You want the castle? First, you have to swim the moat and run the gauntlet.

What is guilty pleasure? Why should we feel guilty for pleasuring ourselves (in a various G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17 kind of way)? Why do we have to constantly be doing something? Why feel guilty when we take some time off, or worse, guilty when we verbalize our inner monologue, and ask or say something which is deemed by society as “inappropriate” or “disrespectful”? For a minor example, have you ever taken any Cosmo, or BuzzFeed quiz’s? I’ve included a link to “Which 2015 Oscar Nominee Are You” at the bottom. Take it after you’re done reading this; I don’t want to lose you to BuzzFeed. That website (and reddit) can take away 2-3 hours of your day. Easy. Anyway, one frequently asked question within these types of quizzes is, “What would your friends say is your best personal attribute?” I don’t know about you and your friends, but I have never once turned to my friend at a restaurant and asked, “What do you like most about me?” Does that seem vain, shallow, and pseudo-compliment-fishing to you? Unless you’re a certified narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath, you’d probably say, “yes, it does.” But at your lowest of moments and in need of a confidence boost, wouldn’t it be great to ask?

While perusing reddit.com, I came across a post where friends (after a few beers) started a game. They were in the privacy of their car (why drinking in a car? sounds stupid to me) and the rules were as follows: you had to tell every single person, in a blunt way, what you hated most about them. Spare no emotions or words. Your turn ended by telling everybody what you hate most about yourself. Nobody was allowed to argue, talk back, or make excuses. You shut up and you take it. After everybody has their turn, and comes back to the first person, it starts over again. Only this time, they said what you loved most about that person. Again, sparing no emotions or words. Being blunt is normally considered a detriment, but in the 2nd round, it seems it can be quite the quality. I suggested this exercise to a friend. She thought it was ridiculous and terrifying. I agree to both, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial than detrimental? Change is slow, but necessary and painful. Not that growing pains is necessary, but mostly unavoidable. To evolve and take the next step, In order to maintain a healthy forest, it needs to burn. In order to raise a building, you have to raze the condemned, existing structure. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for a sociological experiment.

I tell you these two stories to tell you this: If all I’ve done is put forth effort into various relationships with others, and not seeing them put forth the same effort, then it becomes very unbalanced. Bitterness swells and respect (AKA love) shrinks. I’ve felt as if I’ve called, emailed, traveled, invested money and spent time on various relationships, both professional and personal. And for what? What is the benefit?

With professional relationships, it seems as if there’s no room for pathos or ethos in the daily rhetoric; just the logos, ma’am. Professional relationships should be based with the same goals in mind: working towards bettering the company, making money, and benefiting our world (maybe the last one seems a bit hippie-dippie, but for the sake of corporate image, we’ll stick with it). Our ability to feel and care about others’ feelings should be left in the parking garage with our sentimentality. Feelings cloud judgment, and too many people are counting on clear judgment and sound decisions. However, we are not Vulcan; we cannot bury our emotions below years of psychological evolution, even if it is what some would desire. This can lead to some, at best, very awkward behaviors, and at most, detrimental outcomes. Ever heard the phrase, “don’t shit where you eat”? Bluntness for the win!

With personal relationships, there is room for it all. Is some unwritten rule stating there should be no exclusions? Probably. We don’t want to miss a single thing about the person we know and love. True friends will listen, hear, speak, see, and help you process all. If you edit yourself in front of someone, you’re not being “true to yourself.” Not being true to yourself means short-changing the person beside you, trying to do all for and with you. Personal relationships are built on shared experiences, which leads to trusting one another, then building to love/respect. It seems very simple. 1+2=3. You can’t skip out on 1 or 2 and expect 3 to magically appear.

If people in your professional relationships can quarterly evaluate your attributes and show you areas of improvements, then why can’t people in your personal relationships do the same, utilizing as much diplomacy as they can? This evolves relationships, fosters growth starting from the ground up, and works toward a common goal.

Speaking of psychological evolution, I read an article a while back posted on psychologytoday.com, where one study showed thousands (to hundreds) of years ago, being excluded from a tribe, community, or family would have had severe psychological and physiological repercussions. This makes sense as this was how many organizations kept people in line. If you were too…. something, then you were forced to face the world by yourself. You would have to hunt and gather on your own. You were forced out of someones will and had to provide for yourself. However, with communities and family structures evolving and changing, being forced out of a community means finding one on your own. A simple internet search brings one right to others like themselves, thousands of miles away. *UN acknowledges internet access a basic human right.*  Being related by blood isn’t so important anymore. Bonding is psychological, not biological. Again, 1+2=3.

Full disclosure: I’ve never seen a Panda Bear or Polar Bear in real life. I’ve never experienced racism. However, just because I don’t see it on a (either regular or irregular basis) doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We can’t collectively put our heads up our asses in hopes the scenery will change, especially if you’re already in a shitty situation. Pun fully intended.

So to boil down the very basis of this post: Are there any benefits to asking your family and friends, “What have you done for me these past few days, weeks, months, years?” “What do you love and hate most about me?” “Why are you and I friends/family?” YES. YES. YES. You don’t want certain people in your life? That’s totally fine. You should make room for people you WANT in your life. So what if you can’t choose your family members? You can choose your friends. Friends and family should be reminded of that regularly. All relationships are a choice. Someone just can’t say, “Well, I’m your mother,” or “Well, I’m your sister,” and expect the unspoken guilt trip to take hold. “You have to do whatever I want in order for me to remain in your life because where would you be without me?”

“Well, sister, better off. That’s where I’d be.”

Don’t take your family members for granted, because you are totally replaceable. We haven’t evolved past the need for human intimacy, but we’ve evolved past the need of nuclear family. Do not ever think your blood ties are strong enough to make membership of the tribe permanent. You need to work for the relationship, family or not.

Now I’m off to waste 2 hours of my life on BuzzFeed. Guilt be gone!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/perpetua/which-2015-academy-award-nominee-are-you#.ssnn0kl9V

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