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August 03, 2010

Comments

Nurit Weizman

I also like Eric Hutchinson, Koni! There are some songs that I feel aren't so appropriate (like if I understood Outside Villanova correctly..). But I did discover him when I was beginning my general movement towards modesty and still listen to songs of his I think are more classy. This process towards cleaner music reflects a switch in my mentality.

Society today often encourages us to mainly identify and empower ourselves via the way we feel, making it difficult to refine our behavior. This is because if the feelings driving those behaviors are always subject to change (and therefore our behaviors), then so are our identities--something that makes us feel very lost. My religion, Judaism, instead advocates empowerment via the actual overcoming of certain feelings in order to do what is right, which is a concept that I love. This allows us to evaluate our lives by our effort and refining of behavior. And contrary to popular belief, our personalities still remain throughout this growing process--they're what make every individual's process extremely unique and special.

Judaism also believes that in growing spiritually, your feelings and thoughts will naturally change too. So it was great to find that in refining my behavior, my thoughts and feelings about certain things, like music, changed as well. Music that reflects my growth and character refinement is very dear to my heart. Once I thought I would never be able to separate from certain genres of music, but I guess...my feelings have changed!

Koni

Nurit ~ I completely understand. I am Catholic and I have a BA in theology.We also believe in overcoming our quote unquote "immediate" (i can't think of the right word to put there..perhaps impulse?) selves to become better more true people. I mean if people lived by whatever popped into thier brains, the world would be pretty messed up.

Oh and you mentioned "Outside Villanova"..That is one of the reasons i bought the cd (before I listened to it) because I went to college literally outside Villanova.like 30 minutes down route 30 from it.

Melissa May

Nurit and Koni,

This is a little off subject to the actual post, but in response to your comments. I completely agree that it's a shame that our culture focuses so much on feelings and not on behavior. I had that hang-up for many years and eventually came to the conclusion that the first thing I needed to do if I wanted to see permanent change in my life, was to start changing my behavior. As a Christian, I looked to the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, for guidance and direction about what kind of changes I needed to make. It's always important to have a guidepost with which to compare, and provide a goal to strive for, I think.

My husband once said something to me that I've never forgotten: "Obedience first, then comes understanding". I believe he borrowed it from a speaker he once heard. The point is that we are responsible to do what we know is right whether we feel it or not. And once we start behaving differently it's very likely that our understanding of the situation and ourselves will change as well in the process. You don't get new perspective by doing the same old thing over and over again.

This line of thinking has been very useful to me in overcoming the postpartum depression I suffered after I had my second child almost two years ago. I became so ill that even though I've lived symptom free for most of the last two years, I've held on to the fear that it could happen again. I've allowed that fear to affect my decision making and have let it hold me back from walking boldly back into life.

I finally said to myself recently that if I want to feel differently about this situation, I need to start acting differently! I need to do the things I would do if I wasn't afraid, and in doing so there is very good chance the fear will abate. But if I continue to be afraid and hold myself back, the fear will continue to be a part of my life. I won't get the feelings I desire if I simply sit around waiting for my feelings to change.

Unfortunately, the message we send to children and young people today seems to be one of just embracing your feelings, and how those feelings are valid and important. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but when the message stops there all, it will simply lead to stunted emotional growth. The next step is to realize that we do have control of our feelings and that the best way to change negative ones is to stop obeying them. Choose to DO what it right and appropriate, make it a habit and your feelings will follow.

Nurit Weizman

Melissa, thank you so much for sharing that. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for you during that time and now, in striving to live everyday to it's fullest and not in fear. We are here for you! Just as your encouraging words and posts have been here for us.

"The next step is to realize that we do have control of our feelings and that the best way to change negative ones is to stop obeying them."

I really love how you wrote this. We do not have to obey our negative feelings because deep down, they are not our essence. Instead, we must always strive to make choices that are in line with our souls--and loving and treating ourselves gently and patiently is the only soulful way to do so.

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