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Friday, July 23, 2010

compliments: lawyer-style

every once in awhile i learn something about myself that inspires me to reflect and record.

i perceive (correct me if i'm wrong) that most people who know me would say, "it's difficult to impress isaiah." well, that's generally true. but i want to clarify something.

impressive things shouldn't be common. they shouldn't be easily acquired. they should be closer to unique than normal. if they were ordinary, why would they be impressive? now, i'll say it in a different way: the things that i choose to impress me, should not be common, or easily acquired. i do believe that, to a large degree, i decide what impresses me, and why.

having said that, i'll now list a few of the things that really impress me (in others):
  • courage
    the description of this trait that comes to mind at this point in my life is, doing something you know is right/good even though you know there will be significant personal consequences. for example:
    • choosing to be emotionally vulnerable
      i don't mean inviting violent people to mistreat you. i mean inviting trusted people to care for you, even though you know they might mess you up, whether accidentally or on purpose.
  • desire for / willingness to pursue personal change
    does anyone know a good one- or two-word term for this? self-reflection both motivated by and leading to a desire for change in oneself is, from my perspective, an intrinsic part of humility.
  • metacognition
    anyone who thinks about the way they think about things, deserves to be enlightened by that process. it's like taking off your glasses to examine whether they need cleaning, how they are different from the glasses (paradigms, schema, filters, worldview) of others... this is difficult to do, and extremely helpful in many areas of life, not just for the person doing it but for the people around that person. it requires  
    • self-awareness, which also impresses me. it's intertwined with the ability to determine one's own true motives, even when those motives may be hidden, or worse: when those motives might be attempting to hinder one's own metacognitive / self-critical processes (i.e. when the things you really want are lying to you about the things you think you want, or about the reasons you're doing what you're doing).
  • selflessness
    when choosing between right (or good) for self and right (or good) for others, the tendency to consider others as being of an importance equal to or greater than one's own. i include 'equal to' because even that can be extremely difficult.
after writing these out, i think to myself, "hey... those are alot of the things i wish i had. those are alot of the things i try or have tried to have." that makes sense, of course... how could i be impressed by them yet not want them for myself?

i hope i have them, or will have them soon. and i hope i don't meet many people who are like this, because i'll really want to befriend them, but mostly for my benefit, which is awkward and a tiny bit shameful... and i usually have trouble being friends with people who impress me too much.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones." - παρακλητος

that crackling sound is my brittle bones breaking
cruciform, and shaking
calling out for vinegar
but slaking not my thirst for something better

that crumbling sound is my ferric blood flaking
wounds of my own making
knitting through the restlessness
but healing not my heart: a rotting abcess

the answer i've found in the past isn't working
Treachery is lurking
begging to be accepted
but heeding not my pleas to strike me dead