I’m glad I’ve chosen this for the Topic Du Jour, because I think I’m going to find this helpful (and maybe even fun!) to write about.
For one thing, I like thinking about the generalized version of this subject heading, which I’ve been using lately as a remedy or antidote, when I start to lapse into self-judgment:
It’s good enough already AND I can make it better.
What I like about this handy-dandy, helpful phrase is that it allows me to feel acceptance of where I am (regarding my learning curve at work, relationships, my abilities as a mother, where I live, a group I’m doing, etc.), despite my constant awareness of all the things I don’t know and could improve upon.
So that phrase definitely helps me.
It’s helping me right now!
Starting and writing this blog is a good example of how that phrase can help me hold (and honor) two things which may seem mutually exclusive: (1) acceptance of where I am and (2) my inherently lively self-judgmental voice, which wants me to do better (but which, in its zealousness, can make me feel worse).
At this point, I’d like to fill you in on some details about The Birth of This Blog. In December, after spending several months writing, more prolifically than I expected, chapters for a possible book (or two), I decided that it might be a good time to also start a blog. I had never written a blog before, but I liked the idea of another outlet for writing — and a way of writing that would be much more interactive than writing a book on my own. I also saw starting a blog as a way to support a current quest of mine: to let go of judgment (and to help others do the same). And the title of the blog came to me: The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally. I loved the idea of committing to that for the coming year, recognizing that Non-Judgment is a goal that I would never completely and consistently attain, but which striving toward could be very helpful. (I’m thinking about Calculus, which I actually hated in school, but which — if my memory serves me correctly — is all about approaching and getting closer to a point without actually ever reaching it.)
I wasn’t sure how often I would write in this blog, and I wasn’t sure when I would start it. The two possibilities for starting were: January 1, 2013, and February 2, 2013, which would be my 60th birthday. So, in December, I started a quick and dirty research of How To Blog, using my usual learning technique of asking people what they knew and what they would advise. A couple of people suggested WordPress as the site. And then I did a quick crash course, for myself, of how to get started blogging on WordPress. I spent a few hours looking at possible formats (called “themes” here), saw the “Adventure Journal” theme and loved the idea of this coming year as an adventure. (I also looked at the suggested photographs for the Adventure Journal and LOVED the picture of that camel, looking at the pyramids — a place I’ve always wanted to go, and haven’t been to yet.)
So, late in December, I decided upon the theme and felt like I knew enough to Take The Plunge. And I began writing this blog on January 1, 2013.
Now, I am 27 days into this journey, and have actually posted each day. I have also had a chance to look at other WordPress blogs.
So, right on schedule, I am having thoughts that fit into the Cognitive Distortion of ….
Here is the definition of Comparisons, from a hand-out I use at work on Cognitive Distortions/Unhelpful Thoughts:
We compare ourselves to others, with ourselves coming out short. For example, “I’m not as smart (or good, competent, good-looking, lovable, etc.) as that other person.” Or, we compare ourselves to how we think we should be, or how we’ve been before. We might think that comparisons help motivate us, but they usually make us feel worse.
So, yes, I am now reading other blog posts here, where I really enjoy the cleanness and simplicity of the posting themes. And lately, I have been comparing, to my disadvantage, the way my blog looks. My blog has an appearance chosen by a newbie, overwhelmed by all the choices here, who fell in love with the words “Adventure Journal” and a picture of an inscrutable camel staring at the pyramids.
Okay, if you’re interested in more details about the negative thoughts have come up for me lately about this blog — thoughts also heavily laden with the previously blogged-upon cognitive distortions of Mind-Reading and Should’s– feel free to dive into this italicized Pool of Judgment:
I don’t like the sans-serif type font that my blog theme uses. And I can’t seem to change it! When I used to work in marketing and advertising, I was a fanatic about using serif fonts in every piece of marketing literature I helped create –since studies showed that serif fonts were easier to read. Why did I choose this theme without more care about the type font that was available? People are probably having trouble reading this with that lousy type font. They’re also probably getting annoyed with the “gimmicks” of my posts! It’s bad enough I’ve chosen my own gimmicks — using the term “dear reader” and my tendency to Capitalize Important Concepts (which drives my son crazy) — but at least THOSE I CAN CHANGE IF I CHOOSE. What about those gimmicks I can’t control because it’s part of the Adventure Journal Theme ? Those ripped slips of paper that serve as my replies to comments, and so on! I bet those gimmicks are driving people crazy, and maybe even preventing some people from reading this blog! What was I thinking, choosing such a busy theme? Why didn’t I take more time to look at other people’s blogs, which look so modern, so clean, so easy to read?
Phew. I don’t know how that was to read, but — as always — it helps me to write down those dang judgmental thoughts — getting them out of my head.
I repeat, Phew!
I’m also noticing the focus on appearance — how this blog looks — in that pool of judgment. So I’m remembering, right now, times I’ve made other judgmental comparisons about appearances. That is, I’m remembering some painful times where I’ve compared how I look to a more popular ideal.
Hmmmm. That’s interesting.
So what I would like to do right now is to make some choices. I’m reaffirming my acceptance of appearances (mine and my blog) and hoping that people can get past any flaws –that I might see or fear — to the beauty they may be able to find for themselves.
Wow! I actually didn’t know this post was going to go THERE, dear reader.
Before I end this surprising post, I want to say a few more things: There are some important lessons for me learn about being a blogger, including how to refer to other posts I’ve written, in a way that meets Blog Etiquette. (I have googled that concept of Blog Etiquette, but I’m still confused and relatively clueless about rules and execution of same.) I would also like to learn how to list, on each blog post, the other blogs I’m following here, in order to share the wealth I’m experiencing as a reader.
But I’m reminding myself, right now, that I have time to learn what I need to, and I am happy — in the moment, now that I’ve written this post — with exactly where I am on the blogging journey. Because it’s good enough AND I can make it better.
Thanks for participating on this day of this adventure with me, dear reader.