Dear Catie, I had a conversation with someone about being Emotionally Strong.

… And I was really proud of how I handled it, so I wanted to put it here in case there are others who can benefit from it. I hope you enjoy. All names will be changed for privacy of the person I spoke with.

This is a link to what started the conversation. There are some things I don’t agree with, like the man’s use of the word ‘Never’, but overall, I found his post inspirational for those seeking to strengthen their emotions. Someone responded with sarcasm and I told them I was disappointed in that response, saying it was uncalled for. So, they took it upon themselves to reply in a much more civil fashion, and thus this beautiful correspondence happened:

 I didn’t mean to come across as a dick by being sarcastic. It’s kinda my default setting. I’ll try to explain why I disagree with this entire article in a neutral fashion.

If this article was made with the intention of inspiring me and making me feel better, it’s failure to do so is notdown to me, it’s down to the author. It isn’t a reader’s responsibility to intentionally feel the way an author wants them to.

Furthermore, according to this article, being upset by something is my own fault, not the fault of the person who upset me. I personally think this is incorrect.

There’s also an implication throughout the article that I disagree with. The purpose of these tips is to make yourself “emotionally stronger” (whatever that even means) and it then goes on to list a few things that one could consider kind or thoughtful towards others. However, the problem I find with this is that they’re using self-improvement as a motivation for being forgiving, or even loving someone. As if being kind or love itself isn’t motivation enough on its own.

For example: “I forgive you for sabotaging my relationship with my ex-wife, but only because I want to become emotionally stronger.”




Readers, have you ever felt this way about any of these opinions? I will not share what I wrote in response, hoping to clarify some of his points.

Oh, I see! Okay! I will try to explain the best I can, but if it doesn’t make any sense, or you continue to disagree, then we can simply agree to see differently.

” It isn’t a reader’s responsibility to intentionally feel the way an author wants them to.” Truth. I agree. If he wrote this expecting everyone to feel EXACTLY DOWN TO A T what he feels, he is a dumbass. The reader is not responsible for not feeling exactly down to a T what the author has put.

“If this article was made with the intention of inspiring me and making me feel better, it’s failure to do so is not down to me, it’s down to the author.”
Truth again. While it was meant to inspire and make many feel better and it failed to move you, it is not on you for not feeling that way. Different people are different stages in their lives, their emotional well being, and their self-esteem are going to interpret this differently. For example, someone who is aware of their emotional instability who is seeking for inspiration or such, will find it most often than not. For someone who is not, or doesn’t care to on some level, maybe they won’t see it at all? As this is an internet collum, where many people in many stages of anything may read it, it is impossible for the author to assume 100% agreement with his statements, as they just won’t happen. However, if he reaches out and helps many, but doesn’t help a few, that is not a lost cause. That’s just how that one plays out sometimes. It’s not his fault there are a few who don’t receive the message, because of this entire paragraph’s reasoning. However, it’s certainly not the reader’s fault either. For whatever reason, the message wasn’t received. Lost in translation, nothing more.

Your second to last paragraph involving not knowing what ’emotionally stronger’ means, I will touch upon this particular case. To be emotionally strong: (as told by medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com ) “emotional stability and resiliency, characterized by assertiveness, caring, coping, and stress-management skills.” When you are stable emotionally, and the bad things that WILL happen, happen, you are better prepared to face them. For example, if I have no self-esteem (which in turn causes me to be emotionally unstable for a number of reasons), and someone comes up and tells me I’m fat, or ugly, or pale (as if this is a negative thing and I need to tan), then I am going to get all kinds of riled up, or upset, and cry a lot, and allow this to affect the way I see myself even further. However, if my self-esteem (and therefor, emotional stability) is better than this, or healing (as mine is today), someone can call me fat, ugly, or pale and I will think twice. Maybe in comparison to what they are used to seeing in their daily life, I am bigger? Maybe they feel that another type of body or physical appearance is more attractive to them, and that may not be the same to my own standards? That’s okay. As someone who is stronger in my esteem and emotional stability, I can hear that and think about it. either way, the problem is coming from them, and it’s my decision to let it affect me or not.

Which leads in to my next explanation. “Furthermore, according to this article, being upset by something is my own fault, not the fault of the person who upset me. I personally think this is incorrect.”

You are entitled to this opinion. You truly, truly are. However, the reason many will disagree with you, Mr. Paul included, is because: You are in control of your own emotions. — I know, what? WHAT? Crazy, right? I thought so aswell, but when my counselor of a year or so ago told me this, I laughed my ass off. “Certainly not,” I said, but she explained that in my particular case, in which someone would be cruel to me or attempt to guilt me… I had a choice. I could let them, and I could feel guilty about whatever it was, or I could accept that.. This is their /attempt/ to make me feel this way, and I have a choice. When I choose to let them make me feel guilty, I don’t feel good about myself. I begin to loathe myself. I began to hurt myself either with things I would say to myself about myself, or physically. It’s not a healthy way to live, letting others affect me. It’s similar to my example of someone being rude and insulting my physical appearance. I can choose to go and cry about it, or I can be confident enough in myself to see that either they have another view of beauty, or they’ve got some problems of their own. Neither are about me, and thus it is my choice. Now, is the person who is being rude at fault for being rude? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY, because that’s just mean. Why do it? But is it their fault if I get pissed about it? No. That’s on me. I could have taken a step back, etc etc.

