Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Search for the Perfect Leggings

My friend has this pair of leggings. They are not super form-fitting like tights and not as loose as pants. They are somewhere in between and they are perfect. I love them and have been obsessed in these last few weeks with finding a pair for myself----unsuccessfully.  (My co-blogger will recognize this trait of mine in a long-ago search for the perfect white shirt.) I'm like a dog with a bone when I get like this and don't give up without a mighty fight. So beyond the very obvious fact that having the perfect pair of leggings or the perfect white shirt would be quite satisfying, my sneaking suspicion is that there is something else going on. Saying this out loud will sound completely ridiculous but here you go: If I had the perfect pair of leggings, my life would be complete. I would be blissfully happy and my problems would be over. 

It's easy to see the fallacy of logic when we are talking about an item of clothing but it's a little harder where other searches are concerned: if I could just find the perfect mate or the perfect job or if I could win the lottery or inherit a boatload of money or if I were famous or thinner. Somehow in all of these yearnings is the underlying assumption that there is something out there that will get us to the finish line where we can spike the ball and do the victory dance. When we think about it, we can understand that no such finish line exists, despite our feelings to the contrary. It is most likely human nature to yearn for perfect happiness and relief from any pain. But there is at least some amount of peace and contentment to be gained in the present when we work to let go of an unattainable goal.

PS: If you see those leggings somewhere, do let me know.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Two Step

The search for self-knowledge is a good thing ... but it sometimes becomes obsessive. One self-help book after another, gurus galore and endless conversations about what I or you did and what it meant when I or you did or said it. It's useful (and interesting) to see how you promote or damage your life because of past experiences. But understanding alone does not necessarily make a difference in a life without a second step.  It's avoiding that second step that may keep your nose in a book or your attention riveted on a guru.  Change of course is the  step. Doing something different from what you are used to: being less critical, skipping a fight, forcing yourself to have social interactions, walking away from an attraction and, in some cases, admitting that the drama of playing out themes is exhilarating and keeps you going.  Long or short, we all have our lists. And change is challenging. I think this is especially true in the narcissistic age in which we live when external change is so highly valued and internal change not so much. Graciousness, patience and generosity are boring words compared to the ever present "sexy."  Who needs character when you can have a six-pack?

To get those abs you may have a trainer, but ultimately you, and you alone, have to do the heavy lifting.  Same is true for psychological change.  A therapist can help you gain insight, but you alone have to practice new behaviors. Not easy and many people never try but, in my book, it's worth it. Hard abs will never bring the happiness that good relationships have to offer.