Saturday, August 25, 2012

um...

Last night I dreamed about using the word "askance" wrong dozens of times.  Is this because I woke up at 3am and checked my GRE scores?  Probably.

I'm going to shower today.  And then MAYBE make peach cobbler.  Maybe.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Feedback confessional

One of the things that is really important to me is feedback- and I'd argue that it's important to all of us.  Whether it's feedback from things, ourselves, deity, or those around us, it's important.  In fact, in some aspects of the military, they break soldiers by just not giving them ANY feedback for a number of weeks.  No feedback ends up breaking people faster than even only negative feedback.

While negative feedback is important too, I strongly believe that reinforcement is much more effective than punishment.  And because giving negative feedback isn't usually what we struggle with, lately I've been working on the positive.  Silly things, it seems.  Calling a department store manager to let them know about a particularly helpful employee.  Filling out an online survey to point out someone who was doing a good job under pressure.  Letting those around me know I appreciate all the little things they do every day.  


It might seems silly- people tell me all the time that we shouldn't recognize people for normal things.  But I disagree.  If people are doing something good, even if it's normal for them, shouldn't it be recognized?  That's like saying we're only going to award good grades for students who were previously getting bad grades.  Improvement IS good, but it's not the only thing that deserves to be appreciated.  Those who have been working hard the whole time deserve recognition too.  
Yesterday, I was in Jamba Juice running an errand for my roommate.  It was CRAZY busy.  There was one girl who you could tell was new, and she was trying hard, but the pressure was getting to her.  She had a few minor slip-ups, and her boss was pretty condescending.  But she was working HARD and, despite the busyness, she delivered my order with a genuine smile.  And I really appreciated it.    
I strongly believe in feedback.  And I also believe in aiming to make our ratio of positive to negative feedback 5:1- in all aspects of life.  I don't want to be the person who only reports complaints.  I will report them when I have them, but until I do I'll focus on all of the good experiences.  I'm not saying we should make stuff up- I'm saying I want to notice the good more.  It's not that it's not there- I think I just take it for granted.  And happiness doesn't come from things getting better- it comes from realizing how great things really are.

Post Script: I know that a lot of people will disagree with me on this.  The more I think about it, though, the more the I realize that I want this to be one of the overriding philosophies of my life.  I want to show people that I appreciate them for all of the good things, and then deal with the bad when they come up- with kindness and a greater outpouring of love. [see Doctrine and Covenants 121: 41-45]

Top Ten

...in no particular order.

1. Running through the sprinklers.
2. Ordering books for my last semester
3. Helping a lost shopping cart find its way home.
4. Cookiedough and Simply juice
5. Feeling the burden of anger be replaced by the peace of tangible forgiveness.
6. Spontaneous Moosebutter songs
7. Roommate prayer
8. Helping calm down a little girl who had locked herself out of her house.
9. A boyfriend who knows me well enough to know that an orange tea set will make me smile for weeks!
10. Conversations about ideas that feed my soul and make me feel alive.

Peace.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Honesty

One of the hardest things for me is deciding that the truth is more important than someone getting upset about it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

perfect word vomit

Disclaimer: this is honestly word vomit.  I didn't even try and proofread.

Today I realized just how much I have to be grateful for.  And I'm going to be incredibly honest about it.

Today I took the GRE, and it was honestly the scariest test of my life.  But I did GREAT.  I didn't do perfect, or even as well as I probably thought I was capable of, but I did really well, and I did well for the schools I'm wanting to apply to.  And all the while I got to learn an awesome lesson about humility: I don't have to be the best, I just need to do well enough to get me to the next step in my life.  So I can stop fussing about how I could have been better, and just focus on being good enough to learn what it is I need to learn.

In the temple today I met a girl who is pretty much me two years ago.  She's considering changing her major to psychology, and she has so many questions and so much confusion.  I chatted with her a little, but then had to leave.  It seemed silly and presumptuous, but I gave her a note with my email so that she could let me know if she had any more questions.  I honestly didn't think she'd email me, but tonight when I got home she had- almost immediately.  Turns out I was acting on inspiration as an answer to prayer.  Acting on faith does indeed lead to power.

I also realized today that I don't have to make big decisions yet.  I'm happy with what I'm learning, how I'm helping others, and the moments that I feel happy.  Tonight was one of those moments.  I got pretty, went to Five Guys with my awesome boyfriend, and laughed and danced and sang all the way to Smiths for delicious drinks (I'm officially a fan of IZZES- try the delicious drink without added sugar and with two whole servings of fruit!) and then back home.  I made a skirt from the dress I wore to my dad's wedding that was too short- and that was a lovely sort of catharsis in and of itself.  We watched LOST and had a real discussion about the ins and outs of torture and the idealist versus practical views of when the end justifies the means.  Fascinating- and I really love being able to expand my point of view with new ideas.

I'm at an awesome point in life.  I'm moving this week to a brand new apartment, where I get to live with people I love and make new friends while still keeping in touch with a ward I have great friends in.  I'm graduating from college here pretty soon, and I have a great resume, gpa, and test scores that will help me get into a top tier conflict resolution program.  I'm TAing for a class that I love, all while getting to totally revamp the curriculum.  Next week I get a chance to have an authentic interaction with my mother.  Tomorrow I get to play volleyball and start packing.  And I have beautiful opportunities to help build my future family in the distance.

