Oct. 20th, 2014

flexagon: (racing-turtle)
Riding on a purple train
After snuggling in a silver car
Flashing past grey cemeteries,
Green trees, white graffiti,
On an ice-blue Monday morning
that smells like new crayons.
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
I've been thinking a lot lately about the judgement of emotions, the way different things are hard for different people. Whatever is hard for a person, there's invariably a set of other people saying "pshaw, that's nothing -- the person should be able to deal, or get over it, or listen to reason."

I hesitate to condemn this, overall, because it can be valuable to question reactions. It's especially valuable when people to it for themselves -- why am I reacting so strongly to this? is my reaction appropriate, is it beneficial, is it something I could change or get a different perspective on? And other people can be incredibly helpful in this questioning, as they come up with questions and perspectives that a person never would on their own. (In the 90s I once heard a friend mock America's horror with respect to communism: "oh NO, not another economic system!" and I laughed and it totally blew my mind.)

However. Everyone has things they can change and other things that are a more fundamental part of their nature, that they mess with at their own peril, and it's so hard to know what those are for oneself that it seems near-impossible to know what they are for other people.

I just questioned a financial advisor friend (gently, I hope) on the notion that he should be able to talk every client into an aggressive portfolio distribution; some people truly place a high financial value on non-volatility, and maybe that's okay if they can afford it. We all do a few things that aren't in service of maximum net worth, after all.

And I have a meeting later today where I will try, probably unsuccessfully, to keep someone on my (wider) work team by letting them work from a nonstandard location. The person moved, and found themselves with a commute they consider intolerable -- many others have a similar commute, but they aren't numb and/or crying every night and this person is, so who are we to say they should be able to adapt? We can say it was a foolish move on the person's part, but that does no good -- clearly they didn't know, or assumed their reaction to the commute would be like others'. Sometimes we learn things about ourselves.

With all of this said, there are environments that demand tolerance of certain stressors (I guess ALL environments do, really) and that's fair, too. Submarine crews can't be too claustrophobic, and employees at super-liberal software companies can't be show-stoppingly intolerant of gay people, and urban dwellers would do well to be able to handle some noise. Picking the right environment is a big part of creating a successfully operating life. So this is all difficult to make calls on, and if this rambling post has a point at all, it's this: I wish people would stop acting like it's easy.

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