Thursday, April 14, 2011

Correct Principles

I got an email this morning. It said, "I know when you follow correct principles, you'll go back." The email didn't say what that meant... church? marriage? Utah County? Who knows? I am a lot more grounded, because I didn't get upset. I just saw it as a very controlling (and abusive) way of thinking. Virtually what he was saying is, "I'll know when you're following correct principles, because you'll do what I would do."

I shared this with BJ. He nodded and said, "That is exactly the way I was taught to think. 'If you knew what I know, you'd do what I do. I'm changing, but I used to be this way."

Then he started talking about all of the times he has approached life with that idea. I'm not sure why he picked ice cream to talk about, but he did.

"If I just explain to you how much better vanilla ice cream is than chocolate, you'd like vanilla better. How could anyone like chocolate better? Its gross. Vanilla is smoother, not as strong. Chocolate is bitter. And with vanilla, you can add fruit to it... mmmm."

I had to stop him. I was losing my mind. I was believing that I was wrong to prefer chocolate.

As I started talking about the silly belief about ice cream, I realized how I've believed that about everything. Whatever I liked was not as good as what other people liked. Whatever I thought, wanted, felt, desired, hoped for, believed, etc, was not as good as everyone else.

I've never come from the place, "If you knew what I know, you'd do what I do." I came from the opposite place. "I'll learn what you know, so I can do what you do."

I was both laughing and crying.
Two days ago, I listened to Everyday Joy where Angie talked about how she felt like she was always doing everything wrong, because it wasn't what everyone else was doing. I listened to her and thought, "Angie. I love YOU. Trust you. You're the best Angie there is, so don't try to be Jen or anyone else but Angie..." I did not connect what she was saying to me...

...until I started laughing and crying at myself. Even my taste in ice cream is wrong, because it isn't what everyone else likes. (Eating disorder also assigns some judgment to chocolate. A person that prefers fruit is better than a person that prefers chocolate.)

BJ also pointed out that the idea, "If you knew what I know..." would create controlling people. It would also create the reverse. ME. I hate fighting. Even for my own wants. So, I became the opposite, but I don't want to be that anymore.

I like chocolate ice cream. I don't like fruit in my ice cream, except for very rare occasions.
I'm living correct principles, because they are MY principles.
I believe I do what I do, because I know what I know, and because I want what I want, and because I am who I am.

"You never need to defend yourself or your desires to anyone, as those inner feelings are Spirit speaking to you. Those thoughts are sacred, so don't ever let anyone trample on them." - Dr. Wayne Dyer


  1. This concept really interests me. As I read about ice cream, i realised that it reminded me of one of my co-workers. He knows what he thinks is best, and I feel belittled if I do not agree with him. Generally this makes me angry. It is about little things, like coffee, he thinks coffee is the most wonderful thing around, I think it tastes gross. Or then there is Ireland. He thinks Ireland is the best. I think that it is okay, but not the best. But then I get defencive. I want to shout "NO CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM IS THE BEST!" But really, I think it is, but that doesn't actually make it the best. When I went for coffee with my friend the other day, he bought a doughnut. a vanilla doughnut with sprinkles. I found myself saying to him that he had made the wrong choice. There were a lot of better types of doughnuts in the world. He could have had a chocolate one for example. I then caught myself. Just because I thought that the chocolate one was the best, didn't actually make it the best. I was acting just as my co-worker does. I have started to wonder if the reason that he bothers me so much is if because in him I see one of my own flaws. Thanks for sharing this Jen.

  2. Who was this coming from? Your ex?

    Urgh, I can't stand the arrogance of some people. I see it in my own family, and it makes me want to puke. Because they have these carefully crafted, canned statements that I just don't have the quickness of mind to respond to, even though I know for a fact, I know because I've done the research, that their opinion is just that, an opinion. To them though, they're right and that's that. If you can't come back with a response immediately, they win.

  3. This is a very fascinating subject. It got me thinking about a lot of things. We all have opinions, and those opinions are completely correct to us. Others opinions may differ from ours but the truth is that there is no universally correct opinion.

    However, there are universally true facts. I think people get the difference between fact and opinion confused.

    For example, a universally true fact is that if you avoid debt and you save money, you will eventually have large sums of money.

    One person who has developed a habit of saving may look at someone who has not and assume that the other person does not have this knowledge.

    However, the person who doesn't save may be fully aware that they will have less money at the end of their lives, but they may feel that they are enjoying their life more along the way.

    That's where the two can't see eye to eye. It doesn't change the universal truth, but happiness is ultimately subjective. One person may gain more happiness from the security of a large bank account while another gains happiness from eating out or buying fun things.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. I hope the money analogy made sense. I was just trying to express some of the things I was thinking about that differentiate between universal truths or facts and the opinions that we place on top of them.

    The existence of opinions doesn't negate the existence of truths, but it may color the way we interpret or apply those truths.