There may be tons of things I don't know, questions I don't have answered, and concerns that haven't gone away...but I also have so many things I DO know, questions I DO know the answers to, and concerns that HAVE gone away.  I've learned so much recently, and I'll only learn more.  I am so blessed.  I can literally feel the power of heaven behind me.

And that, more than anything, is what I've been noticing:  when we act on faith, Heavenly Father gives us power.

http://vimeo.com/3508632  One day.  But until then, I thank you all so much for believing in me.  I believe in you.  (But I don't believe in Harvey Dent.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

clarity

I had a long, cryptic, and emotional blog post written this morning....but it just feels like adding to the mess.  So all I'll say is this:

I need to be done with confusion.  
The little girl trapped inside my head is ready to stop spinning in circles, but there has to be way out.  
I need clarity and simplicity.



And that is what I'm out to find.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Laughter

When I get really tired, I laugh a lot and I'm REALLY silly! Tonight, I discovered that my laugh ranges from gigglebox to Ganandorf, bottomed out by snorts that can be induced by mere suggestion. I'm crazy!

I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Laughter is so healing. It has a way of letting out fear, anxiety, and past pent up stuff. Laughter is the ultimate way to be in the now-to live and breathe and enjoy the beauty of the moment. And laughing makes you tired, that perfect balance of physical exhaustion and mental resignation. Laughter heals the soul. And souls have needed so much healing lately.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

a note from John Gottman

I'm taking the quickest of breaks from outlining the new textbook my professor is using for psych 111 this fall, because I want to share this section of text with you.  This particular passage is about research done by John Gottman, a psychologist who specializes in marriage relationships.

"One of Gottman's key observations is the ratio of positive to negative comments in a couple's discussion of a problem.  Happy couples make 5 times more positive comments about each other and their relationship during these discussions (e.g., we laugh a lot versus we never have any fun).

In several places in this textbook, we have emphasized how the human mind is skewed toward the negative, like noticing bitter tastes over sweet.  This slant suggests that it is all too easy to focus on your partner's negative qualities, which will lead to negative emotions and conflict.  If we put our relationships on evolutionary cruise control, the ratio of positive to negative comments might drop to a point where the relationship is in danger.  Maintaining a more positive outlook on your partner requires attention and work."

Point made?  The way we talk to another person in a relationship isn't just "natural".  It takes work, dedication, and a whole lot of effort to make sure that we notice, point out, and dwell on the positive aspects of the relationship instead of the negative.  We are WIRED to do the opposite.  We aren't wired to talk about the positive things, and yet that's what relationships require to survive.  It's hard, but I it's also worth it.  Not just that, it's essential!

ok, ok, ranting done.  happy picture of a happy couple, just to leave things on a happy note...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Being a Girl

Recently I've realized something: there is a difference in the way I view myself and the way I think others view me. I KNOW that I am spiritual, kind, intelligent, beautiful, powerful, and amazing.  I know that I have endured well, learned a lot, and have a vivaciousness for life that I cherish.  I have come a long way, and I am proud of the person I am becoming.  But sometimes when I'm around others, especially men, I let that slip away.  For some reason, I focus on physicality, "sexiness" (whatever that means), and those things for attention.  Because here's the thing: it's easier.  It's faster.  Physicality can garner attention in an instant, but it leaves just as quickly.  Respect, on the other hand, comes when others see your true self.  It takes time to build, and it takes a lot to destroy.  So why not just focus on what really matters?

This is easier said than done, obviously.  But I think what makes it hardest is when others are pulled into the same trap we are.  I've been listening to Pandora quite a bit lately, and for some reason the ONLY advertisement that my station plays is for breast enhancement surgery.  I'm someone that has always been 100% against physical alterations for the sake of being pretty- I don't like wearing much makeup, I think working out and diets for the sake of weight and not health are absolute lunacy, and expensive and invasive procedures for the sole sake of altering natural appearances usually make me gag.  But after a few hours of hearing this commercial over and over, I started to wonder.  Will my husband expect that?  Am I not the right size? etc.  So what did I do?  Being the slightly strange person I am, I wrote Pandora an email, kindly letting them know my concern about the type of advertisements on their stations and the message it was sending to women and girls.  Because here's the thing:  most of the physical things we worry about and want to change about ourselves wouldn't even cross our minds unless someone else was doing them.  And it has to start somewhere.

A friend recommended this blog post to me today, and I agree with every single world.  Take a read, it really does define what is most important for our children to know.

I echo her sentiment: 
I hope enough brave girls band together, support one another and reject the world's counterfeit definition of beauty.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Life is Scary

I'm officially taking the GRE in two weeks.

After hours of research, my list of possible graduate schools has been narrowed to less than 10.

Life is scary.  It's exciting that I have so many wonderful opportunities, but it's also scary.  Because opportunities means choices, and not always choices between good and bad.  All choices have consequences, and some choices just come down to a personal preference of which choices you would rather have. 

 i strongly dislike making decisions.