August 4th, 2009
|02:11 am - My answer to the 5 words meme|
In one of the various memes going around, qos posted 5 words she associates with me: Commitment, Fire, Domesticity, Exploration, Honor. Here are my own thoughts on these 5.
Commitment: This is an idea that I have a complex reaction to. I'm deeply committed to my two partners and to a handful of other people who I truly love (both romantically & not). However, these commitments are all choices on my part – I do not feel bound by anything other than my continuing choice to be devoted to these people because they make my life richer and more wonderful. However, I also have no patience for suffering. Periodically (usually every month or two), or in the aftermath of a significantly unpleasant interaction (which, like this, need not be any sort of conflict) I take a look at my significant personal relationships and consider if they honestly make me happy and how they are doing. I also do this with less close relationships if I have some significant problem with that person. In effect, I do an emotional cost-benefit analysis where I briefly consider how much the relationship gives me vs. how problematic, annoying, stressful, or troublesome it is. This is only partly a conscious process and the processing I do is almost exclusively emotional (as so much similar processing is for me), but I do my best to look at trends and not immediate interactions and always do this when I am alone and not still resentful about a recent problem. I also do my best to ignore both all of the relationship's "sunk costs" and all other aspects of my past history with this person previous to the last few months. Instead, I focus on both the last month or so and how the future is likely to go with that person.
On more than one occasion, I've seen that a particular relationship needs to be changed if it is to remain generally positive. On a very few occasions, I have decided (mostly with either with friends I'm not all that close to and who have proven to be highly problematic towards me, or (more commonly) with relatively new romantic relationships) that the analysis comes up considerably negative and that it's either sufficiently negative or has been negative long enough that I'm done with it. At this point, I cut all ties with the person and utterly remove them from my life, because I have absolutely no interest in having people in my life who are not on average a positive influence. I am well aware that I give to my close relationships, I am unwilling to do this is I do not also gain substantial benefit in return. For me, commitment means that I continue to choose to be with someone, because my life continues to be better with them in it.
Fire: This is an element that I'm currently working on. I'm a highly energetic and enthusiastic individual, but I naturally lack both anything that could be described as a fiery temper or sort of brilliance and mind-blowing creativity that people often talk about in terms of fire and flame. Ultimately, other than in dress, I'm not a particularly flashy individual, but fire is something that I'm attempting to learn more about.
Domesticity: I work from home both because I enjoy doing so, and because it makes it easier for me to care for my loved ones and to be highly domestic. I love to cook, both from an appreciation of the craft of doing so, a love go good food, and also because I very much enjoy making my loved ones happy, and providing someone with good food is a very important and basic way of accomplishing this. I also enjoy quiet days at home with my loved ones, where I either remain inside all day or do not venture further than a shop or coffee house now more than a few blocks away. I've never been an adventurous individual and I love the quiet joys of home and loved ones.
Exploration: This word as applied to me initially puzzled me, but I can see how it fits. While highly domestic and non-adventurous, I'm also a fairly strong neophile. I'm naturally suspicious of any and all traditions, unless they are clearly based in effectiveness, and I love new things, from learning a new way to peel a banana, to trying a strange new type of junk food, or seeing a new movie. When I was a child, a number of other children I knew had favorite books that they enjoyed reading several times. I never did this, I was continually looking for new books by authors I loved, while also constantly being on the look out for new authors worth reading. These days, I occasionally reread books, but mostly only those that I last read 20 or more years ago, which is itself a rediscovery, both because I've often forgotten many details, and because both I and the world have changed in that time, and it's occasionally fascinating to see an old book through new eyes.
Honor: I consider myself to have a code of honor, but I'm also aware that it's an exceedingly idiosyncratic and odd code. The short form of how I see honor is that I try to live my life according to enlightened self interest (meaning among other things that I attempt to avoid short-term gains that produce long-term harm in my life unless I have consciously decided that I prefer to the short-term gain even at the cost of the long-term harm), a broad sense of kindness and compassion for others, a desire to give everyone else the conditions to provide for their own enlightened self-interest, and sufficient empathy to believe that obtaining goods and services well beyond those necessary to meet my own moderate level of comfort is less important than alleviating others' suffering. OTOH, my comfort is far more important to me than any large corporation's bottom line.
Current Mood: contemplative