In most (but not all) the places I’ve ever lived, people close and lock their front doors. To leave their homes open would be inviting danger, right? Since anyone determined to enter the places you want to protect is hardly likely to be thwarted by a mere lock, I’d argue that such precautions only serve to keep out the most casual or spontaneous would-be troublemakers. Similarly, the stuff you’re doing to supposedly protect yourself is only marginally effective at best. You either need to step things up dramatically or quit wasting your time and just leave your door open; I’ll wager you’ll probably be surprised by how much more good comes through than bad.
Imagine someone scrawled obscenities on your wall. Your first instinct would probably be to get rid of them. You might scrub and sand the wall or cover the graffiti with layers of paint. However, I urge you to consider different solutions, ones less easily thwarted by whoever wrote that crap there in the first place (since they could easily reapply it). Could you learn to live with or ignore their spite? Or might you transform it into something so fascinating that even they might hesitate to mess with it? You’re probably more creative than I; what I do know is that this isn’t something you’ll be able to simply erase or effectively hide, so figuring out something else you can do about it is the order of the week.
I’m not sure you’re using the right tool for the job. You certainly could clean the floors of your apartment with a roll of toilet paper and a cup of water, but a mop and bucket would be swifter and more effective. Why are you making things so hard on yourself? Don’t let your stubbornness or unrealistic idealism keep you from actually getting the job done (or making it require 10 times the effort). The principle applies to people as well; be impartial and clearheaded in your selections. Once you exclude personal attachments and preferences, it’ll be obvious who and what will best accomplish your goals.
Power and responsibility, as you know, go hand in hand. For the most part, you’re reasonable and wise when exercising yours. In this case, however, I’m worried that what began with good intentions has devolved into mere bullying. Could your personal distaste or dislike be causing you to take things a bit too far? I suspect that’s the case, so please double check. There’s no need to make a big drama about it, but a simple apology might be in order. At the very least, more fair treatment of even those you dislike is definitely overdue.
Avoid the extremes everyone seems to be urging you towards. Let’s say you want to protect yourself on a lonely evening jog in the park. Shirk the handgun in favor of pepper spray or an air horn, which are probably just as likely to be effective, with less dire consequences if you make a mistake. It’s much easier to recuperate from a deafening blast or a painful squirt than a bullet. Taking it more extreme than the minimally effective measures would be a bad move; it would, in fact, only set you up for emotional disasters that would be at least as hard to recover from as a gunshot wound.
Within almost all most bad news, a silver lining can be found. This should come as no surprise, considering how many of the supposedly “bad” experiences of your past have had astonishingly happy endings. The next shitty turn of events is just like all of those other unfortunate circumstances, even if it seems more extreme and crap-tastic than most. Some of this negativity might be a little blinding. It may be very hard to tell what possible positive ramifications could result from it. Even if they’re invisible or slow to appear, stay positive and have faith. They’re there.
As far as I’m aware, you can’t take out insurance on your heart. Wouldn’t it be great if you got a big payout the next time it got broken? Of course, no insurance company would be willing to assume such a risk; realistically, most relationships end in heartbreak. It’d be a losing proposition for them. Even if you’re cynical (or realistic) enough to share my view, that doesn’t mean it’s a losing proposition for you. There’s much to gain from almost any relationship, even one you know ahead of time will end in heartbreak. It’s a more complicated equation than you’re taking into account; by my calculations, despite the negative stuff that’s sure to come, you’ll still end up ahead.
Selfless service is all well and good if you can afford to practice it. I admire your bighearted desire to help people whenever you can. However, there are times when you shouldn’t, because the cost to you outweighs the ultimate benefit to others. The greater good requires that you look at the big picture here, and that means setting yourself up to continue to be modestly generous months or years down the road, rather than being so extravagant with your aid now that you have none to spare for a long time to come. This week, being ever so slightly selfish is actually the most selfless thing you could possibly do.
What you think you’re good at may not necessarily be the case. While this discovery is bound to be depressing (and probably also embarrassing or humiliating), don’t get too stuck on it. There’s a silver lining here: the opposite is also true. Something you’ve never tried (and never suspected you had a talent for) is waiting breathlessly for you to discover it. You’re a natural! I think figuring out just what your hidden aptitude is, and the joys it could bring you, will go a long way towards obscuring and ultimately erasing the disappointments of this week.
Surrender doesn’t always equal defeat. If it ensures that you live to fight another day, it might be the only wise move you can make. In fact, true wisdom might be the ability to recognize when you’re facing a battle you can’t win, and instead of causing more damage by persisting anyway, setting yourself up so that you’re in a more viable position further down the line. The long view is key in this situation, since an overnight triumph is simply out of the question. If holding your ground here means you’ll be virtually crippled, may I suggest rolling over and showing your belly (for now)?
Be careful what you set in motion. I fear that you’ve been so intent on getting your plans going that you haven’t looked far enough ahead to make sure they’re truly headed in the right direction. This thing is like a big old freight train; stopping it would take nearly as much time and effort as getting it up to travel speed. Before you work harder to accelerate this thing, take a moment to look ahead and make sure it’s not about to run out of track. This could be your last chance to put on the brakes and avoid disaster.
What you see is not what you get. What a situation (be it relationship, workplace or family) looks like from the outside is frequently not an accurate picture of how it seems from within. Be wary of judging this particular book by its cover. What fills its pages is vastly different than anything you could possibly guess by just looking at it. Be patient, nonjudgmental and persistent, and you soon may be rifling through those pages and figuring out for yourself how well this particular scenario fits (or doesn’t) into your life. Making that judgment before you get that chance, though, would be a huge mistake.
January 28 1977
January 29 1954
January 30 1951
January 31 1977
Lauren Conrad (pictured)
February 1 1986
February 2 1943
February 3 1950