At the end of every month, I share my favorite comments from that month's posts, and you're invited to do the same and link up below!
There were a lot of great comments this month! It was hard to narrow it down, so this may be a bit longer than usual. As always, I highly recommend clicking back to the original post and joining in the full discussion there!
The responses to Two Sides of the Same Coin were interesting, because the point was "Trust people (women) to make their own decisions" and some people's response was telling me, "You made the right/wrong decision." But a few people really got it.
I've been on both sides of this coin. Sometimes I'm comfortable with things that shock other people, but sometimes I've been the person who is made uncomfortable by something and other people don't understand why. Intuition is a weird thing, but it's worked for me so far. And I agree with you that the rest of us need to stop imposing our own messages on others, before they lose touch with their innate sense of danger entirely. Actually, a man being overprotective of me and not respecting my intuition makes me feel more uncomfortable than, say, walking by myself at night.
Becca had a long but valuable comment, saying in part:
The Gift of Fear is an excellent book. My parents never read it (and it didn't exist yet when I was a kid) but they taught me basically the same thing: My instincts are there to protect me and deserve to be honored.
In my first semester of college I was sexually assaulted by a man I knew and had invited to my room, not knowing that the punch at the party had been so strong that I would pass out. Of course this incident really shook my sense of safety! But I had to admit that the guy's roommate had told me he was a jerk and that my mother (who had met him when visiting a few weeks earlier) had told me she thought he was very creepy, and that I had ignored my own sense because the guy was tutoring me in calculus and I really needed the help. I should have kept him on tutor level and not been so friendly. Lesson learned--but I modified my behavior toward other men only for the rest of that semester before I began to trust my sense again.
Two years later, I moved off-campus to share an apartment with two men who had advertised for a housemate; I got to know them solely by talking on the 30-minute round-trip walk to see the place. It worked out just fine. But I had rejected a couple of apartments that I would have shared with people who seemed "off"--and some of those were women.
Over the years I've seen more and more reasons to trust my instincts (or God's guidance--may be the same thing). For example, my impulse to get off the bus early protected my then-4-year-old and me from direct experience of dangerous chaos related to the G-20 summit, but on the other hand when I let a neighbor I barely knew lure my child and me into his apartment for a strange reason we were completely safe.
Great article! I'm glad you're thinking and writing about this issue.
Then I wrote about when atheists conflate "Christians behaving badly" with "Christianity is stupid" in Mocking the "Sky Fairy," or How Not to Convert Me to Atheism.
Nikkiana shared an example of this:
I think you're spot on with this. It really bothers me when anyone is arrogant and rude when it comes to matters of belief... Doesn't matter if it's an atheist who's calling anyone who believes in a God an idiot or a Christian telling someone of another faith that they're going to go to Hell.
I had a friend who's one of those outspoken atheists who acts like a jerk... and I remember the point where I lost a lot of respect for the guy was one day he started whining to me because he got kicked off of an internet mailing list because he had responded to a woman who was really upset and asked for prayers and thoughts for a family member of hers who had cancer and was pretty close to death and he decided that it was an appropriate time to lecture the woman as to why prayer doesn't work and just couldn't understand why he'd gotten kicked off because she was the one who went off topic. *facepalm*
On the flip side, Melbourne on My Mind explained how she's more likely to get mocked for not believing in God when in the U.S. than in Australia, where she lives:
Maybe it's just my personal experience, but people would be more likely to look at you a little strangely than be openly mocking. Faith here tends to have very little bearing on personal identity - I don't know that I've met anyone outside the US who would introduce themselves and mention in that introduction what their religion was. (You know, the "Hi, I'm Sally, I'm a Christian, I like to play soccer and my favourite TV show is How I Met Your Mother" kind of introduction that you do at the start of a semester?) It's more of a personal thing.
Obviously, there are still obnoxious arseholes, like the guy in the city who yells through a megaphone about how God is going to send us all to Hell for not going to church. But people ignore him rather than getting into arguments with him.
I guess given that we're a young and very multicultural country, we have something of a "Hey, whatever makes you happy" attitude...
I shared a big announcement that I was Starting from Scratch in how I spend my time.
Sarah didn't think she could do the same:
I really admire you for having the guts to quit like that. It's something I've often considered doing in my own job, but as I would have NO way to pay for rent, bills, etc. since I'm not married, it's really not a feasible option to do unless I have another job lined up. But seriously, I think it shows incredibly bravery to do that, so kudos there! I'll be praying that the right thing shows up for you soon. And you're right, you should never have to sacrifice the things that you care about the most for a job, ESPECIALLY if it isn't something that you absolutely love.
Whereas Queen of Carrots' husband has quit his job twice:
I think you're right to leave a place that is making you less able to pursue your calling. DOB has done that twice as the sole income. The first time was actually kind of similar to your story--in that he thought it was going to be a great chance to do the back-office stuff he was better at (financial industry) while the senior partner did the sales. Instead it turned out he was hired to be the punching bag/spy between two ex-friends who now hated each others' guts. The senior partner just plain didn't like to work, so DOB's small percentage kept trailing off, and when he got chewed out for "leaving abruptly" the day I was taken by ambulance for an emergency c-section, he decided to ask for a percentage that matched the work he did, or he'd quit. Senior partner refused and DOB quit--the week our second was born. He did manage, within a couple of months, to find the opportunity that he had thought that was, only this time with someone who would actually pay him AND appreciated his work. (So you are not the only one to complete misread a work situation. And it's a comfort to know he wasn't, either.)
Then a few years later we decided we really wanted to move back to the west coast and pursue law practice--that meant a cross-country move, a bar exam for him and possibly me (I had an inactive license) and a complete change of industries. We considered different possible ways to stagger those, but finally decided to just take the plunge, sell as much as we could, move into my stepmother's basement, and make it work. It did, eventually, though it was definitely a high-cost and high-risk move. But it was the right move for us . . . we don't do things by halves.
Finally, I provided 6 Signs of a Good Counselor after my own positive counseling experience.
Jen concurred that anyone can benefit from counseling:
Well done! A lot of people fear or eschew counseling, because they think "I'm not crazy!" In this post, you clearly show that you can seek counseling for different types of issues, that they don't have to be serious mental health crises. As someone who's dealt with anxiety and depression on and off in her adult life, it's awesome to see such a positive approach to discussing life events with a neutral third party. I too think that counseling could benefit everyone. I'm happy that you found a good fit and that she was able to get to the root of the problem (and how to best help you for the immediate issue) quickly. Even something as "trivial" as voluntary job loss can make us feel a little vulnerable. Good for you for seeing that it would be helpful, not just in the resignation part, but for moving on and finding something else!
Queen of Carrots shared a sign of a not-so-good counselor:
When my husband started looking for a counselor, he did some phone interviews to try to narrow it down. One said, "Well, you're happily married, you have a job, and you own your own house. So why do you need a counselor?" He scratched that one right off the list and found someone that did not assume being a functional adult automatically ruled out mental health issues. :-P
And Sarah had one additional tip:
I think something else that can be very helpful is, if you have the option, trying to find a counselor who shares the same or a similar type of faith to yours. I know a lot of the processing I've done in counseling is specifically related to issues regarding my faith and the negative effects certain situations have had on me. If I was going to a counselor who wasn't a Christian, it's not that they wouldn't be able to help me, but they certainly wouldn't be able to help me in quite the same way that a Christian counselor could.
Thanks for continuing to make this blog a place to have meaningful conversations and a safe space to share experiences. I look forward to kicking off more great discussions in March with tomorrow's post about Catholics, Lent, and not eating meat.