, but they’re not — just sort of mysterious. the first one describes how, after a negative event (causing, presumably, correspondingly negative emotions), our brains are more likely to allow us to forget those events quickly than they would positive ones. the second one explains that, mysteriously, even though the fading away of the negative was quicker, its recall is also relatively faster/greater/stronger. it’s as if the brain-keeper noticed the negative impact of an event on the brain and quickly worked to buff it away, but the effect of the crash was more damaging (okay, I’ll keep it neutral; more powerful) on the brain, long term. like, a negative event puts the brain in more disarray than do positive ones, so the brain-keeper is called into hyperactivity when it happens, but the impact is harder to completely undo. does that make sense?
Pessimism bias: The tendency for some people, especially those suffering from depression, to overestimate the likelihood of negative things happening to them.
notice in the second, “especially those suffering from depression” — and how there’s no such qualifying statement for the first.
Overconfidence effect: Excessive confidence in one’s own answers to questions. For example, for certain types of questions, answers that people rate as “99% certain” turn out to be wrong 40% of the time.
Regressive bias: A certain state of mind wherein high values and high likelihoods are overestimated while low values and low likelihoods are underestimated.
Positivity effect: That older adults favor positive over negative information in their memories.
hehe and these are just thrown in for fun, cause somehow they seem less overarching — certainly not everyone suffers from the overconfidence effect — but these are definitely smaller and mebbe sillier ways in which our positive thinking messes with our minds, our lives, our schedules. [sidenote: I guess, though, for any of this to be truly valid, I would have to know to what extent the general human population suffers from each of these biases. ughhhhhhhh sciiiiiiiienceeee.]
and finally, some ways in which our positendency can be kinda scary:
Just-world hypothesis: The tendency for people to want to believe that the world is fundamentally just, causing them to rationalize an otherwise inexplicable injustice as deserved by the victim(s).
Egocentric bias: Recalling the past in a self-serving manner, e.g., remembering one’s exam grades as being better than they were, or remembering a caught fish as bigger than it really was.
Naïve cynicism: Expecting more egocentric bias in others than in oneself.
why else would we be so prone to keep hoping, in the face of all odds? why, in a world beset by entropy (EVERYTHING IS BREAKINGGGGGGGGGG), do we keep building stuff? why, when time and history will erase everything about the majority of our lives in just a generation or two or three, do we keep striving to “make a difference,” “believe in change,” “yadda yadda”?
and close to home, here: why would I beat myself up about not saying hello to an acquaintance-coworker in the hallway, when I don’t pat myself on the back with an equal-but-opposite fervor every time that I do?
okay, okay, I know the positive-thinking, live-in-the-moment, working-for-the-good-of-now answer to all these, too. but bear with me.
maaaybe it’s cause we’re wired for positivity. for hope. for belief in goodness to prevail, even if none of it seems likely or solid or trustworthy. maybe it’s a piece of Adam/Eve in the garden — the originals who knew no failure. until they did.
p.s. did you know “positivity” isn’t a word, as accepted by WordPress? it keeps giving me the red squiggles every time I type it out. positivity. positivity. positivity. even if I really misspelled it somewhere in here, I prolly would miss it, cause of these red squiggles.
Today I discovered yet another way that God intended for us to live in community. I was talking to a meesheree about self-esteem and how, when you have the assurance, deep in your heart, that you are liked by people in your life (whoever it may be: family, friends, etc — people who genuinely and deeply care for you while knowing the true you), it’s easier not to crave attention and approval from EVERYBODY else because you already know that you’re likable and lovable. And if the people who like you and love you are people you also like/love/respect, you have an even deeper sense of self-worth because you value their opinions and judgments, just by virtue of who they are and what you know of their character. But let’s generalize this a bit here; expand it out. How much greater and deeper would the sense of self-worth be if I truly (deeeep in my soul) knew how loved I was by God? And if I truly and deep-within-my-soul knew how GREAT this lover was, how much MORE confidence would I have in my lovability and likability?! It sounds so simple, but it’s so hard to do — envisioning God as the lover of my soul isn’t always tangible or accessible with my leetle human brain (and heart). So God gives us fellow humans whom we can love. And be loved by. And get from and show toward a little glimpse of what God-love is like, and to gain and share all the benefits that come along.