    By the way, I like vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and little banana slices.

  4. The dilemma is what Jeff here mentioned. Many people (especially Mormons) don't think that what they're saying is opinion but truth.

    In many's minds:

    [Vanilla] is better than [chocolate] because God says it's better. So it doesn't matter if anyone likes [chocolate] more than [vanilla]; [vanilla] is and will always be better. You'll see once you die.

    Take my family for example. It doesn't matter how much my boyfriend improves my life, makes me a better person, sustains me in ways that help make me independent from my parents. It doesn't matter how much good is in my relationship with my boyfriend. All they "know" is that once I realize the "truth" then I'll be horribly sorry.

    That said, though, I lean toward believing in absolute truths, and my experience with my family has actually taught me how to more accurately judge things.

    When it comes to absolute truths: It doesn't matter what I think. It doesn't matter what my family thinks. It doesn't matter what someone's god supposedly thinks. If it's something that contributes to a healthy, stable, happy, and productive life, it's got to be good.

  5. Yeti - Before I started reading all of the books on relationships, the way your coworker talked would have bothered me, but I wouldn't have known why. Now, I know it bothers me because it violated my boundaries. Even when I didn't know I had them, it bothered me to have them be violated. Many people live in a reality where its either control others or be controlled. Its one of the biggest reasons why people fight: couples, friends, wars... I like that you noticed you were doing that and stopped. :)

    Macha - no. Not my ex. My ex is actually doing really well at not doing things like this with me. This was from a guy from the old ward (church). He bore his testimony, apologized for the hard things I've been through, then challenged me to focus on the positive. And closed with that line. It felt good to be able to say (just to myself) "That is his story. Not mine."

    Jeff - your money analogy was perfect. If you don't spend your money, you'll have more of it. That is all. Everything after that is based on personal preferences and opinions.

    I don't think any of your reply was rambling, so no apology accepted. I LIKE to hear thoughts!!

    (Oh, and I like banana chunks in chocolate ice cream. Suddenly, I'm hungry! :)

    Chedner - It is really hard to have a dialogue with another person when God is involved.

    For there to be an effective dialogue, both people have to be willing to admit they might be wrong. When I thought God was on my side (even when I thought He was against me), all discussion was over. God was right. Nothing else mattered.

    Letting go of those judgments has opened up possibilities I never could have dreamed existed... I'm not sure how many absolute truths exist. Far less than I used to think there were. And I agree, "If it's something that contributes to a healthy, stable, happy, and productive life, it's got to be good." And only YOU can be the judge of that.

  6. Oh... Miss Jen!

    How I see/hear/read myself in your words. You and I are mirroring one another so beautifully! Thank you for showing up so you can see you in me AND I can see me in YOU! I appreciate you reflecting to me your experiences and sharing how what I've said has touched you.

    I have a reveal... (imagine me whispering now...) I sometimes forget that, as a radio show host, people are actually listening to what I say. Funny me....

    At any rate, I appreciate you, Jen. Thank you, once again, for stretching and using your voice. You have touched me, girl!

    Much love to you. MUAH!!!

  7. Holy smokes! That's it! I've never heard it put SO clearly: "If you knew what I knew you'd do what I do." That's EXACTLY what they think! And it's what I *used* to think (which makes me shudder) Very well put.

  8. Angie - You make me smile! I think your forgetting that people are listening is one of the things that makes listening to you SO magnificent. You're just YOU.

    Catherine - Thank you! And thanks for coming to visit my blog.

  9. I agree that some people who say that are trying to control . . . aka. be abusive. But I think perhaps most just are trying to validate their own decisions. They aren't confident enough in what they perceive in light of your perceptions being different. They can't allow room for you to be doing the best in your sphere, and for them to be doing the best in theirs.

    They have to say, "well, you made different decisions than I have, but are a good person. Therefore, you must not have the same information that I do because I am a good person too. Therefore if you had the same information as I do, since we're both good people, you'd make the same decisions I'm making."

    They often don't mean to be cruel, but they do have a certain level of ignorance about the way God works with us, in my opinion.

  10. SilverRain - It is true that most people who say that (or think that way) do not mean to be cruel. The problem I have had in my life is that even those that weren't TRYING to control me, controlled me, because I believed them. I believed so deep down that there was something wrong with me, because I wasn't like them.

    Abusive and controlling are both labels that I use to help me define when my boundaries are being crossed. I try to use the words to describe the behavior, not the people, but I am not always good at doing that.

    I appreciate your gentle wisdom.

  11. It is hard to stand up to insecure or well-intentioned people when you truly believe they are right and you are flawed. To have the courage to risk standing up for yourself is scary. I find it harder, sometimes, to be right than to be wrong.
    If I'm wrong, I can just follow the other person and not confront either of our insecurities.

    Thanks Jen for your thoughts. You've given me something to think about again :)