tales from urban dilettantia


Tiny Seeds & Long Shadows

Some days, I am fortunate enough to stumble across sparkling little ideas and quotes that are Exactly What I Need To Hear at the time. Recently, at a time when I was feeling pretty wretched about a number of things, Havi posted this on her blog:

When you encounter a bully, they seem so big.

They seem so big because you’re also seeing the shadow of every other bully you’ve ever encountered, at the same time.

They seem powerful because you are remembering vulnerable. They seem threatening because you remember being threatened.

And it sparkled (and by sparkled, I mean it shouted ‘hey woman, pay attention – you need to know this’) because I realised that – while she is ostensibly writing about bullying – the underlying concept translates so well to other things.

Relationships seem so overwhelming and powerful, because I am remembering being vulnerable and hurting and exhausted. Projects seem so overwhelming because I am remembering being let down by others and overwhelmed. Social engagements seem threatening because I am remembering being threatened or harassed or otherwise encroached upon.

My sense of overwhelm, my fear and my near-constant catastrophising are products of my bringing Every Single Thing That Has Ever Happened To Me to new experiences. It’s time to start realising that new experiences are just that – new – and only tiny seeds, neither great, nor looming, nor foregone conclusions.

To borrow from the late, great Bill Hicks (and if you haven’t seen American yet, you should), it’s a choice, right now, between fear and love. And tiny seeds grow into better trees with love.

Love and Logic

tacit posted a thoughtful article today on choosing relationships. I wanted to point it out, not simply because it’s a good article but also because it covers a number of points that really resonate for me personally. This part in particular hits home:

It is possible to deeply, sincerely love someone and still not be a good partner for that person.

I’d also go on to say that it’s possible to choose not to be someone’s partner specifically because you do love them so deeply and sincerely, and want them to live a life the best possible life they can. For me, love is not about being all-conquering, but it is very much about choosing to do the right thing by the people you love even when that’s very, very difficult to contemplate.

Another point that interested me was the discussion of relationship choice in the context of fail-safe logic, basically contrasting the outcomes of taking a blacklist/dealbreaker approach to potential partners to those of taking a whitelist approach. I really like the concept of this being an abundance model as opposed to a starvation model – the choice of approach implies quite a lot about one’s self-perception and self-worth:

A person who holds a starvation model of relationship, in which relationships seem to be rare and difficult to find, is not likely going to want to use an approach that fails open, on the fear that if he doesn’t take a relationship opportunity that presents itself, who knows when another person might express interest? If relationships seem rare, then why not jump at an opportunity if there seem to be no dealbreakers standing in the way?

And, just because I love this bit, and because I see so many people doing the opposite so unhappily:

I think that people who hold a starvation model of relationship often seem to be always searching for a partner, and that can really be off-putting; whereas in an abundance model, if you simply live your life with enthusiasm and joy and instead of seeking partners you seek to develop in yourself the qualities that you desire in a partner, then other people will tend to be drawn to you and relationships will be abundant.

So much for writing original content today! However, I’m not sure I can say any of this better than it’s already been said, and it is something I wanted to share.


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@dilettantiquity is interested in an unreasonable number of things, including the wide and wonderful universe, happiness, well-being, wine, optimal human experience, non-violent communication, complex systems, existential nihilism, rationality, technology, grassroots organising, cacophony, music, creativity, learning and love.