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Help Yourself

March 20, 2012

A common fault with all of my posts is that while they may start out talking about one thing, they very rarely address that opening topic in any depth. Instead, they wander until they just happen to somehow find the topic about which I really wanted to talk. I must admit that today’s post will be the same. The only difference is that this one has a prominent apology that will never be present again. I hereby apply this apology for my rambling introductions to all future posts and retroactively to what I’ve written in the past. Yes, I am a very poor writer of introductions.

There are a great many pieces one has to master to be considered a good writer. There are even more to be considered a well-rounded writer. I suppose that’s the same for all of life. Wow. That was a really transparent transition. Sorry. I’ll add transitions to the list with introductions.

You see kids, life is like an analogy about a box of chocolates. It once sounded original in a movie, and now people just laugh at it. What? You don’t think that’s what life is like at all? Oh. Well, life is like an analogy about a box of chocolate in that it’s old and stale, but people keep on repeating it anyways. Now I just sound bitter don’t I? Oh well, I tried to make the analogy work.*

We, as humans, are always trying to improve, to cover our weaknesses. That’s good and right. It’s how we’re meant to work, but I think sometimes we carry it to unhealthy excess.

America has this self-help complex, this belief that every person needs to be improving themselves in a million different ways at once. It exerts a pressure on every member of American society to be better than he is right now. One merely has to walk into a book store to be assaulted with an entire section devoted to this mad pursuit of perfection. Ultimately, that’s what it is—man searching for perfection in this world that can only by its very nature be imperfect.

So what’s the result of this search for perfection by elimination of our own faults? It’s obvious all around us. People are more depressed and enjoy life less than at any other time in history. Suicide rates are extravagant. **

There are two truths that I believe America desperately needs as relates to this topic. Our weaknesses do not define us. We do not define ourselves.

You, each person in the world, are more than a human skin filled with inadequacies. We each have strengths, skills with potential for greatness. When we become caught up in improving ourselves and eliminating our weaknesses, we often forget this, and how disheartening is that? Sure, I might not be able to draw even a stick figure that others would identify as such (or write an introduction consistent with the rest of a piece of writing), but I can understand math concepts that would make some people’s heads spin. My life would be horrible if the primary skill needed for a full life was the ability to competently depict real objects on a sheet of paper, but it isn’t. You are the same, in an entirely different way. God created a huge diversity of people and skills on this planet. Learn to love your place and talent in it and to exalt in the talents of others.

On the opposite side of the same coin, we cannot allow ourselves to become smug and self-satisfied. Seriously, nobody likes that, and, after all, “every good and perfect gift comes from above.” There’s a reason our search for perfection on this Earth will always end in disappointment: there’s only one perfect, and he is not of this world. We’re meant to seek him out, not become Him. He’s the one who will make us like Him.

*This paragraph doesn’t really belong in this post–or any post, really–and should be ignored as far as the structure and content of the post are concerned. The only reason it’s not deleted is that I fell in love with it, and it’s my firm belief that one shouldn’t kill those he loves.

**I’m not saying that the pursuit of perfection through self-improvement is the only contributing factor for these things, but it is a factor.

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