Trust in others’ choices for themselves: This is my new motto; I believe that we are all adults; I do not live your life, I do not know what it’s like to be you, so I am going to trust that whatever choices you decide are the best choices for you. I don’t date your boyfriend, so if you feel like you need to break up with him, then I will trust that decision. I don’t work at your job, so if you decide that you want to quit, then I will trust that decision. I don’t have your body, so if you feel like switching up your workout routine, then I am going to trust that decision, and trust that you know what’s best for you.
We train people how to interact with us: Upon giving my syllabus, I make sure to highlight the dress code, especially to the girls. We talk about how what we wear sends a message to people, and it trains them to interact with us. For example, if I wear booty shorts and a half top to school, I am sending the message, “Objectify me if you want”, and training people to make comments about my physical appearance (rather than my intellectual value). But, this is also true with how we allow other people to treat us. For example, if I am in a conversation that turns gossipy, and I engage in that gossip, then I am training people, and letting them know that I am a person they can gossip with. However, if I am in a conversation that turns gossipy, and I say, “Isn’t that person so nice?”, then I am training people, and letting them know that I do not talk about that particular person.
Be the best ME: I am extremely competitive by nature, and as elementary as it sounds, I don’t like it when I meet someone who might be potentially better at something than I am. I am like this in grad school; when I sense that someone might have a better idea than I do, I get mad. I am like this in dancing; when I sense that someone might have won more awards than I did, I get agitated. I am like this in my job; when I sense that someone might be better at teaching than I am, I get zealous. But, what I have to remind myself is that there is no one on this earth that is better than being Britany Ederveen than I am, and I will always be the best in that category.
You make people like you by investing time in them: Living is lonely, whether you are one of those smart people or introverts, or just a regular person, and people really like it when you validate their existence. It’s probably evolutionary; when someone notices us, it hopefully means that the tribe won’t leave without us. If you want people to like you, invest in them. Ask them questions about their lives. Stroke their egos and inquire about their personal interests, hobbies, and expertise. People LOVE talking about themselves–why not use it to your advantage?
Language has limitations: Humans created language so they can try to connect to other people, but as it turns out, language has limitations. I might say the word “love”, and your experience to the word “love” is different than mine, but I except that yours is the same. This is where miscommunications occur; we think people are on the same wave length, but as it turns out, we are always slightly missing each other. There are so many experiences that, even as an expert of language, I cannot always adequately describe: the breathtaking beauty of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, the biker bar in Killeen, Texas, the moment when my dance team takes the floor. I may tell someone I went to the Globe Theater this summer, but unless they have experienced it themselves, they will never fully understand that monumental experience. Or, I may say, “my grandpa just passed away”, and your reaction might trigger what your relationship to your grandpa is, which might not seem as big of a deal as it is to me. There are just some things words can never explain.
Separate relationships: I believe there is no such thing as a pure, universal truth. Or, perhaps there is, but humans will never be able to reach it, because we are biased, our experiences do taint our perspectives, we do rule with emotions and are self-serving. Therefore, people’s opinions of other people are always going to be skewed based on their own individual version of “truth” (which is, inevitably, based on their own biases and experiences). When someone comes to me and says, “I don’t like so-and-so”, I always have to keep in mind that is their opinion, and no matter how alike we are, my experience with that person is inevitably going to be different, and I must make my own opinions about people. I must keep my relationships with people separate. I think girls especially feel this need to “pick sides” when they are not getting along with each other. My family is so guilty of this; whenever two women in my family are not getting along, they are always vying for us to pick sides. However, I have to keep in mind that, while my sisters may not be getting along with each other, I am getting along with them separately, and therefore my experience is different. I must also divorce personality conflicts with people’s work abilities. In any job we come by, there is always someone we have a personality clash with, and it’s often really difficult to get past that clash. However, my relationship with someone is different than their ability to work, and I can’t let my personality conflicts hinder the fact that they are good at their job.
God will take care of her: I am reading this book, titled, “Becoming More Than Just a Bible Study Girl”, and Lysa Terkeurst reminds us that it is not our responsibility to punish other people. Especially as someone who loves morality, I often get upset when I see injustices committed, and I immediately want to punish the people. However, God is taking care of that. It is my job to be forgiving, and to live graciously, not my job to seek justice.
Everyone wishes they had a different life: My Bible study this summer included a plethora of women from a plethora of life stages. There were the young and fresh out of college, the young and married, the young, married, and with kids, and then people like myself. It was here that I realized everyone envies other people; everyone wants a life they do not live. One stay-at-home mom was jealous of another mom who worked, and the mom who worked was jealous of the mom who got to stay at home with her children. One girl wishes she was married, another wishes she was still single. We always want something we do not have.
Existing is hard: I think 99% of the problems we deal with are people-created. This life is hard enough to live. It’s hard enough that we are always battling being tired and hungry and thirsty. Our feet hurt when we stand too long, our knees lock up when we sit. No one ever has enough money, and there always seems to be some kind of tragedy, or diagnosis that we are dealing with. Just living as a human is hard enough.