Posts Tagged With: comparisons

Day 3530: Keeping Up

I’m having trouble keeping up with many things these days, including

  • changes in technology,
  • the news, and
  • responding to all the wonderful people who engage with me through social media (here and on Twitter).

Let’s see if I’m keeping up with the latest definition of “keeping up.”

Keeping up with the first definition and with my role as a psychotherapist, I keep telling people not to keep comparing themselves with others, because that keeps them feeling bad about themselves. If you want to keep up with definitions of comparisons and other cognitive distortions (which I keep calling “automatic and unhelpful thoughts), I’m keeping those definitions here.

I’m keeping up with blogging every day by sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and the photos and other captured images I’m keeping up on my phone (which may explain why my phone is slowing down and having trouble keeping up with me these days) (but that’s not keeping me up at night).

Do you see keeping up in my images for today?

Today I’ll be keeping up with the National Days by seeking out my favorite flavor of ice cream, Rocky Road. Keeping up with National Leave the Office Early Day is challenging, since Thursdays I work late until 8, but I’m working from home (which I keep doing, except for Mondays, when I’m keeping up with work at the hospital).

Keeping up with the theme of irresistible dance music, here’s “Everybody Walk the Dinosaur” by Was (Not Was).

If you comment below, I’ll try keeping up with you by answering as soon as I can.

I’m keeping up with my tradition of taking photos of thank you’s so I can express my gratitude every day for all those who are keeping up with me, including YOU.

Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 3277: What I’ve been writing

What I’ve been writing includes several new songs, like “Spoiler Alert” and “Forgettable.” What I’ve been writing for song lyrics over the years usually reflects my optimistic nature; however, these are the darker words I’ve been writing this morning:

I’m Afraid to Look

I’m afraid to look at the ocean for fear that it’s dying

I’m afraid to look at the earth but I can’t look away.

I’m afraid to look at myself in the mirror

And afraid to look at my friends for what their faces might say.

© Ann Koplow, 2021

Perhaps what I’ve been writing for that song is influenced by the darkness of the winter solstice and by what others are writing about the future.

What I’ve been writing also includes these Tweets:

What I’m writing could never compare to the stories people are discussing on that Twitter thread about stories they liked when they were kids. But as I’ve written on this blog many times, comparisons are the most toxic of all the cognitive distortions (which I’ve written about, here).

What I’m writing, here and now, is this blog post, so it’s time to share my latest photos.

What the Daily Bitch is writing there reminds me of the series “Landscapers,” which has some of the best writing for any television show I’ve seen.

A search for “What I’ve been writing” on YouTube yields this TED talk about reading and writing.

I hope that what you’ve been writing includes a comment, below. And whether it does or doesn’t, many thanks for all who read what I’ve been writing, including YOU!

Categories: climate change, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 3076: Walking the walk

Before I began walking my walk yesterday, I tweeted this:

Why did I post that I was better at walking and talking than I was at tweeting? I was doing the familiar and unhelpful cognitive distortion of comparisons — feeling “less than” because everyone I looked at on Twitter was getting way more likes and replies than I was.

Usually I tweet just for fun, not caring about numbers; yesterday, I got caught up in comparisons and felt worse and worse. I kept tweeting, hoping I would get more responses. I didn’t. I knew I would feel better if I stopped tweeting and started walking, but I didn’t, for TWO HOURS on a BEAUTIFUL day.

This reminded me of a therapy session earlier when somebody was talking about the difficulty of breaking old patterns of taking risks with money. This person was stuck in those behaviors and in unhelpful comparisons, too, which we talked about.

I broke my own comparison/tweeting cycle by posting the tweet above, putting on my shoes, and walking the walk.

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After watching that duck swimming the swim, I tweeted this tweet:

Eventually, I stopped walking and saw impressive evidence of Michael decking the deck:

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I messaged this message to my friend Jenn, who loves pugs …

… and enjoyed eating the eats.

I prepared for blogging the blog by capturing all these other images:

As usual, the Daily Bitch is bitching the bitch.

Here’s what was playing when I was walking the walk by the sea:

I can’t believe there are only 106 likes on YouTube for that amazing performance of the wonderful “Sea Journey” by the late, great Chick Corea, who always walked the walk. Here he is walking his fingers all over the keyboards with his Elektric Band in “Side Walk”:

Who wants to comment the comment?

