Sunday, January 25, 2009

No Need To Comment. (or even read...)

We are all created equal, but we know that we have different strengths and weaknesses, talents and challenges. So how does it all really add up equally? Does that mean that in theory I am equal to say, Martin Luther King Jr. or the current prophet of our church President Monson, or just that I have the capabilities, the hope, the choice of becoming as good?
We also know that where much is given, much is required. Some are given more. At least more of specific things. So is the same required of us? How much in life is subjective to who we are? How does what we are born with, inherent with, given, factor into what we are responsible to for? Do our challenges handicap us so that we are not as accountable for it, or accountable in the same way as others without that struggle?
I guess what I want to know is what is within us. What does 'equal' really mean? How does it balance, equate? Are each and every one of us really capable of the same greatness in this life and our earthly destinies are only determined by our choices? God knows what we will do, where we will go, and he allows us those choices, but even in the pre-mortal life we cannot have been truly equal. Some are simply better than others, right? I mean, if I have a friend that is truly kind-hearted, without guile, empathetic and compassionate, but a total moron working with her hands, whereas I have a talent for crafts, we're equal? Just a different balance of strengths and weaknesses? Doesn't sound right, does it?
I just wonder about all this sometimes, and then I'm afraid that it doesn't really matter. That I'm complicating things too much and I need to simply focus on doing my best. Why then, does my best seem so far short of other's? Or even short of other's mediocre attempts?
Depression for instance. It seems obvious to me that I have to try a lot harder than most people to be happy. I wish I was one of those people who just woke up with a smile on her face, had a lust for life, undying optimism and a can-do attitude. Unfortunately, I have to focus and work on being happy. It is achieved through conscious work, a cumulative effect of mental exercises and attempts at self-help. Because of my struggles with depression I occasionally do (or don't do) things that I would do differently if it were not for that struggle. Take depression out of the equation, and things would work a lot differently, and a lot better for that matter. So what allowances are made for me specifically because of my unique challenges and efforts?
I am not using my depression as a scapegoat. I promise I'm not, even if it sounds profoundly like I am. I am just a thinker, a wonderer, (a dreamer... sounds like Shel Silverstein-). I can't help but explore all these things and try to figure out the hows and whys of my brain, myself. However, I still know that we all make choices based upon the challenges and blessings we currently have or do not have.
This leads me to another question. How much can we change? I know that through the Atonement all change is possible, so even as soon as I asked the question it sounded stupid. But still, we have to be born with limitations as a mortal on earth, and these limitations will vary between us all, right? I guess we have no idea what those limitations are, or if they only exist in our minds so we have to continually strive for better and better regardless.
Sometimes I try and remember that I only have to do my best and try a little harder each day, but I can quickly become derailed and discouraged when I realize that my best seems a sorry excuse for an attempt. How do we know if it is our best? Why is our best sometimes so much less than others? How do ourselves really balance? I seem to struggle in so many areas it seems impossible that my successes, virtues, and talents can balance me with others and fill the void that is left by my deficiencies and failings.. What if my best is simply not as good as another's? Do I accept that and continue to try and do all that I can, hoping that my best, and I, will improve? It seems like certain things are just harder for some than others. Obviously there is another huge population that have things much worse than I, since I do know that I have it pretty good. I do recognize my vast blessings, which are mainly the gospel and the people in my life. I know that I am rich beyond measure and have more than I could ever want.
I just can't help but wonder.
Am I way too introspective? Should I just shut up and do?
Or tell myself, as Homer would say, "Shut up brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-Tip!" ?


shannon said...

Interesting thoughts...
You've been doing a lot of pondering! :) I just have to say one thing...Be glad you are not someone who gets up everyday with a smile plastered on her face and is filled with buckets of
undying optimism...Seriously! Those kind of people are irritating!
I like that you are real and not afraid to admit that you're struggling with self doubt and depression...

linda said...

I'm with Shannon, people that are just happy, happy, happy really bug me and I actually steer away from them! I really don't care for the group that says "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" either! I am perfectly fine with having a bad day or even a bad week because that's what makes the good ones so great! And after reading your blog I decided that I must be a very surface person because that was quite intense! My philosophy is quite simple, but not neccessarily right, regardless of your circumstances do your best and never give up! The Lord loves each of us and wants us to be happy, forgives us when we mess up, and smiles when we overcome the advesary.

Anonymous said...

Just be who you are Jessie. I think our struggles and strengths are what make us unique and interesting. I don't want to live in a world where I can't be inspired to do better by someone else because they are better at xyz, or where I don't feel the responsibility of being my best self because someone has told me I inspire them in that area.

I don't think we are all created equal. I can't say that someone who is born in a third world country or born with a handicap has the same opportunities to shine as someone born in middle class America.

You ask about change...I think everyone is capable of change. You just have to be the one willing to put in the hard work TO change. Everyone has limitations whether they choose to air them or not.

From the two previous comments I now wonder if people steer away from me because I am overly optimistic and happy? What is so wrong with being happy? I am being serious. What is the point of judging someone so harshly like that? I never thought of it as a bad thing...crap!

rmt said...

You have some pretty deep thoughts going on! I think we all need to remember that we're not expected to conquer everything in this life. We have eternity to work things out, right? People all progress at different rates. You wouldn't expect Fiona to do everything at the excact same time Bella did (at that age), right? So I don't think Heavenly Father expects that, either!

Hang in there Jessie. It helps me to honestly think about things a day, an hour, a minute at a time. Be proud of the positive choices and accomplishments you make (which are many!) Be nice to yourself!

michelle said...

I have some of these thoughts at times as well, Jess. But I do think it is possible to get stuck in your circular thinking -- sometimes you do need to just step out of it and try to move ahead.

I was reading a book recently where the author said that women are particularly susceptible to ruminating -- in other words, thinking and thinking about a problem, trying to find the best way to solve it, looking for every possible solution, etc. -- when what we really need to do is just to take action! It struck me, because I do that all too often.

We definitely are not all born with the same talents, strengths, characteristics, or opportunities. What makes us equal is our value in the eyes of the Lord.

He expects us to never give up, be a little better, try a little harder, and that's all we can really expect of ourselves as well.

(To Hannah: I think that people who to whom happiness does not come easily are sometimes irritated by those who are always happy and optimistic because it is just so hard to relate to, that those people often seem fake to us. Just so you know, I don't find you irritating in the least -- just inspiring!)

Claudissima said...

Oh Jessie I love your philosophical perspectives. I too think things and want to question them. One good set of advice my dad told me before dropping me off at the dorms on my freshman year was...the talk about BOYS and this...You will always find that there are those people that are soo much better than you, but you will also find that you are so much better than others. So never feel inadequate by how you think you are, becuase yes you will be less for some and more for others...that is just a fact.

I think to be REAL just means to be alive in what ever shape form and spirit you are living--at least to me

Rin said...

So I said...Believing in Christ...pick it up :)

Also, I would do anything to tell my brain to shut up!

Susan said...


Some very deep thoughts from you and deep tender thoughts from everyone else.

I think one of the finest things that we learn through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is to understand our individual worth. The sooner we understand our valiency, the sooner we can accept that worth. It is pretty awesome to know that the Lord loves us all equally, no matter what our station in life is at any time. He wants us to be happy. Joy. And I find that a personal, intense and continual relationship with the Spirit validates my worth and brings me joy.

My daily personal morning prayers, said out loud help to keep this relationship on track. I recommend it. Joy.

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