Sunday, February 16, 2014

On Love

Today I heard someone say something about love that made me think twice.  She said, "In order to love other people, you have to love yourself first."  Although she was talking about brotherly love, I'd be willing to bet she thinks this way about romantic love, too.

I don't know what scientific research says about self-love, but I know this:  My initial reaction to her statement was, "Wait -- is that true?"  I mulled over it for a while, and the conclusion I've come to is that it is not true.*  If anything, the statement should be reversed:  "In order to love yourself, you have to love other people first."

Let me explain.

When I was younger, I was extremely insecure—as I'm sure a lot of people are when they're in their pre-teen and teen years.  I think my insecurities lasted far longer than they should have, though.  It wasn't until after college that I realized how critical I was of myself and others.  So I tried to change by looking for the talents and beauty in other people.  I made a goal to genuinely compliment people often.**  I was always looking for the thing I loved best about someone, and I made it a point to tell them about it, even though it felt unnatural at first.  After a while, complimenting people wasn't awkward at all, and I began to see how truly amazing people are.  I began to feel more love for all the people around me.  After a while, I liked myself a lot more.

Does my story present a case of cause-and-effect?  Perhaps not.  But I bet there's a research topic in there somewhere.  I'd bet that the more you love others, the more you love yourself.  The more you recognize the lovable qualities in the people around you, the more you recognize the lovable qualities that make up who you are.

*Perhaps she and many people use "self-love" and "self-esteem" interchangeably.  A healthy dose of self-esteem is good, and yet . . . I'm still dubious of the self-esteem movement as well.  American teenagers, for example, have more than enough of it.  (See Self-Esteem and How to Improve It.)
**Get better at giving compliments; read this: If You Can't Think of Anything to Say, Give Compliments!

This just in: I'm not the only one who has doubts about the "self-love comes first" deal. Here are some others who think along the same lines. (I just did a cursory Google search . . . Not having access to a research university library is really killing me right now.)

Thing I'm thankful for: Google Hangout

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sochi 2014: Pairs Figure Skating

I had all of these blog posts forming in my mind about a week ago, when this year's Winter Olympics were about to start, and now I have even more!  What do I tell you about, readers?  My thoughts on the opulence of Olympic opening ceremonies?  The poorly-constructed half pipe for the snowboarders?  My eagerness to catch up on Russian literature?  No, no, no.  I'll save those for another day.

What I want to talk about tonight is pairs figure skating.  Wow!  What a show, eh?  I mean, really—the individual skating is just not what it once was.  At least, it wasn't during the Vancouver Olympics.  But pairs skating!  It really has gotten beautiful over the years.  Take a look at this, why don't you?

This is not Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov's Olympic performance, but it's the same program they used to medal tonight.  They placed second, but I liked them better than their fellow Russians, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, who won first place.  They were so fun to watch, and every part of their program was clean.  The music was fantastic, as were their costumes.  It was just an all-around good show.  I'm already excited for the 2018 Games.


Thing I'm thankful for: watching the Olympics with MommyDaddy.  What fun we have.  :)

Monday, February 03, 2014

How To Be Interesting

I read a good article last week that I thought was worth sharing: 7 Things The Most Interesting People All Have in Common.  Here's a summary:
  1. Don't be boring.
    That is, in conversation, be brief and be positive.
  2. Be a good listener.
  3. Talk about the other person's interests.
  4. Have three good stories on hand that entertain, inform, or engage.
  5. Be charismatic—laugh, smile, be passionate, modulate your voice.
  6. Be somewhere interesting.
  7. Live an interesting life.  That could be as simple as hanging out with the most interesting people you know.
And with that, I want to tell you about some of the most interesting people I know.  They are the ones I like to listen to or be around anytime.
  • My mom, Cathy.  Talk about charisma!  She probably has about 70% of all the charisma in the world, so if you feel like you don't have any—I'm sorry, my mom took it!
  • Taylor Giddens.  He checks out for all seven.  He probably could stand to talk a little faster, but his Southern drawl makes up for it.
  • Mandy Schlofman.  She has multiple stories on hand that typically entertain.  And when she has lip gloss on, her stories are infinitely more interesting.
  • Clay Wood, my brother-in-law.  He has a bazillion hobbies, so he really shines at no. 7.
  • Adam Miele, my brother-in-law.  I think he combines nos. 1 and 4 in a way that no other person does.  He tells you exactly what you need to know to understand the story he is telling.  I've never heard anyone so succinct and so engaging at the same time.  And they're almost always positive, but not cloying.  I like to hear his stories multiple times because they're so good.
  • Mrs. Baldwin, my fourth-grade teacher.  Decades later, I still remember them quite well.  Mrs. Baldwin moved her eyebrows a lot when she talked.  I guess I recognized that she had charisma before I knew what charisma was.
  • Professors: Dr. Hartley, Dr. Crafton, Dr. Hendricks, and Dr. Bias.  The interesting thing about all of these folks, is that they all know a lot about all kinds of subjects.  Maybe that's the 8th thing I'd add to the list—that people who are well-rounded are interesting.

Thing I'm thankful for: routines and cleanliness.