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In mining a person stakes a claim to a plot of land, registers it with the mining office and then mines it. What they find is theirs. In relationships some people do the same thing. The jealous boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse, the micro-managing boss, or the needy friend all stake their claim to you. You become entrapped in their claim and your life is no longer your own. You are doing what they want you to do how they want you to do it. It is absurd and maddening.
But there is another sort of claim made upon us that is harder to figure out. For example, this morning I heard a report about a woman who was complaining about her company because her boss made her wear high heels to work. She wore flats one day and got in trouble because the dress code called for heels. Is it an ‘absurd, maddening claim’ or is it a reasonable one?
Which is Which?
I work at Fleet Feet as a coach. They want me to wear their products when I am coaching, not the products from other stores. That is a fair claim upon my employment. However, if Fleet Feet required that I wear only short sleeve shirts when I run, even if it is freezing outside, that would be absurd and maddening, as well as dangerous.
The same is true of the woman in heels. If she works for a company manufacturing or selling high heeled shoes then requiring her to wear them would not be absurd. If she works for a company where everyone wears a uniform and that uniform includes heels for women then it might be ok or not, depending on how necessary the heels are, how harmful they may be to wear over long periods of time, etc. But if they are simply wanting her to wear them for no other reason but that some guy at the top thinks women look better in heels than in flats, that would be absurd and maddening. It is also sexist.
How do you fight it? The number one thing is stand firm from the very beginning of the relationship or job. That way you become known as someone who everyone else knows will resist allowing absurd and maddening claims to be laid upon you. Two caveats though; First, remember, not all claims upon you are absurd or maddening and second, if you are too serious or angry about it all the time then you will be seen as contentious and hard to get along with, even by those who agree with you. Having a sense of humor and a light touch in what you say and do can go a long way to both appealing to those who are claiming you and resisting them at the same time.
Then you will be a success on your own terms.
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Christopher Morley, 1890 – 1957, American writer and journalist. “There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it.”
|You know someone who would like this on a coffee cup. You should get it for them.
Obviously we know how this quote relates to religion, in particular Christianity. But it also relates to anyone who bullies another into silence in an argument. Being able to win an argument, something many people think is of paramount virtue, is not really winning if all you actually do is cause the other person to be silent.
When I was married to my first wife I didn’t realize how intimidating and overpowering my way of communicating was. I was from a loud, expressive and quick witted family, and didn’t have any experience to tell me there was anything negative about that. But my wife didn’t come from that same background. Her family’s way was soft, non-confrontational, non-argumentative. I liked that about her and I was under the impression that our marriage was successful because we didn’t argue like my parents had.
But I was mistaken. The reason we didn’t argue was because my wife was intimidated. I wasn’t a belligerent, abusive man. But I could be loud and defensive and I could argue until the cows came home. Combine that with her quiet style and other elements of her personality and upbringing and what actually happened was she simply became silent. Not converted, just silent. I wasn’t always like that, I have many cards still stashed away from her telling me how much she appreciated my listening and caring. But the truth is it doesn’t take much to intimidate, less than we are even aware of at times.
20 years after we got married we got divorced, in large part due to her having built up many, many years of silent resentment and regret. I know I have many of those same traits, and I am not apologizing for who I am but I have worked to be more discerning of when to be those things and when not to.
The goal for any of us who are like that is to have more control and more wisdom in knowing when we are trying to ‘convert’ rather than ‘converse’.
Drawing by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily
Quote by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957, American Writer
A vintage napkin drawn for my daughters in 2000.
The second half of the quote is ‘because it demands so much attention’. Want to be less lonely? Go do something that REALLY requires your attention, your FULL attention and effort. Throw in other people for good measure.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily
Quote by Christopher Morley, 1890-1957, American author. This quote is sometimes misattributed to Robert Morley the actor.
Today is geography Saturday! People from the following cities visited The Napkin Dad Daily in the last 30 days.
Match the city with the country. Not for me, not for a prize. Just for fun and knowledge.
A vintage napkin from 2000, back when all of my daughter’s were still in middle and high school. I made 3 versions of this napkin and put it in their lunches. I don’t think I gave them spaghetti for lunch.
Drawing © Marty Coleman
“No person is lonely while eating spaghetti.” – Christopher Morley, 1890- 1957, American writer