I also talked to the meesheree about my recent and giant tremblings of heart because of my conversation with another (nonbeliever) friend about the lack of archaeological evidence for the Jewish enslavement period in Egypt. Apparently there is no historical/archaeological evidence for the period described in Exodus. I had been doing a lot of confused searching of the internet these past few days and basically being distraught because everyone seemed so sure of what they believed, with scores upon scores of (the lack of) evidence on their side. what is a girl to believe? how is everyone, all believing in opposite things, so convinced that they are all right? m, in response to all this, said that historical lack of evidence and whatnot…she isn’t too fazed. Because 1. (and we agreed on this) Anyone can make an argument and a case for anything and dig up some kind of evidence to back up their claims. The world is more mysterious than we give it credit for sometimes. A lot of the time. Case in point: the endless number of theses being written about every aspect of every argument or every discipline, like all the time endlessly. So I needn’t be so troubled by the fact that everyone seems to believe opposite things and yet seems to have Definitive Evidence about all of those opposite things because, ultimately, it’s all about how your framework of perception and Life Reality is built, and how you’re working toward fitting (or not fitting) new information and data into that framework. Faith is a crucial part of how Christians’ frameworks are built and how they work, and observable evidence is what a lot of atheists’ frameworks are built on/with. And 2. Because no matter what randos on the street or bloggers on the internet or even what people in her life may say about the realness of God, she says, it doesn’t really debunk anything she feels about God himself because he’s been so undeniably real to her, in her personal relationship with him. It’s like, she said, if someone came up to her and started telling her things about me that seem out of character from what she knows of me. Because of the relationship we have, she’s not just gonna take that person’s word as truth and believe these hearsay claims about me — she’s gonna suspend judgment and at least seek me out to ask me about the allegations. Like, there must be some kind of misperception or miscommunication that this person thinks this about Madison! That would be her first reaction. Because she knows me. Because she likes and loves me. Because she remembers the history of our relationship together. This part made me feel small and weak in my faith.
And another thing that makes me feel small and weakly and unmoored from anything is the fact that my emotions have such a sway over the way I decide (or don’t decide) things. Ultimately, I’m unable to do something if I just don’t FEEL right about it. And I can’t not do something if it FEELS right. In those moments of strong feels, I am the most decisive person in the world! But feelings change — o fickle heart. This affects the way I behave in my human relationships, in my general attitude toward life, in my thoughts and hopes about God and my relationship with him. How can I ever trust to do anything right if I’m so dependent on my fickle emotions to make my important decisions?! But then m reminded me that I’m not just a feeler — I have to make sense of a situation to feel a certain way about it. Whether that involves logic, or a certain way of reconciling two seemingly irreconcilable things, or a steadfast decision based on principles or values I would like to live by. And this part wasn’t fleshed out so well in examples but I do agree with her about this. More reflection needed, I think. And prayer. For my heart and mind and soul not to be so easily swayed by feeling, but more on truth guided by emotions.
Observability/logickability isn’t all that smart seeming, after all. A random thought that popped into my head as we pulled into my parking lot, this one — but. When viewed from the construct that everyone simply has a certain worldview they’ve created and are continually trying to fit new data into, organizing it all in a way that makes sense without too much disturbance, the argument of the strict scientist or historian isn’t so appealing anymore. If your construct only allows you “truths” that you can observe, take in, digest with your human mind and body, how limited is the world in which you live! Either that, or how arrogant you are to think that this universe is even remotely understandable in its fullness by your relatively small human life and brain. There are vast stretches of the galaxies (not to mention the OCEAN. on planet EARTH) that we haven’t even figured out how to experience. The world — and explanations for why we’re all here — is bigger than I am. And I hate that this gets boiled down to the Christian cliche: “God works in mysterious ways.” But the truth is that he ACTUALLY DOES! And that cliches are ACTUALLY the biggest, the underdoggest truths in the entirety of human experience. That’s why they are cliches, dang it!! Because everyone keeps realizing the same human thing over and over.
