Print Story It's Lent.
Religion & Philosophy
By ana (Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:42:46 AM EST) Lent (all tags)
I find it useful to have a period of self-examination, trying to figure out where to go from wherever it is I find that I am.

In my neighborhood of Christendom, it's common to "give something up for Lent." My life is already pretty empty, and lots of things people talk about giving up aren't really part of my normal day to day routine.

But I do have bad habits, and perhaps this is a good time to interrupt some of them, just to see what life would be like, without them.

So the other night (I believe it might have been Ash Wednesday, even), I found myself telling Herring and notafurry on IRC that I was giving up gloom for Lent. I've gotten into the habit of expecting to feel awful, and sometimes it's a self-fulfilling expectation.

Some years ago, I bought a hat. It has a wide brim, and it's slightly too large around the circumference. The hat vendor tucked some bits of felt into the hat band, which helps, but as time goes by the felt compresses and the hat band stretches a bit.

It turns out if I smile, my forehead wrinkles, which increases the circumference of my head. So I learned to smile on windy days, to counteract the aerodynamical lift of the wind on the hat brim.

And whaddya know... smiling and pretending to be happy actually made me feel better for realz. Whodathunk.

And yeah, I know that it's important to feel what I'm feeling, not to deny it or push it under the rug someplace. So I'm sure there'll be sad moments. But they can come and go, without leaving behind a nostalgia for the way things used to hurt.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

So far, at least.

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It's Lent. | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
You know, I'm an Anglican by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 10:52:26 AM EST
And we had Lent, but we never really gave things up for it. Maybe that was more my mum than the church though.

A friend would give up violin practice for Lent, which may not exactly be the idea either.

Iambic Web Certified

Ob. by Herring (4.00 / 2) #2 Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 11:40:19 AM EST
Fake it till you make it.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Giving up by LoppEar (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 12:34:55 PM EST
As a kid, I remember giving up country music for Lent. My parents were pretty happy to get to listen to classical in the car again. But it's a good example that for me Lent has generally been about habit-changing rather than simply sacrifice.

No longer in any corner of Christendom, but I too find the period of self-reflection (and vague group solidarity in simultaneity) helpful. This year I've given up Facebook and Reddit as sources of distraction. Lent happily coincides with the start of a new job where I could use to lose the habit of distracting myself; I'm not deleting my FB account or anything, just removing it as a place I go for distraction.

Giving up gloom is wonderful, I like your hat-smile story. In college I realized I was walking around without smiling, all the time, I'd frown at people. Sometimes smirk. So I actively made myself smile for a few weeks, smile when I walk, smile when I look at other people. It stuck, now I always have a goofy giant grin in pictures etc. But it also made me a much happier person. I always remember "fake it till you make it", though there must be a more uplifting phrase for "happiness really works this way, perceive things as happy and you will be happy".

Giving things up by iGrrrl (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 04:25:47 PM EST
I gave up anger for Lent one year, and it was probably one of the things that saved me in $evil_project.

And there is research to back up the idea that if you smile, your mood improves. Giving up gloom sounds like a good idea.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

Good example. by ana (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 04:33:29 PM EST
It was in part because you did that (giving up anger) that I thought perhaps I could do this (giving up gloom).

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Smile... by iGrrrl (4.00 / 2) #6 Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 05:44:50 PM EST
... and behind your closed door, stand like Superman for half a minute, every day. Merely standing in a commanding stance increases confidence. So be confident you can give up gloom!

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
Yes! by clock (4.00 / 1) #7 Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:40:31 PM EST
Just before I go into an ugly meeting I stand up perfectly straight and take a deep breath. When I walk though the door I imagine I'm taking the bridge of a starship or entering the room as superman. Does wonders!

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
And some enlisted person... by ana (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 10:04:33 PM EST
says "Captain on the bridge."

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
One of my team members did that once by notafurry (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 10:21:31 PM EST
.... but we don't speak of these things.

[ Parent ]
It's Lent. | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)