Quotes Challenge #3

For the last day of this challenge, I have three quotes (because three is my favorite number).

Writing is the incurable itch that possesses many.

—Juvenal

I forget where I saw this one, but it’s been one of my favorite quotes for a while now. Not much needs to be said about it; if you’re a writer, you can’t not be a writer. You always have the urge to write inside of you, and you get irritated if for some reason, you can’t write. (And ironically, when you do get the chance to write, you make every excuse in the world not to write. One time, I cleaned the vacuum cleaner’s brushroll when I could’ve been writing.)

Be who you are.

—variously attributed

Sounds like a no-brainer (it also sounds like an advertising slogan), but it’s difficult. Some people tend to camouflage themselves so they blend in with the milieu wherever they go, and no one ever sees their “real” personality–the one they show to their most intimate friends. And then you  have those effortless people whose large personalities never change, no matter who they’re with or what they’re doing or where they are.

Hell is empty. And all the devils are here.

—William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Especially relevant in an age when crazy politicians (and they’re getting crazier and crazier) are attempting to take over the United States, but I jest. But in another sense, the quote is almost literally true in the way that I see hell: separation from God. I imagine that it would be the worst kind of emptiness. As for all the devils being on earth, it sometimes seems that way, but I’m sure there are legions more devils in hell, just as there are legions of angels in heaven.

My last three nominees for the challenge…

Quotes Challenge #2

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Feelings are strange things. You ought to be able to trust your feelings, but too often, your feelings can land you in moral muddles that are hard to get out of or even rationalize to yourself. I suppose a cognitive distortion is a type of negative feeling, a kind of anger at oneself: Everything I do is wrong. Everyone is better than/works harder than me. I should be a better person.

I suffer from cognitive distortions frequently, and I have to tell myself that they are like bad dreams: they seem very real, but when closely examined, they are patently untrue and even somewhat childish. So, as you would ignore the bad dream and refuse to let it seep into and pollute your waking moments, you would not give consent to that cognitive distortion.

That’s what Eleanor Roosevelt acknowledges in her quote: that you need to give consent to cognitive distortions such as feelings of inferiority, pulls toward perfectionism, and beliefs that you must always make everybody happy. If you don’t consent to believe in these feelings, then they hold no power over you.

It sounds like it’s so easy, like something from a fairy tale: Tell yourself it’s a bad dream and it’ll all go away. The reality is that these feelings are not dispelled so easily. That’s how powerful a cognitive distortion is and how strong its grip on you may be. The truth is that you have to work hard at getting rid of them. You have to step back and examine them in the raw light of logic so you can see that they are not true and that there is no reason to give your consent to allow them to make you feel bad.

Today’s nominations for the Quotes Challenge:

Quotes Challenge #1

I have been tagged to complete the quotes challenge! Thank you to At Milliways with a Pen for tagging me. So the rules are as follows:

  • Post on three consecutive days.
  • Post one to three quotes per day.
  • Challenge three different bloggers each day.

I can tell you right now that I’m going to break the first rule because I don’t post on consecutive days, but anyway, I’ll complete the challenge here and in my next two posts. Here’s my first quote:

Intellect is not wisdom.

—Thomas Sowell, American economist

Short and sweet, but it says so much. They often say that children have wisdom. They know what truly matters in life: family, fun, love, excitement, seeing old things in new ways. They have yet to get bogged down in taxes, work, the fear of death, and all the other mundane stuff that comes with adulthood. But you can’t call a child an intellectual. Yes, there is the occasional child prodigy, but here I’m talking about your average child.

There’s also the kind of wisdom that comes with experience (not necessarily age). These kind of wise people may not have gone to college, they may have only worked in blue-collar jobs, and they may not have traveled outside of their home state. But they know what life is all about. They’ve been there and done it, and they tend to get passed over and looked down on because they can’t speak and write as coherently as everyone else.

But intellect is another beast. The first thing I thought of when I saw the word “intellect” was the stereotypical college professor, with a PhD in some obscure branch of the humanities, holed up in his ivory tower, writing the next great tome that would be incomprehensible to the average reader. This guy’s chock-full of intellect, but he might not have a shred of wisdom. He gained all his learning from books and none from the real world. People tend to believe and agree with what they hear from this person because he’s gone to school and he knows a lot of facts, but wisdom is using those facts with prudence and common sense. Intellect might involve so many convolutions of logic that the humanity gets lost.

However, it is possible to have both intellect and wisdom, but those people are rare. (I also checked Google, which lists wisdom as a synonym for intellect, but when I checked my hard copy thesaurus, the two were not listed as synonyms for each other. Strange.)

My three nominees for today are…

If you don’t want to participate in the challenge, you certainly don’t have to. Or if you want to pass your nomination to someone else, that’s OK, too.