Thursday, March 17, 2005

Just an observation

Poodle got me thinking.

Where does the line between loving someone with your whole heart and becoming a doormat lie? Is the definition purely internal or is there a necessary external measure used? Can someone act and feel the EXACT some way, be a doormat in one situation and not in another? Is it dependent on a second party or not?

Most of the discussion I've heard about love states that real love is when selfishness vanishes. Does that mean that the "self" vanishes as well? I sure hope not because this is antithetical to my personality. Does that mean I'll never really be able to love someone else because I am independent?

I say no.

Love is not love unless the "self" survives. When someone "looses themselves" in love they have not truly attained it, because THEY are not in it anymore...Just a shadow of who they used to be.

It's really simple math.

If you take two separate people, combined them, melt them, join them, erase they old personas to make one entity you have LESS than what you started with.

If you take two separate people, join them but still keep them separate entities you really create 3: one person, one person, and one relationship.

You end up having more than you had to start.

Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Preach on.

brittany said...

being selfless and losing your identity are definitely different.

if you make sure you're with someone who loves you back, you can both be completely selfless wtihout losing your individual personalities and identities.

Oscar said...

Hi, Katie-

I came across your posts in my journey into the blog world, and I have a question for you that might sound a bit strange or contrived, or just plain nosy. From your posts, it seems that you are one of the most well adjusted Mormon women I have ever heard of - you excel in a traditionally male dominated field, you have career goals, but also recognize the value and importance of raising children, you love your family, have a rich social life - in short, you seem to have none of the hang ups that many intelligent (or not so intelligent) female Mormons (or just females) have. Anyway, my question is can you tell me why you think you were able to turn out so well? I'm absolutely serious about this, and really would like to know your secrets or method or whatever it is you do to make your life so fulfilling and sound so (generally) happy with yourself. Thanks.

Maggie said...

I have two issues to comment on.

First, is on Oscar's question. Now, this is coming from her sister, so take it for what it's worth. Why wouldn't she have a completely amazing life? It kinda sounded like you think that the default for a mormon woman is to be totally insecure and have so many doubts about themselves. That may be true for some, I don't know them so I can't comment on that at all. Katie I do know and what I know is great. She is a wonderful person. She is intelligent and WILL be successful at whatever she tries to do in life. This is not because she is destined to succeed, which she may be, I don't know that either. I think it is because she knows how to work at her goals and accomplish them. Plus, she is one of the most thoughtful people I know. Why wouldn't people around her love her completely? The default life Katie will have is success and happiness not incompetence and hangups.

Second, is on your post Katie. I think that you're right. But I think that being selfless is not losing yourself. It is making the conscious choice that bringing happiness to someone you love will ultimately make you happier too. I think you know this because how you live your life. You are a selfless person already, yet you have a strong sense of self. To love is an action not an emotion. You can chose to love or not love someone. Those choices can be hard to make and to stick with, but in the end it is up to you.

As for loving the same way, but with different outcomes, I think that it's more about the dynamics of the situation. In the end you can't really fell the EXACT same about two people. You can however act the same way towards two people and have two different outcomes. One person can take what you do for granted and the other can cherish it. The outcomes of your exact same actions can be different, but you, as a person, and your emotions towards both individuals are miles apart.

Katie said...

Oscar-I was VERY flattered by your comment and have been thinking all day about a response to your question. I don't think I can do it justice in this format. Maybe if I could get your email address I could really feel like I could answer you.

Mags-I don't want to get in an argument, but look at what you said,

"I think that being selfless is not losing yourself. It is making the conscious choice that bringing happiness to someone you love will ultimately make you happier too."

I know what you probably meant to say and I know the gist you were taking. However, you said that the motivation behind being selfless is ultimatly make yourself happy. That doesn't sound very "selfless" to me.

My problem is that a lot of the time people think that being "selfless" is the highest goal to attain. That word and idea have been linked to charity and humility, but I contend that they shouldn't be. To be "selfless" is to have NO concern for self. Taking this to a gospel arena, why would God take the time to know us individually and care for each and every person if we weren't expected to do the same...especially of ourselves? We speak ad nasueam of how every person has divine nature and potential and then laud the concept of selfdeprication? It just doesn't make much sense to me.

howlingman said...

What can a handshake teach us about relationships?

When I introduce myself, I want to be sure I give a good handshake: substantial, like me, not too strong (as if to try to hard or overwhelm), nor too flimsy (like overcooked pasta).

It's the same in romance, in the women I've been interested in - strong, but not overbearing. Not a spineless mess. Generally able to take care of herself, yet one who in my company can let her guard down for a bit, and vice versa.

There needs to be balance, such as, "Yeah, I'm working right now, but I'll enjoy seeing my girlfriend later." And then, parting for the night, "I'll miss her til I see her again, but I'll get some work done before then, too."

Two good halves make one good life.

Plus, part-time independence gives you something to talk about when you are together.

Incidentally, I love when in conversation, one person's talking about himself, and the other one tries to commiserate and the first one says, "You're being so selfish! We were talking about me!"

Oscar said...

Hi, Katie-

I certainly didn't mean to 1)hijack your thread about relationships or 2) imply that somehow you shouldn't be happy because you're an active Mormon woman. The reason I wrote to you is that I'm new to the Mormon blogger websites, and I've been surprised to read so many negative
posts about growing up in the church as a strong, independent female. It was refreshing to come across your website that seemed so upbeat and positive about life, while recognizing that life is not always so easy (enjoyed your post on getting into Stanford- congrats). Anyway, I've thought a lot about gender related issues in the Mormon church, and since I'm planning to have children someday (I'm married), it's nice to see you out there focused on living your life and being happy instead of struggling with so many questions that we really don't have the answer to. I've always been worried that the church would have a negative influence on females in that growing up in the church would discourage them from pursuing other interests rather than family interests, if they aren't naturally inclined to want a family exclusively. I'm probably not making sense, and I don't know you at all, but you're a good example of what I would want my daughter to be like. I know, this sounds weird coming from a complete stranger, but your parents did a great job with you and I wish you the best.

Bryan said...

my two cents:

You cannot sincerely act selflessly until you entirely and completely own your own self. You must own yourself before you can offer yourself.

You cannot fully love another unless you fully love yourself. When you fully love yourself, you don’t need the returned love of the other person who you love. You can offer without asking.

You can only experience being loved by another to the extent that you love yourself.

You can only value the life of another to the extent that you value your own life.

You can only value the happiness of another to the extent that you value your own happiness.

You can love and not be loved in return. This does not diminish the love you give.

You can be loved, and not love in return. This does not diminish the love given you.

I don’t believe love, both to love and to be loved, has anything to do with destiny or fate. I believe it is something we learn.

Finishing with the thesis of Moulin Rouge:
“The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love, and to be loved in return.”