Sunday, October 29, 2006

Change

This week I'm thinking about change. It's the theme of the blog, after all, and I haven't given it much consideration other than a few references to changing sexual orientation. But that kind of change, while interesting and important, is not really the kind of change I had in mind when I titled this blog.

I was thinking of positive change in general. When I was in high school applying for a college scholarship, part of the application was to give a motto for my life. Mine was, "always seek positive change," and I thought it was pretty profound. That part of the application never came up during the gazillion interviews that followed and I wonder if the judges thought such a sentiment to be cliché or trite.

When I was growing up, my mother bought stacks and stacks of self-help and inspirational tapes. I think they were meant to inspire her to be successful in the never-ending succession of multi-level marketing companies she joined, but she never quite struck it rich. Regardless, I got a lot of second-hand motivation. And, well, I think it worked a little bit. I did well in school and tried to remember the importance of working toward specific goals. I learned to consider self-improvement a satisfying endeavor.

I wanted blogging to be a means to such an end. Thus, my blog was titled Keep Changing. My blog has done some good things for me in that regard, but it has also backfired.

An e-mail from a friend yesterday pointed out that I can sometimes be "less than polite" when I feel strongly about a topic. It reminded me that my wife has chided me for being too hard on some people I disagree with, and my recent comment in which I went all the way from criticizing to attributing a lack of integrity to a good man, just for the sake of a single argument. I swear, I'm glib, I'm rude, and I excuse myself in a way I never do in real life. At least, not in the past.

Surprisingly, I've found that as I express my sarcastic criticisms and give full place to the swears and the grumbling on my blog, I do it more in my day-to-day interactions as well. I used to think I could have an online persona that was a game, different from myself. And while it was different, it has become more and more consistent with my real self every day. I don't know if it's possible to really separate the two.

So, I'm back to my original goal: deliberate change. Change for the better. Becoming the person I want to be and that God wants me to be.

6 comments:

Scot said...

This struck home with me, L.

I’ve an internet history in which I know I’ve been sarcastic and rude, even to people I came to respect. I still do it, particularly when I don’t take the time to let the emotions accompanying a perceived offence ebb.

So, here’s to change for the better.

Chris said...

Surprisingly, I've found that as I express my sarcastic criticisms and give full place to the swears and the grumbling on my blog, I do it more in my day-to-day interactions as well. I used to think I could have an online persona that was a game, different from myself. And while it was different, it has become more and more consistent with my real self every day. I don't know if it's possible to really separate the two.

An integrated self is, I believe, always a healthier alternative to a divided one.

For Higher Love said...

"An integrated self is, I believe, always a healthier alternative to a divided one."

Amen to that.

-L- said...

Yeah, when you put it just that way, it seems obvious enough. The trick is getting to the point where you notice it at all.

And really, change is itself incompatible with being a perfectly integrated self. As you try new ways to approach problems and responding differently to certain situations, habits are broken and the change extends incompletely to the whole self. It takes a while to get it all back integrated.

So, I agree too, but I'm not sure it's so cut and dried.

Chris said...

L: I think you've read a lot more into my simple statement than is there. Integration is a process. As change is life's only constant, integration continues life long.

That said, I do think there are signficant parts of the self that can be brought more or less into permanent alignment and which can provide stability as we face life's challenges.

-L- said...

Like I said, I agree. I'm just thinking a bit more about it and how it applies to what I've said here. I don't think my trying a writing style different from my usual interpersonal interactions necessarily qualifies as something threatening my stability as I face life's challenges. But if the writing style was snarky (and I still find some of the snarkiness amusing and desirable) it may be. But it's not just a matter of living by aphorisms. You've got to pay attention along the way at the kinds of changes and their effects.

Maybe I could resolve this by just being more snarky to patients and coworkers too. I sure had some opportunities today... ;-)