Peel and Stick

A label is an act of definition. Definition is a point of reference. Reference points are how you navigate.

THIS DOES NOT WORK IN REVERSE.

You would think this would be self evident, but it isn’t.

Just last week, I was considering taking a job that I knew with every fiber of my being I did not want to do. But I was considering it anyway.

Why?

Because it looked like the smart and responsible thing to do.

And I wanted to feel smart and responsible.

When you explain it that way, it looks dumb. Darwinisticly dumb, even.

And yet, it makes a weird kind of sense.

We might think of it as affirming our aspirations. “Be the change you want to see…” and all that.

But we miss one crucial detail:

Agency

Acting happy makes you feel happy. Doing things you think will make you happy do not.

It’s a subtle difference, and language doesn’t really support the distinction, but doing things so that you will feel a certain way is largely ineffective and will make you feel like shit. Ask anyone who’s ever been in a relationship in the hopes that it will make them feel better about themselves. It’s never gonna happen.

You have to feel that way before you can feel that way. Yes, it’s all very annoying and Buddhist.

At the very least, you won’t waste your time on actions an achievements that are supposed to make you feel a certain way– but actually leave you feeling hollow and cold.

I’ll let you know when I figure out the other half.

[ssbp]

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