Acceptance

We all want to feel accepted.  It starts from being very young.  If we are lucky, we feel unconditional acceptance from our parents and family.  Some don’t, which is truly unfortunate.  Our parents and family should be our safe haven of acceptance. With those people, we should feel free to be our true selves. There should be no inhibitions, and we should have no fear of judgement.  Unless of course we have done something truly wrong, in which case we should expect a mild case. 🙂

Some people are blessed with true, unconditional confidence in themselves.  This is great.  Though sometimes this comes across as conceit, true confidence is just that – a belief in oneself.  Conceit is a belief that you’re better than everyone else.  Not so good.  Even though I believe that true confidence is a good thing, I don’t believe that it exists unconditionally.  At least not very often.  We all harbour feelings of insecurities, no matter who we are, or how wonderful we are.  I believe this starts as early as preschool.  We venture out of the warm, safe environment that is our home and family, to mingle with a bunch of strangers all day long.  Friendships are formed, animosities are formed as well.  We want to be friends with a person, but they don’t appear to return our feelings, yet we become too insecure to take the first step and start a conversation.  Little Johnny is playing with the blocks and we desperately want to go and play with the blocks too and become friends with little Johnny, but our shyness and fear of rejection stop us.

This only manifests as we continue through school.  Some people grow out of their shyness and gain confidence.  Others continue to be intimidated.  As we become adults, the only thing that changes is the setting.  We go from the playground to the workplace. I still believe though that even the most confident of people still have some self doubt.  It seems to be part of the human makeup.

Social media doesn’t help sometimes either.  The whole terminology of the thing.  On Facebook, we have to request to be friends with someone.  That person has the power to confirm or ignore you as a friend.  Which of course is totally necessary for security reasons, but really, we are brought right back to it again.  We say things on Facebook and hope that we get “likes” from our “friends.” The more likes we get, the cooler we are.  Here we are, wanting approval again from our peers.

Twitter is the same.  Although we should know that our experience and contribution to Twitter is not dependant on how many followers we have, we still get a little jolt in our tummy when you receive the e-mail “So and So is now following you on Twitter.”  And the same when we get retweeted.  It’s a great feeling.  It’s a feeling that something that we wrote was actually read by someone out there and they thought it was important/funny/newsworthy enough to share it with their followers.  It all goes back to acceptance and that deep desire to be part of the “cool crowd.” I have actually met several cool people on Twitter, and have learned that the ones really worth following are not really “cliquish” at all and are quite accepting and willing to interact. It’s easy though for someone that has tens of thousands of followers to say “It really doesn’t matter how many followers you have.” 😉  You can follow me on Twitter here by the way. Just sayin.

I know that I’m generalizing here.  I know that there are people that post stuff on Facebook and really don’t care how many “likes” they get. I know that if I were to post: “Off to my dentists appointment!” I don’t expect 30 people to say they like that. I’m not that insecure.  It does feel good though when I post pictures of my kid and people tell me how cute they think he is.  Even though I’m fully aware of how adorable he is and certainly don’t need confirmation of that. 😉  It does feel good to be retweeted by someone or followed back on Twitter.  Especially if it’s someone that you really respect.  Sometimes though, in life you have to ask for it.  You’d be surprised by the response you might get.

Some people are truly confident.  Some people are scarily insecure.  We all have those feelings of self doubt at times.  What we need to do is nurture those feelings of confidence in other people.  You can imagine how much easier it would be to have faith in yourself if other people did too. It’s unfortunate but true – some people just like putting other people down.  If you look deeply into these peoples heads, you will see that these people who do this are really just so unsure of themselves, that they make themselves feel better by tormenting others and drawing them down.  People with true self worth don’t need to bring other people down.  If anything, they take the time to try to bring people up.

Today, try to be one of those people that brings someone up.  Smile at someone.  Encourage them.  They’ll feel better and you’ll be surprised at how much better you do too.

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Harry Potter vs. Twilight

Spoiler Alert! If for some crazy reason you have not read the books or seen the movies, you might not want to read any further.  Now get out from under your rock and go read them!

So, I have heard so many people making comparisons and drawing parallels between the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series. Having read both series (a few times each) and enjoying both of them immensely, I felt the burning need to compare the two and draw my own parallels and highlight the differences. These compairisons relate to the books only.

First the parallels. Both are series. Both have magical beings and involve keeping the truth about their existence from “normal people” (ie. Humans, muggles)
That’s it. That’s all.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s where the similarities end.