There is absolutely no need or pressure for you to respond to these rambly thoughts. But let me know if you have anything that could add to my understanding of things!
email-thinking on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 after some snoxream in a K Mart parking lot. mysteries and hipsterness abound.
there are spheres of life in which you feel at ease, totally in your own skin, and open to newness because you’re okay with all the right-now atoms in your current atmosphere. and then there is everything else, which is the majority of life. at least for me, right now.
but those spheres, they are so good. and they exist in the weirdest, randomest places. walking the halls at work for a clear-the-head break, arms a-swinging like the Cake song and teef a-smiling at the unknown peoples because they’re unknown to me; there’s no risk (there’s freedom in smiling at strangers). sweatpants life, veg-ing out at homehome, visiting for the weekend having brought real clothes but teebee.H. not needing them at all, all weekend long. blog mode at a cafe where the temperature is not too cold not too warm just right and zoning in on not to cold not to warm just the right words even though there are other, Real things to be done, and feeling so accomplished at the end of the thought train, at the bottom of the latte cup, zero of the said Real things having been accomplished. phone conversations with really helpful customer service repuhresentatives, knowing what you mean by your uncertain blabbering because they’re just that experienced in customer blabber-needs. spending way too many minutes perusing all the things I won’t buy up and down the aisles of the korean grocery store where I buy my weekly kale because produce is freshest there (huzzah for kale, huzzah for nova groceries).
and running into my mom’s friendladies and saying hello, no hesitation, because I feel able and natural. and getting impromptu shares of life wisdom from an older and wiser soul who’s brimming with it, only needing to be tapped, to be asked.
but honestly, it’s not even the content of such conversations — rather the context. what makes these moments possible. that sphere of ease. that comfortsphere. where you’re open to impromptu conversations with acquaintances that aren’t even yours, but your mom’s. knowing full, knowing well — smalltalk is not your strongsuit. going out of your way uncalculatedly to call out to people and open up your bubble to touch theirs, connecting for a moment or two.
what is it that creates these spheres of possibility? I have a feeling it’s something really specific: two heaping cups of really good nights’ sleeps. a liter of contented conversation stores. a mindful of vocab in that (un)foreign language you’re delighted to be discovering, again. three generous drizzles of chocolate frosting over that birthday cake baked at 375, for-ty8 minutes. those two bunches of bananas someone placed in the back of your car so you wouldn’t even have a chance to refuse them when offered. an extra day of rest from the running schedule, because your body — and your mind — needed it though you weren’t even clever enough to know it until you’d had it. eighty-three miles of road driven, harmonizing all the way with singers on your iPod loop loop looping all these years you never updated your music stores.
how interesting to organize the experience of Life this way — it’s just a practice in negotiating these spheres and the rest. just a long series of navigations in between, from circle to amorphous circle. and the resolutions, the lessons, are to:
expand these comfortspheres, each and all, until they’re the majority and the “restofit,” the exceptions.
find out other people’s spheres of ease and discover them in living in theirs. observe. appreciate. smile aloud, teef and all.
test and exactify that recipe for sphere success — so you can do numbers 1 and 2 better and better. this will probably take some more days off from the relentless schedule of working out and making lunch salads because you’re still only a young padawan (what even is a padawan? why do I use these words I don’t really know?), the greenest grasshopper, and apparently you can’t run and think at the same time. at least not to the same level of intensity. one’s gotta give way to the other.
get better at running, so you can think more.
get better at thinking, so you can run more.
wow. lots to do here. guess I better go get some more sleeps to get started.
