Another week, another installment of Melanie’s Share Your World!
Do you think a person’s name influences the person they become?
“What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” so Shakespeare wrote in his most famous play Romeo and Juliet.
Depends on the name. Some people have really strange names that their parents have tortured them with. When I lived in Brazil, there was a comedy duo that had a contest for the most interesting or bizarre name which viewers were invited to participate in. And my husband told me one of his students was named “Lufthansa” – her mother went into labor on a flight home from Germany!
Even unusual names probably have a minimal effect on a person, except as conversation starters! My son’s name is long and rather unique, and he has told me it’s often an opener for conversation – a good thing, since he doesn’t always do well in starting conversations.
But some names do affect a person because their parents were trying to be cute or funny – but not so funny for the kid! I heard of a man who went by his initials W.B. followed by his surname. No one questioned it until he went into the army, where they insisted he reveal his full name! In embarrassment, he said his initials stood for “Welcome Baby” because his parents had finally had a child after a prolonged period of not being able to produce one! The army, after hearing this story, allowed him to use his initials thereafter! (Note: This may be an “urban legend” but it’s an interesting anecdote of how a name can affect a person’s life.)
Why do we dream?
It is our brain’s way of relaxing. Everything gets jumbled…the brain doesn’t have to think to put it together in an organized way. Bits of past experience make their appearance in dreams. Sometimes dreams are really creative – when I took a writing course once, every night I had incredible, fantastic dreams that I remembered. At least one I turned into a short story, somewhat surreal, but that’s what dreams are like. Nowadays I almost always dream either about teaching or traveling or both, and usually I make some major mistake. I think my anxiety about being good at teaching is coming out in my dreams, even though I have been retired for five and a half years!
Does hardship make a person stronger? (example: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger)
I think it does to a certain extent. Certainly learning to deal with adversity does make a person more capable of handling various situations or knowing how to act in an emergency. It may make them more confident if they have been successful in enduring the hardships. People who have never suffered adversity or never learned to overcome it go through life, I think, feeling insecure and afraid to accept risks or challenges. They tend to resist change. People who are poor are more likely to be generous with what they do have than rich people, because the poor know how to live in society with very little money. Rich people are constantly worried about losing their money, and would have no idea how to survive without much income.
On the other hand, hardship can cause insecurity, anxiety and conditions such as PTSD, especially if the person has not learned how to deal with such challenges on his or her own. A child who has been abused, for example, must learn to overcome the trauma it caused in order to face the problems life throws at them. Some never really learn to cope. People who have been in war zones come home oftentimes with PTSD and may show a dramatic change in their behavior, including anxiety, paranoia, intolerance of loud noises, etc.
So it depends, perhaps, on what sort of hardship the person endures and probably when that occurs, as well as inherent personality traits a person has to be able to cope with life’s challenges.
Why do we judge ourselves by our intentions, but judge others by their actions?
Self-preservation? Lack of empathy? We tend to think our intentions are good, but since we can’t read other people’s minds, we judge them based on what their outward motivations seem to be.
For example, the attack on the Capitol a week ago: on the news media, the people who were incited by Trump to storm the Capitol are called “terrorists” yet they don’t think of themselves as terrorists. At least some of them believed they had good intentions: Trump had convinced them that the election was stolen by the Democrats, that it was rigged. So they saw themselves as a self-styled militia bent on righting a wrong. I know that for many of them who are hard-core white supremacists, the chance to be a militia and wreak havoc through violence was the aim. But there were many others who thought of it as a kind of “revolution” – they were doing what had to be done to get our country back on the right path.
I use the attack on Congress as an example of intentions vs. actions and I am not condoning what they did in any way. From their actions, to outsiders they appeared to be just a brainwashed horde, even ready to hang Pence and kill Pelosi. But they THEMSELVES didn’t see it that way – at least many of them didn’t. They were brainwashed, yes; they were gullible, yes; still, Trump bears the ultimate responsibility for unleashing their worst instincts. They themselves thought they were being the ultimate patriots, that cheating had gone too far and they had to take matters into their own hands. They may have compared themselves to the insurrectionists of the French Revolution, or some other modern-day revolution in which the citizenry felt it necessary to do more than merely protest. There have been many arrests, but there were a lot of people there that didn’t do any damage or even get into the building.. They were, like sheep, following their leaders (both Trump and the leaders of the insurrection) instead of questioning whether it was the right thing to do.
GRATITUDE SECTION (Always Optional)
Feel free to share some gratitude in the form of images, photos or writing. Thanks!
I am grateful that some people still write letters. Isn’t it nice to receive a note or a holiday card from a friend instead of just bills and junk mail? The cousins on my dad’s side of the family started a custom many years ago, called “Round Robin.” They each write a letter with news and opinions about their lives, and mail it, along with the latest ones received from their sisters, to the next person, who then takes out her last letter and writes a new one. When my siblings and I found out about it, we wanted to join too, so we have been engaging in this Round Robin custom along with our cousins. I always look forward to receiving the latest batch – and yesterday I received it!