Bottom line: Your own actions are your own doing. No one can make you do something without your consent. No one can make you feel inferior without your agreement. (this, of course, excludes things like someone physically forcing something upon you. If someone takes my hand and hits my face with it, that obviously wasn’t my fault if I can’t overpower them. But in this case, we are speaking of emotions, not physical boundaries.)

My final point: “I forgive you for sabotaging my relationship with my ex-wife, but only because I want to become emotionally stronger.”

Forgiving someone, I personally believe, is not when you tell them you forgive them for whatever happened. Forgiving someone is when you don’t even have to tell them, and you believe it of yourself. Example:

If Bob had sexy with Jane, who is Joe’s jusband, and sabotaged their marriage… There are too many factors here that could be involved in the sabotaging of their marriage. I mean, Jane obviously had sex back, and maybe they were unhappy, or she was weak, or maybe she’s a slut, but the fault is never 100% Bob’s fault. So I won’t use this example.

So, from the example of, “You beat the shit out of me in high school, but I forgive you because I want to become emotionally stronger.”

You don’t have to say this at all. If Billy, who beat you up in high school, comes to you asking for forgiveness, then you can say whatever you like and that’s on you. But actual forgiveness is when you can sit there with yourself and think, “Billy beat the shit out of me in high school, and that was awful. When I see Billy, I get angered instantly, and my mood sours, and sometimes I think about paying back the favor.” That’s affecting you. You’re letting him affect you. If you truly forgave him, or if you want to forgive him, you must work on thinking about: “The longer I am angry with Billy for what he’s done, the longer I allow myself to feel angry, or let my mood be soured. I don’t like being angry, or being in a poor mood. To get rid of it, I have to let this go. I have to forgive him. If I truly let it go, I will be free of feeling so angry around him, or letting it ruin my mood. I will be happy. I will be more emotionally stable around him.” Yes. Forgiving someone makes you emotionally stronger. Have you noticed that it may be really freaking hard to ‘just be kind or love’ Billy otherwise? I encourage you to endeavor to try not forgiving Billy and being kind or loving him. And it’s not only forgiving him to feel better about yourself. What if you truly forgave him, and by the time you had, Billy comes around and asks for forgiveness, being truly sorry? You will have the power to tell him, “You know what, man? I forgive you.” And it can end there. Or it can grow into a friendship. Maybe Billy had a rough childhood? It’s not right, still, to have bullied you, but it gives you the opportunity to grow, to learn, to realize Billy is more than a bully, and that in itself makes you emotionally stronger. Thinking of people as more than the surface is very hard to do, especially when they’ve wronged you. But if you can think of no reason to forgive someone out of just being kind or being loving, then another way to attempt is to remember, you will grow from it yourself and move on.

I hope some of this shed some light. If it didn’t for you, I hope maybe it did for someone else who’s reading this who may also have been confused. I invite you to continue this discussion here if we can manage to be civil (which your last response was remarkably so!), but if we can’t, I ask that we take it to PMs, or perhaps just leave it as a ‘We just won’t/don’t agree at this time.”

Thanks for writing back, Sir. I appreciate seeing your point of view.

So, in conclusion readers, I hope this helped shed some light. If any other comments between us are made, I will consider sharing them as well to give you the full conversation / context.

-Miranda

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Dear Catie, Valentine’s Day is around the corner.

Some people think Valentine’s Day is Hallmark’s way of getting another holiday out of the year to sell cards to, that florists use to up the price in all floral arrangements, and for woman to ultimately guilt men and pin them up against their fellow men on ‘who went out with all the bells and whistles’.

Some people think Valentine’s Day is about celebrating that you’re with so-and-so for x-amount of years, and it’s another occasion in which the pair of you can reap the rewards by giving gifts to each other. An intimate gift exchange, so to speak.

I don’t care what other people think. I am going to tell you what *I* think, Catie.

Now, mind you, this is what I choose to make out of this holiday, and what I choose to celebrate. This has nothing to do with anyone else. This was not taught to me by anyone else. This is just what I chose to do because I want Valentine’s Day to be universal for everyone, whether you’re single or not.

Let’s focus on:

Love.

  • Valentine’s Day will henceforth be celebrated by myself and my own in a way which reflects how much we love everyone around us and others who have walked in to our life, either as new friends or old. 
  • We will celebrate that we are not alone — Not that we aren’t ‘single’ or ‘married’, but that we have people in our lives – friends, family, etc – that love us and value our place on this Earth. 
  • I want to celebrate the human connection. Empathy. I want to make sure to reach out to all that I can on this day to remind them that I think of them often and wish them love on another day that we are living.
I get what the people are saying when they want to celebrate another year with their spouse, and giving a gift to them. That’s fantastic. Celebrate your matrimony! However, that excludes people who are not in a significant relationship like that, and it makes some people of this group angry. Let’s not be angry anymore. It may not be the love you wish you had right now, but it is the love that you’ve got. 
Cherish each other. Cherish your friends. Cherish everyone who has impacted you, for better or worse, because you wouldn’t be where you are without them.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
-Miranda