11 February 2008

To My 18 Year Old Self

Not too long ago, I read a book by Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence. It is fascinating to me only because emotional intelligence is a fairly new idea compared to IQ, and in my mind, just as important.

I've often wished I could sit down with my 18 year old self and smack some emotionally intelligent wisdom into my head. The way I see people interact these days, I wonder how in the world they've managed to make it this far in life by being so utterly controlling, obtuse, or even downright rude to those around them, even those they claim to love or respect. It's baffling to me.

What would you do if you could speak wisdom to your younger self? Something to help you through life? Love? Marriage? Job? I would start with good advice on relationships:

◘ When you forgive someone, it does not matter if they are sorry or even remorseful. Forgiveness is done for *you*, not for the person you are forgiving. Regardless, trust and forgiveness do not always go hand in hand and that's nothing to feel guilty over.

◘ When in doubt, keep your mouth shut and just listen.

◘ The best way to open-mindedness is to accept the fact that people are different and should not be controlled. If you argue with someone just to be right, this is not respecting them. This does not make you the a**hole, this makes you the whole a**.

◘ Only communicate with someone to be heard. Throwing out topics off-subject during an argument means you do not want resolution, you want to inflict pain. Surround your life with those who pursue resolution.

◘ You cannot make people do what you want them to do.

◘ Do not apologize for how you feel but always take responsibility for how you act on your feelings.

◘ When conversing, explain how the persons actions make you feel, not what they are doing wrong. Nobody likes to be scolded like a 5 year old. However, most people will adjust their actions if they find those actions are hurting others.

◘ When communicating, avoid using the words, "You always" and "You never". I don't know about you, but who reading knows anyone that consistent?

◘ Give another person the benefit of the doubt. Reiterate ideas and ask questions before you assume you understand intent. Not all of us were made to be prolific communicators, like me ~cough~ whatever ~cough cough~

So, what would you say to your 18 year old self?


Anonymous said...

Love u!!!

Anonymous said...

◘ Don't find Mr. Right, *be* Mrs. Right......

Why do I always hve to be the girl?!

Anonymous said...

as much as i agree with you on the be mrs right sentiment, what if you realize you made a fairly large mistake and can not *be* mrs right? maybe i misunderstand what you mean. if you mean be *his* ideal, definitely beyond my abilities.

what would i tell my 18 year old self?

do NOT marry the first man who pays attention to you.

but if someone had pounded that into my thick skull, i wouldn't have the two gorgeous children that joy-up my life.

the other thing i'd say is "you big doof, you don't have an accounting personality. skip straight to the i.t." oh and
"and while you're at it, lay off the friggin' chocolate/ice cream/cookies!"

but finally, what i'd say to my 18 year old self:

"the lottery numbers are...."

Anonymous said...

I would tell my 18 year old self to enjoy the moments as they come....not to always be in a hurry to get to the next stage, because life goes so much quicker in hindsight. I wish I had really savored certain times in my life more.

Anonymous said...

I would tell her to avoid men until she matured

Anonymous said...

Don't forget gaucho pants...they are of the devil.

I'd tell myself to get to a therapist STAT so I could start calming down enough to learn all this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Blogger deleted my comment. I love it.

First was: Shut up

Second: Don't walk into the church (I will describe in full) in about 12 years because your guitar will get stepped on and ruined. The damage will cause a year's worth of havoc in your life.

And I totally get the Mrs. Right thing. What you mean is the Christian standard God sets for us---love one another---not to become what others want of us to be manipulated. By all means be ourselves, not what someone else thinks we should be. By golly, that bothers people for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Awesome wisdom in this post!

I'd tell my 18-year old self, "Your dad's right. If you keep eating like that you are gonna get fat."

Anonymous said...

I *might* have posted a little something related to this, and *may* have linked to you. Had a little fun with it. ;o)

Anonymous said...

if i can be serious for a minute, there are some great points in there. as always you are clear, and spot on the money. how good would this world be if we could all embody such things.

Anonymous said...

See? Fat Elvis never gets taken seriously....!

Anonymous said...

I don't think my 18-year-old self would listen to my 29-year-old self without a lot of slapping around.

Oh my gosh, that 'Caring For A Baby' thing is hilarious--I'm laughing so hard tears are coming to my eyes! :D

Anonymous said...

I would tell myself: Patience is a virtue. Someone better WILL come along and treat you better.

Anonymous said...

nice. I haven't read this yet but I'm reading "Emotionomics" right now and it references this book I think. So what else is worth reading? By the way, thanks for posting on my site, www.prodigaljohn.com


Anonymous said...

Great list.

I would simply say this...
Don't be in such a hurry to "grow up" , contary to what you think now, you have not done it all and are ready to "settle down".

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