I was having tea with a friend of mine the other day, and I asked her “what makes you feel rejuvenated and filled?” and she had the best answer! she said it was “not being ‘whatever’ about things” — does that make sense? I guess it could sound really flippant, but that’s not how she meant it. it’s like…deeply caring about things/people is what makes you feel motivated and filled! rather than being apathetic, which is, ironically enough, so draining. what makes us pour our heart and energy into things is what fills our heart, too.
and in that sense, my friend, you would be the most “filled” person I know. haha. but I know it can be hard on that end of the spectrum of “caring too much,” too — super draining. but life truly is more meaningful and flavorful and more deeply felt when you care about certain things in it. in that way, I want to be a specialist in something; I’ve already spent so much of my life being such a generalist.
I hope you’re well. happy mid-January. time is always flying flying flying.
“Immature” isn’t really an adjective anyone is thrilled to have in their resume of life. You’d never describe a friend as “undeveloped,” or “childish,” or “inexperienced” to compliment them on her life skills, and our culture of endless pursuit after growth isn’t very forgiving of those in stasis, in perpetual childhood.
Certainly, there is a purpose for and value in growing and developing into a more and more fully-formed version of the human you are. Even aside from the obvious areas of potty-training and penmenship, it is good to pursue this virtue that encompasses so many others. There is patience, there is self-control, there is diligence in the pursuit of maturity in something. Maybe even humility, if you can keep yourself honest about the true distance between your present self and the future one you’re striving toward, and aren’t just using the thing as your not-actually-humble-pie stump speech.
Even the Bible endorses learning and growing, in so many words in so many verses. It’s not good to remain childish, it says:
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity…
To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood…
But then comes a verse that advocates for infancy — at least one kind of it:
1 Corinthians 14:20
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
YEP, there’s still a plug for MATURE thinking in there, too, but look at the command sandwiched by those thinkings: “Be infants in evil.”
Thesaurus.comming “immature” will, too, give you negative connotations galore:
…beautiful in their allusion to nature’s newest members.
There’s a certain charm in that second cluster of “immature” synonyms, right? There are more examples of charming tender-ness, green-ness, unsophisticated…-ness all over, when you take off your judgypants of High Maturity and really appreciate all those green baby leaves on the holly bush each new spring. You know those spiky clumps of pokey green leaves, so reminiscent of Christmas when paired with their inedible red berries? Yeah. After their Christmas hoorah and the riding out of the rest of wintertime, they become my favorite things to squeal at and squish between bare hands. And instead of squish, I really wanted to say “fondle” but fondle is another word that people generally feel squeamish about and doesn’t really get good ratings on thesaurus.com, either, so I’ll refrain. But now you have the image, right?
My point, in this unnecessary and unpoetic ode to baby holly leaves, is that it is exactly their [light] greenness, their youth, that makes these otherwise-spiky leaves something to be appreciated with your bare hands. Otherwise they’re toooo pokey and dangerous to handle. Their maturity will draw blood. [Trust me.] And being immature, or “infants,” in some ways means being free of certain negative influences and thought patterns that a mature, experienced, older-and-wiser mind may have to battle to hold back precisely because of their deep, past experiences of them. They might have experience in fighting those tendencies, but the infant in evil has the freedom of never having entertained any such thing.
All this…is simply a reminder to self(, self,) to think before pointing that judgy and suffocating finger of judgyness, accusing others or the self of immaturity — that immaturity can be kind of beautiful in its freedom and greenness. A reminder to self, self, to remember these beautiful aspects of being so young and green. To stop trying so hard to be mature that you stifle the desire to laugh easily at things, to burst into song and/or dance just cause feelings inspire you, to be unapologetically and unsuspiciously fearless of scrutiny because you’re just busy enjoying the energy of things. To be un-self-conscious and unabashedly so. I mean, that’s beautiful.
1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
But yes, moderation in everything. And for your guidance on moderation, see here:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.