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Monday, February 6, 2012

Guard Your Dreams and Visions

"We must have ideals and try to live up to them, even if we never quite succeed. Life would be a sorry business without them. With them it's grand and great."
Lucy Maud Montgomery

This was yesterday's quote, and has been on my mind since reading it.

Expectations are unreasonable wishes to my mind. Ideals, on the other hand, are necessary. We can hold ideals, and as Ms. Montgomery says, try to live up to them, but we rarely can live up to them 100%. Or expect anyone else to. And there, as they say, lies the rub.

Take this whole Operation Greg thing. The ideal was to stay on Atkins Induction for 3 months, as I did last time, and drop 50 pounds. As it turned out, that was impossible to keep. I made it one month and am now eating a sensible balanced and healthy way. A part of me is disappointed in myself to not be able to carry through the 3 months, even though I know it was an ideal, not to be expected. There are just too many things that happen in life to rely on- or expect- anything to work out exactly as planned. Any action can have a number of outcomes.

I believe that you never lose if you never give up. And that however many setbacks, changes in plan, changes in realizations you come across, you don't ever have to give up your ideals. Ideals have a bell curve, too. You may not reach the apogee (Hi Pearl!) but chances are you'll fall somewhere along the big portion of success, as long as you don't cave in to hopelessness and give up.

Which is way easier to say than to do. The same setbacks or changes mentioned can undermine your attitude and confidence to hugely damaging effect. Getting into a bad, hopeless and negative thoughtstream will drown you. It's much easier to give up, to cast blame and act out and justify your laziness. It's easier to not examine ourselves, our motives, our choices. And it's a sure way to be a loser and a cynic, if that's what your aim was. Life ain't easy.

Perhaps that's why I like and have kept the Catholic church's conviction that hopelessness is a Mortal Sin. It does kill your spirit, that elusive thing that is the wellspring of hopes and ideals.

And perhaps that's where the constructs of sin are based. The things that can trip you up and pull you down, ruin your happiness, that must be fought off. Of course, it's simpler to blame them on a Tempter, and every religion has at least one. But the real deal is that we all have a Tempter inside us, and it's how we keep it at bay that matters.

So guard your dreams and visions. Respect them, and you're respecting yourself. They are the most valuable things you can ever own. Only you can take them away from yourself.


Anonymous said...

If at first you don't succeed try, try again? Sometimes it seems way easier to just give up but, if you do, you will always wonder what would have happened if you just tried one more time. I didn't know it was a Catholic belief that hopelessness was a mortal sin. Interesting.

CarrieBoo said...

An insightful post. That's a good point that expectations and ideals are two different things. I have given up expecting things generally. (Expect the unexpected?) That does seem to help equalize life's scenarios. And realizing that all "bad" spells come to an end, like S.A.D. When you're younger, you can't see an end in sight. But with age you learn that everything comes in phases and everything needs to die to bloom again. This seems to help with the hope factor.

However, I do expect leftover chili on the table tonight! (We made it again.) :)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You've made an interesting distinction between expectations and goals. I, however, expect to attain my goals. Doesn't mean I DO, but I keep the bar high. (That way, I can wimp out and crawl under the damned thing if I have to.) Don't feel bad about abandoning that diet. In my mind, well-balanced in moderation beats the crap out of gorging yourself with all those fats and proteins.

Austan said...

Lawless- Hooray I can comment again! That's a good point. What might have been is a lousy ghost to live with. So yeah, preventing regret should be in there.

Carrie- All true. The only constant is change. Things tend to have their own cycles and the only thing we can control is our own part, whatever it is.
Yum! Chili!! (I so love that you use that recipe).

Susan- What I wanna know is why is moderation such a tsuris to master? And how come it takes so long to get to know yourself?