Day 312: Exceptions

When I started this blog, at the beginning of this year, I set a structure for it, as expressed in my About page:

This blog is part of my creative process.

It’s also a way to work on my  growing acceptance and appreciation of life, and to share and develop some of the wisdom I’ve been slowly accumulating. My commitment is to start on January 1, 2013 and to blog once daily, throughout 2013.

So I made a commitment to blog once daily.

A commitment  I have kept, all year.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I decided to blog twice, because I wanted to send out a targeted message — a message to people who receive emails whenever I publish.

You see, I recently started sending myself email messages of my own posts. As a result, after I published yesterday’s post — which had some cool video clips of dances —  I got some important, new information. The emailed version of that post, which I received, did not include any of those videos.

So I was presented with a problem. And when my mind perceives a problem, it really goes to town!  Here are some of the thoughts I had:

Hmm.  The email I received had no video clips.  That’s too bad!  I assume that other people who get emails of my posts didn’t get those clips, either. I really like those clips.  Maybe other people wouldn’t like them, though!  Maybe people get annoyed when I include video clips!  Who wants to play a video clip when they’re reading a blog?  I do, dammit!  And I at least want to give people the choice to play those clips if they want to. I wonder if people who get the emailed posts know that they can easily go to WordPress and see the entire post, just by clicking on the name of the post?  Geesh!  What should I do about this? People who get emailed posts are only a portion of my reading audience.  Shall I send them each an email?  Nahhh. That would take too long. Hey!  Why don’t I just send out another post?  That’s not the best way to reach a portion of an audience — because there are lots of people it won’t apply to — but why not?  What’s the worst that could happen?  The people who it doesn’t apply to can just ignore it. Maybe it will confuse some people, but so what? Of course, I’ll be blogging twice, and I committed to blogging once. Arrghhh!

I tell you, my mind is one scary place to visit sometimes.  All those thoughts!  All that back-and-forth action, about one simple, relatively unimportant issue.

Although, in defense of me, some of that frenzied thought action was due to this:  Commitments ARE very important to me. I like to stick to commitments. I think it’s an excellent way to live.

But it’s also important to prioritize and let go of perfectionism, when it comes to commitments.  While I try very hard to keep ALL commitments and promises, that’s pretty darn impossible, isn’t it?  Some commitments are definitely more important than others.

For example, it’s okay to break a social commitment, every once in a while, to take care of myself. Yes, it is.

Ann!  Are you listening?

(That’s something I have trouble remembering.)

Some might say that breaking commitments is a “slippery slope.”  That is, once you start going back on promises, you’ll end up breaking lots of them.

To me, right now, that sounds like All-or-Nothing thinking. And Labeling, too. (See here for a list of those and other cognitive distortions.)   That is, either I have to be 100% about commitments or … I’ll turn into a  Dirty, Rotten Promise-Breaker.

I’m not a Promise-Breaker, people!  I can declare that now, even though I “broke” a commitment yesterday.


Yesterday, after I had all those thoughts, in italics above, about that Momentous Breach of Commitment, I had this, more helpful thought:

If I make an exception and post twice, that will be a great opportunity to write about the helpful side of exceptions.

Exceptions are an important concept in Narrative Therapy (which I’ve written about previously this year — like here —  because it’s one of my favorite ways of working with people).

Here’s what Narrative Therapy says about Exceptions:

  1. People tend to tell certain types of stories about themselves.
  2. Some of those stories are “stuck”, unhelpful, negative, and limiting.
  3. Whenever people tell negative stories about themselves, they are ignoring exceptions to that fixed story.

So, when people tell me stories about how incompetent, inadequate, lazy, worthless, etc. they are, I pull for the exceptions to those stories. I ask questions,  to invite the times, the actions, the moments that don’t fit those negative self-judgments.

And those exceptions are ALWAYS there.  Always.

Sometimes, it takes some digging, to discover them.


But there’s no better buried treasure, I believe.

Now that I’ve inserted an image in this post, let’s see what Google Images has for us, today, regarding “exceptions”.

Here we go!


Thanks to James Thurber, SQL Soldier (for the buried treasure image), exception-makers,  kind commitment-breakers, and to you, especially, for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Day 312: Exceptions

  1. Debbie Terman

    I don’t see these “two postings” as an exception at all! When someone commits to “blog once daily” or “exercise 30 minutes daily” or “eat 5 servings of veggies daily” in 2013, the message that I hear is this: “I will not drop this project before the end of 2013. I will do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t just fade away in March or June or October or any time before December 31. I will keep going for 365 days.”

    *Not* posting on a day would be an exception. Sending out a second post to explain a fix to a technical problem is not an exception. I am one of those email readers who let out an audible “Ohhhhhh” when your explanation appeared yesterday. I did not think, “she’s broken her promise”. I thought, “how nice that she is guiding me to fix this mysterious problem.” More like a newspaper “Extra” edition, or a magazine’s Commemorative Issue about the Royal Wedding. It’s a bonus, not a failing.

  2. Pingback: Day 529: Closer (with feeling) | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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