It’s strange how the best blog post ideas always come to me when I’m supposed to be studying for a midterm that is just a few short hours away (oh wait, no it isn’t). Maybe I’ve said this before, but a lot of my blog post ideas are actually inspired by class discussions. Since I attend a small, private university most of my classes are heavily based on in class discussions which, for someone with severe public speaking anxiety (okay maybe not that severe) can be a little disheartening. Yet, I must admit, the heavy emphasis on discussion has definitely inspired more critical thinking than the majority of my lecture based classes (though I much prefer quietly listening while taking color coordinated notes).
Yesterday in my Historiography class (You know, the history of how we study history), we discussed with holding moral judgement when examining events of the past. The goal of the historian should be to seek understanding, rather than to dole out divine judgement. One quote in an article we were examining stuck out to me, the author stated that “Historians are often forgiving sins by understanding why they happen”. In this particular incident the example we used was “Bloody Mary”, some argued that a good historian would understand Queen Mary, her life and the historical context so well that rather than saying “Wow Mary was horrible she persecuted protestants” a historian would argue “Of course she persecuted Protestants, and here’s why…” That’s not to say said historian should then set out on a crusade to fulfill Mary’s persecution, but rather should be able to provide a contextual account.
Persecution aside, the message of using understanding and empathy to forgive sins stood out to me in a broader sense. I’ve always been a very self aware person, which I think stems from my tendency to overanalyze and social anxiety (two qualities that go hand in hand I presume). I think the ability to empathize and understand why people do what they do is both a blessing and a curse. I’m a sucker for brokenness. I can see my own shortcomings, the ways I’m “damaged”, my faults and insecurities, and while I try not to let them become excuses for less than stellar actions and decisions it has caused me to reconcile the flaws of others.
When I first meet someone, and decide they’re interesting enough to be my friend, the wheels in my head start turning. I subconsciously but quite literally start looking for their brokenness, not to expose it, but to understand why they operate the way they do. On one hand, this sort of weird psychoanalysis tactic has caused me to forgive pretty much anyone for pretty much anything, but, I wonder if this is always a healthy habit. I’ve actually ruled out people as friends simply because they don’t seem messed up enough (not normal). It’s all subconscious of course, but I’m drawn to people who I sense some sort of unresolved emotional disturbance. Maybe I missed my career calling as a psychologist?
I know everyone is “broken”, and “emotionally disturbed”. Everyone has something wrong with them, some people are just better at hiding it, or coping emotionally than others. However in my very conscious effort to stop “bleaching red flags white” (a bad habit I have when it comes to dating and making friends that consequently leads to a lot of “should have seen that coming” moments). I mean, I’ve literally had multiple guys introduce themselves as sociopaths, as like a pick up line (BUT SERIOUSLY WHO SAYS THAT?!) and I’ve been the girl that’s like “You’re a sociopath, oh really, prove it?!”
Where do you draw the line when it comes to reconciliation? Personally I make it a goal to always forgive (after all, everyone makes mistakes) but I don’t think reconciliation, or continuing to allow everyone and anyone in your life is necessarily always the best option. A friend from high school always used to say “There are always reasons, but never excuses“, I like that perspective.
Excuse my deep thoughts for a Friday morning, you can always tell when I’ve been throwing back iced mochas like they’re water #Midterms.