Monday, August 26, 2013

Musings on...

My friends and I are in a book club and we just finished reading this book. My family has a book club, and we read this one earlier in the year as well. Yes, probably a very simple book, but I really enjoyed it. In the back of the book, it gave a quiz that helped you figure out which "faction" (one of 5 groups divided up by desired personality traits) you belonged to. The factions are Abnegation, who desire to think of others and not themselves; Amity, who desire peace with others above all else; Erudite, who desire wisdom and value logic; Candor, who seek for happiness and friendliness; and Dauntless, who value courage and bravery over the other traits. We discussed which ones were most important and what we thought of each one, as portrayed in the book.

Lately I have tried to better at observing people, trying to find out what makes them do what they do, to understand what triggers their behavior. What's been a little interesting to me, is to see how behaviors change over the years. As people get older and have experiences, their reactions to people and things change. Our tastes, and even what we look for in a friend or companion, changes. And yet, what do you do with those relationships that have been in over time, that may have evolved to something different than what it had started out to be? Those relationships are still important and require even more work to stay with and see why you're in them.

It's hard to always be focused on others and their feelings and wishes, when over time, the natural man tends to direct us towards only what makes "me" happy. It can become harder and harder to think about others when you start developing the attitude that "I will do whatever I want and what makes me happy". And I'm going to throw it out there, it's hard to always think of others when you've been single. Being single is not necessarily the best place to develop selfless traits. It can be done and should be attmpted, but it's hard. It feels like, when you make decisions, they only affect yourself, but really, they don't. Married or Single, what we choose to do, affects many others and when we see ourselves in a small bubble, alone where only my will matters, we move onto a slippery slope. It causes us to take for granted the relationships we have, to treat others like their "smaller" or "less important" than they really are. Our struggle to see things from someone else's point of view keeps us grounded on who is important in life.

It's hard to do everything we feel we SHOULD be doing when life is so busy, usually with kids, work, callings, needs of others, that all we really want is to take time for ourselves. And that is okay to do. We all need some time to step out of everyone else's light and replenish our own. But, I am a firm believer that it will never be a detriment to us, to be kind, thoughtful, warm, forgiving or interested in others. Those actions take work. Relationships with others take work, no matter if those are friend relationships or spouses. Sometimes, it seems the relationships that take more effort are the ones where we actually know the person really well.

Every person is different. The quiz from the back of the book showed that me and all my friends are different, we focus on different things. We look at others differently, therefore treating them differently. Yet, moving past that, to strengthen individual relationships is key. If you want to keep a relationship, you have to work (meaning consider, forgive and being kind when it may be hard to be kind) at those. Each one of the traits from the book had to work together and when they didn't, when they looked to "faction before blood" they forgot how much more there was outside of the bubble they had created.


Shelley said...

Good words. And good book. I need to reread it soon. :)