Abnegation…hard to pronounce, even harder to live by

The Divergent Faction Challenge: Week One (Abnegation)

So.  A week of abnegation.  (For those who wonder what the hell I’m talking about, check out my post from Tuesday, or go to Deb Driza’s site for more information.)

First of all, according to the Divergent fansite, this is what Veronica says about the Abnegation faction:

ABNEGATION:

1. to refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, etc.); reject; renounce.

2. to relinquish; give up

I like the verbs in that one: refuse, deny, reject, renounce–active forms of stripping things from your life. As opposed to relinquish, give up– more passive. (from Veronica Roths Site)

What Veronica says about Abnegation in Divergent

  • Wear Grey Uniforms
  • Known for Selflessness
  • Grey clothes, plain hairstyle, and unassuming demeanor are supposed to make it easier for them to forget themselves
  • Families move in harmony
  • Houses are all made of Grey cement, few windows in economical no nonsense rectangles. Lawns are crabgrass and mailboxes are dull metal.
  • Everything in Abnegation is meant to make them forget themselves and protect themselves and protect them from vanity, greed, and envy. If they have little and want for little and are equal, they envy no one.
  • Fulfilled need for selfless leaders in government.

Okay, so that doesn’t exactly describe  me.  (Although I do have the crabgrass and dull metal mailbox…does that count?)

The first thing I realized in this exercise is that very little is totally selfless. I clean up the kitchen? It’s because I hate seeing the house so dirty. I offer to put the kids to bed so the Husband can work? I cherish the few minutes at the end of the night that they tell me about their days and hug me tight. I don’t put on any makeup and rush off to drop kids at school looking like death warmed over? Well, it’s too bad but I was in a rush and anyway, who really cares?

So what is truly selfless?  Anything?  And perhaps most importantly, does it matter?

I ultimately decided that results and outcomes matter more than motivation.  After all, if you heart is pure and your motive honest but you wind up doing harm what the heck is the use? So I focused on outcomes…I tried hard to make Small Daughter and Large Son smile, to make the house a pleasant place to be, to say yes to people when I kind of wanted to say no. And that felt pretty good.  So maybe denying oneself isn’t really the name of the game…I wonder what Tris would say…

(Better read Divergent and see!)

8 comments to Abnegation…hard to pronounce, even harder to live by

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