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Thursday, July 26, 2012

I think. Therefore, I am.




First, let me make it clear, I am not a 'Crazy Christian' per say. And after this entry I will try to give religion entry's a rest.

Crazy Christian (noun) – one who protest in front of abortion clinics, adult toy stores, or in front of the White House preaching against homosexuality or the fact that the world is going to end, therefore you must repent.

In all my attempts to avoid ambivalence, I am a crazy Christian. I am a crazy Christian because I believe differently. A lot of my beliefs go against what I should believe. However, I try to challenge the word. I have never been the type to just believe everything someone told me. I challenge the word intellectually, to the best of my ability. Some may say I have little faith, but this is how I build my faith. My goal is to ultimately prove myself wrong and prove that the bible is veracious. I may never be that Christian that does everything right by the book, but in all my getting… I want to get understanding.

I have many questions for God; many questions that may never be answered. I read the bible and I imagine the stories of Noah, Abraham, and Moses, and I marvel at how God openly spoke to them. God walked with Adam through the garden. God walked with Enoch. God wrestled with Jacob. God once made himself very evident to his children. (Maybe he is still present as he was before; it’s just harder for us to notice him these days.)

Another question I ask myself is why is there so many religions? And with everyone believing that their religion is right, is anyone really wrong? There are so many Holy Books. And just from the bible alone you can name copious interpretations.  I believe Gandhi said it the best:

I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian. - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I believe that every religion serves its purpose and that there is more than just one truth, as ambiguous as that may sound. I would never tell a Muslim that he/she is serving the wrong God, although I am a Christian.

I am sure we all have asked ourselves, if God knew that Adam and Eve were to fall, why did he create them? Why didn't he just make them perfect? Why did he create the evil? Why did he create sin? My way of viewing this is by seeing life as a test. It’s a test of character. It is a test of faith. We are in this world to learn about him while learning about ourselves. Does it not take for one to be able to love himself before he can love God? Does it not take for one to be able to love God before he can love himself?

I don’t thank God for my existence. Not to sound melancholy, but if I was never created, I would not have known anything, so I wouldn't be able to miss it. But since God did create me, I try to get an understanding of 'why'? What is my purpose on this earth? (And as a side-note: Many people consider their job as a clear indication as to what their purpose on earth is. i.e. I am a doctor so my purpose on earth is to save lives. This may be true; however, you must remember that Jesus was a carpenter. Yet, that was not his purpose on this earth. Your purpose on earth may not have anything to do with your job. But rather what happens outside of your job.)

What does God expect from us? How could he expect patience from me when I was given an irascible temperament? (Many of our traits are embedded in our DNA, while some are based off of our environment during childhood development). How does God expect those attracted to the same sex (homosexuals) to live as heterosexuals? Did they ask for this desire or were they born like this? I know many would not agree with this but, at times, I have sympathy for serial killers, pedophiles and other such menaces to society. To live with a desire that you cannot control has to be tormenting, especially if you want nothing more than to be normal. Many people would say that they can just learn how to control themselves. But when you exam yourself, and you look closely at your own habits, you will see that there are things that even you are compulsive about that you can’t control in your own life. Although they may not be as severe as a pedophile or a serial killer's compulses, they are just as hard to control (i.e. over eating, drug abuse, cheating, stealing). We all have our demons. Some demons are uglier than others.

I can aver that there is a God. But I cannot say what religion is the right religion. Christianity has served me well, but just as the world has different languages the world will have different religions. Maybe this is how God intended for us to be. As long as you believe in something, they are all commensurate in some way, shape or form… right?  You pray to Allah and you feel a connection. You feel his love. You receive his blessings. How can I say that your faith is invalid?

I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him. - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I am sure my pastor will disagree with me, but this is my view point.

I think doubt, therefore, I am.



Monday, July 23, 2012

2 Cents 2 Many

In my attempt to seek self liberation, I have decided to write about my journey to self acceptance. To some readers, self acceptance may not correlate with the title. However, it is all too apposite.

I am a people pleaser. I am passive aggressive. I lack satisfactory communication skills when facing conflict. And I give one damn too many in regards to what people think of me.

Conflict cripples me. I shut down. I shut out. And I get stuck in time. The world keeps revolving. Time keeps ticking. But I am stuck. I replay the situation over and over and over again. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. What could I have done differently? What could I have said differently? How could I have avoided the situation entirely? And then it starts to eat at me. I question myself. I question my relationships and then the depression kicks in.

Now with me, I have a tendency to go AWAL. I shut people out when I feel this way. Regardless if it makes the situation worse, it’s the only way I know how to handle it. I image what the person may think of me, and in my mind, their opinions start to define me. In my attempts to put an end to these mental breakdowns, I started asking myself questions. Why are you responding to the situation like this? And this is when ish started to get real. This required self awareness and I tried to analysis myself as I went through this episode of conflict.

I discovered that I react like this because I care too much about what people think… and this is due to lack of love and respect for myself. I shouldn’t need someone’s approval to live my life. I shouldn’t need to feel accepted by the people around me in order to accept myself. I try to please people. I want everyone to be happy with me, and at the end I always end up pissing someone off in the process. As my sister would say, ‘this is a vicious cycle’. However, it is to the point where I have lost touch with parts of me. I can see myself becoming more of what I think people want me to be. Now, discovering this about myself is only half of the battle. What can I do to fix this?

I can learn how to communicate. I can say how I feel and not ask for permission. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am 26 years old, and I have been taking care of myself for a long time. So, why do I need other peoples blessing in my life? Well, It is nice to have support and someone to stand by you, but at what cost?

In many situations I feel misunderstood. And we all have moments where our actions have been mistaken for something entirely antipode to what we intended. But in my world, this occurs to often in my case. And I have realized that this occurs because somewhere, I have missed a step in communication. It all can be a side effect of not being able to speak up for myself, or not knowing how to communicate in situations where I feel as if the person is expecting something from me outside of what I want to accomplish.


Dwelling about the situation would have to be my greatest down fall. When you play the situation over and over in your mind, you tend to over analyse. And majority of the time, your analysis of what triggered the other person will be incorrect.

THE CURE

So my first plan of action is to stop asking for permission. It’s my life.

People-pleasers often worry that after they say no, the fallout will be catastrophic. But as Newman said, “the fallout is never as bad as we think it is.” In fact, “it’s usually very insignificant.” Why? For starters, “people are not thinking about you as much as you think.” Usually after you say no, a person is more focused on who they’ll be asking next to help them than your so-called betrayal, she said. - 
MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY

Second plan of action will be to be confident. Walk boldly. Talk boldly. Say what I mean and mean what I say. Words have meaning. And I want to be calculated with my speech. I don't want to leave any room for interpretation. I want to lay things out on the table (politely), no beating around the bush.

Third plan of action will be accepting the fact that I can’t please everybody and really stop trying to.

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

– Bill Cosby 

"People-pleasers yearn for outside validation. Their ‘personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others,’ said Linda Tillman, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta, GA and assertiveness expert. Thus, at the core, people-pleasers lack confidence, she said. 

They worry how others will view them when they say no. “People don’t want to be seen as lazy, uncaring, selfish or totally egocentric,” Newman said. They fear “they’ll be disliked and cut from the group,” whether it’s friends, family or co-workers. "
- MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY

And lastly, I will love myself. Although, this has never been my priority, it will be now. And I will fake it until I make it. If no one on this earth loves me, at least I will love myself.

So… with that being said… I am ready to live my life... if that's okay with you? LOL.

For do I now seek the favor of men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Galatioans 1:10

Recommended reading: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/21-tips-to-stop-being-a-people-pleaser/all/1/