First of all, though I adored Twilight and would recommend it to anyone and will probably read the series through again sometime (or six), overall, I have to say that the Harry Potter series was completely and totally better written than Twilight. Potter was also much better thought out. All you have to do is read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to realize that fact. There was so much throughout the first six books that set the stage for the last book. Rowling took her time. She laid out all seven books and they all connect to each other and they flow so well.

Meyer is a great writer as well, she caused me at the age of 33 to have a slight…okay huge crush on a 17 year old vampire. But I found that the story just sort of flowed through the four books, from beginning to end. There was no looking back while reading Breaking Dawn and realizing that there was a passage in any of the previous books that foreshadowed any event that took place.

I always feel that if a book evokes emotion, it has done its job. Most people on a whole are somewhat visual, therefore crying at the end of a movie is a common thing – especially for me – because we have had the whole story laid at our feet. It didn’t really take any straining to see the story because it was right there. Characters are developed, we see what they look like, how they talk, how they dress, carry themselves, etc. In a book, you must do some of the work yourself. Everything is there for you – if it’s written right – to develop the characters in your mind, and make them your own. If a book is written well enough, it will evoke some kind of emotion within the reader. Any kind of emotion is good.

Both Rowling and Meyer have succeeded in doing this in their novels, though in vastly different ways.

I have experienced so many different types of emotions while reading the Potter series. Between plot and character development, Rowling has made the story come alive through her words. I have never hated a character the way I hate Bellatrix Lestrange. She makes my skin crawl when I read her in the books. Listening to her goad Harry in OOTP in the Ministry scene, imagining her screaming high pitched voice in my head, made me want to reach into the pages and pull her hair out. Rowling also did a great job of this with Delores Umbridge, though for me, not with the intensity that she did with Bellatrix.

When reading a book makes me cry, I feel like the author has done their job. Not that every book I read I want to make me cry, but if it has, I feel like it has made me think, and been descriptive enough for me to know that this was no second rate bit of fiction.

Potter has made me cry. I cried when Dumbledore died. Like really cried. Bawled, in fact. I really didn’t see that one coming. I had to re-read those last few chapters a few times in order to believe that what I read was true.

There were several instances in DH that I let loose. I always loved Hedwig! I know that her death was supposed to symbolize the loss of Harry’s innocence, maybe that’s part of the reason that it affected me so bad. That and how it happened – so quick! Another time where I had to re-read several paragraphs over again until it sank in.

DH was full of tearful moments. Can we say:
Mad Eye
Uh…Dobby!
Fred….sniff!

Mostly though, the final walk that Harry took out to the forest to meet his fate with Voldemort. Passing Hagrid’s hut, all the memories that went through his mind, knowing that he was going into the forest to die. Bawling, bawling, bawling, through the whole chapter. I think the reason for this is just that Rowling had turned Harry into such a monumental character. Reading all the books, you watch him grow, feel like you’re growing with him. You see his goodness, see his insecurities. Relish in his joy, feel his pain. Losing his parents when he was so young, his burning desire to have them back in his life, it was heartbreaking to watch him look into the Mirror of Erised, to see the glimmer of hope after seeing them in the graveyard in GOF, admitting to Ron and Hermione in DH that the hallow of his choice would be the resurrection stone. You just feel so bad as he takes that walk, because you wonder how this could possibly be the end for him, after he has been through so much.

Twilight made me feel like a teenager again reading it. I enjoyed the story – all four books – it made me laugh in some places, especially where Emmett was involved. Made me swoon in others, always where Edward was involved. I know that this story is far from realistic, but the fact that Bella and Edward were absolutely, totally irrevocably in love with each other after such a short time was a bit for me to swallow.

With Twilight I was able to push aside any parts where I felt like rolling my eyes and just allow myself to get lost in the characters and the plot. It’s a sexy series, the whole vampire thing is easy to get caught up in. How the fundamental properties of Edward’s being makes him a deadly predator, yet the way he lives his life – or should I say his existence is in direct contradiction to that. Just because he is technically a monster doesn’t mean he has to be one. It’s all sort of tragic.

Overall, I loved both series, though I loved Harry Potter leaps and bounds more. Everything about it was just better. Even though it was a lot tamer in the love scene department, it doesn’t change the victory dance that I did in HBP when Harry FINALLY realizes his love for Ginny. Now that is fiction. On a whole other level.