Everyone has potential for personal growth
Around this time last year I wrote my first column. The subject of that column was hardened hearts; hearts that have become numb to the pain of themselves and others. These hearts should inspire sadness in us, but they are also dangerous, and should be handled accordingly. These hearts are all around us. In the strangers on the street, the family in our homes and even inside our own bodies. These hardened hearts can be found to some degree in every person, or in some specific part of their being. I think, though, that one of the most important questions, is how much of this hardness we harbor is visible to our conscious?
I have always fancied myself a very conscious person. I think I understand what goes on with my emotions quite well, so my own hardness is not a big surprise to me. In fact, I remember deciding to create it in myself. This is not a decision I regret — I do almost all I can to not feel regret — but it is a choice with repercussions I must work through.
Being conscious of my hardness allows me to keep it in check. And although emotions can elude me, I often know how I should feel. This gives me a bearing in my search for genuine emotions. For me, what feels dangerous is people who are unaware of their hardness. They go around feeling like perfectly kind people, but they will drop you once you have outlived your usefulness. They call this abuse a lack of "sentiment."
Sentiment is a word used to describe irrational partiality, but there is no such thing as irrational partiality towards other human beings. The world needs more partiality towards other human beings. Many irrational emotions could be thought of as partiality, but these are the realizations of our
own selfish needs and wants, no matter how selfless they may
Caring for other human beings looks different with each person. They each have different needs and wants, as do the people caring for them. Therefore, I do not prescribe any specific way of caring for people. I will say that caring for someone ranges all the way from pursuing them to letting them go, and it should never require us to sacrifice our morals or emotional health. There will be people we must distance ourselves from, both for their or our own well being. But this does not mean that they should become another unknown face on the sidewalk. And this does not mean that this person does not deserve or should not receive our love. All humans should receive our love.
I think Lilo says it well in "Lilo and Stitch." She tells Stitch "If you wanna leave, you can. I'll remember you though, I remember everyone that leaves." This remembering is caring. It does not demand anything from Stitch, or even really from Lilo. But it lets Stitch know he matters. It's not a "Goodbye, peace out. Don't care what happens to you after this point." That's not caring, and someone who does that at the end of a relationship never cared in the first place, because emotions don't just disappear like that.
I started out with my first column last year believing that I had a horribly hardened heart. And parts of my heart are horribly hard. But just like Lilo, I remember everyone that leaves. And many people don't remember, so now I see that I still have something to offer. I want to love and care about others. It is in my nature. I must work to expel the hardness from the parts of my heart where it's spread, but there are still beautiful sanctuaries where this hardness has not taken root. I remind myself, that I have faults, but I also have strengths, and I have something to offer to others.
Daisi Faville is a 2017 graduate of Wilsonville High School.