Thanks to all who help me walk the walk, talk the talk, tweet the tweet, and blog the blog, including YOU!

Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2355: How To Make Yourself Miserable

How to make yourself miserable?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Hold on to resentments.
  • Expect people to change for you.
  • Notice the negatives.
  • Compare yourself to other people.
  • Avoid awareness of the current moment.
  • Anticipate the worst.
  • Live in the past.
  • Stubbornly resist inevitable changes.
  • Stay in upsetting situations.
  • Hang around with critical people.
  • Beat yourself up about mistakes.
  • Say “yes’ to everything.
  • Say “no” to everything.
  • Squelch your creativity.
  • Let your fears control you.
  • Cultivate your distrust of the unknown (especially other people).
  • Stay small so you won’t “bother” others.
  • Avoid things that might make you happy.
  • Decide you’re too old to learn.
  • Decide you’re too young or inexperienced to know enough.
  • Be so invested in a particular outcome that you don’t have a Plan B.
  • Focus on should’s rather than could’s.
  • Do not indulge in hope because you might get disappointed.
  • Do not read the hilarious and helpful book “How to Make Yourself Miserable” by Dan Greenburg with Marcia Jacobs.

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I hope none of my other photos make you miserable, here and now.

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Here‘s 7 Ways to Maximize Misery:

Here‘s Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now by The Smiths.

Heaven knows I’m not miserable now that I’ve written today’s daily blog.  Thanks to all who helped me create this post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 1865: Abilities

Yesterday, in a therapy session, somebody was talking about her learning disability.   This disability — and  other people’s inability to recognize her strengths when she was younger — has resulted in her disability to see herself as smart enough.  Like most people, she has the ability to compare herself to other people and judge herself “less than.” Because of my ability as a therapist, I invited this person to  look at her ability to learn, understand, and do many things.

Because of my ability for falling on the sidewalk last week and injuring my dominant arm, I am now dealing with (I hope!) temporary disability.  This disability is interfering with my ability to

  • open doors,
  • reach for anything above my waist,
  • wave hello or goodbye, and
  • write on the whiteboard during group therapy sessions.

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However, this disability is not interfering in my ability to blog, read, sing, walk, talk, smile, laugh, or listen.

As always, it helps to refocus on abilities.

Orthopedics had no ability to schedule an appointment for me until Friday, so I was not able to get more information about my disability yesterday.  However, I was able  to keep an appointment yesterday with an eye doctor. On the way to that appointment, I saw somebody who had the ability to wear a great hat.

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Then, he had the ability to put that hat on my head and take these three photos:

Honestly, I wouldn’t have had the ability to put that hat on my  head without some assistance.

I did have the ability to take one more photo yesterday, in a co-worker’s office.

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That cautious co-worker and I have the ability to perform a new version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” at a Social Worker party on Friday.   I had the ability to write new words to that song and I have the ability to blog about that, too.

I also have the ability to find, on YouTube, this previous performance of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” at a social worker party three years ago:

 

I believe I now have the ability to sing that song with more confidence.

I know you have the ability to leave a comment and I have the ability to thank all who helped me create today’s post.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1530: Obscure Sorrows

Earlier this year, I wrote a post referring to John Koenig‘s Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which is “a compendium of invented words” “to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.”

Yesterday, in my therapy group  (where  I’m always on the lookout for obscure sorrows and other feelings), one of the members brought in three entries from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

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While some things in those photos might be obscure, people in the group last night noticed that two of those obscure words were real and only one — Altschmerz — really belongs in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. People did not obscure their appreciation for the relevancy of the real word Weltschmerz:

Weltschmerz is the depressing feeling you get when comparing the actual state of the world to the picture in your head of how the world should be, and knowing that the picture in your head can never exist.

We also discussed the obscure sorrows created by the cognitive distortion of comparisons, especially when we compare ourselves to how we used to be or how we think we should be.

Do you see any obscure sorrows in some recent pictures in my head (and in my iPhone) that can exist in this blog?

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I feel self-compassion as I admit that I sometimes obscure sorrows with lots of pictures.

Here‘s John Koenig giving the TED talk “The conquest of new words” (which was in an link obscured in the first paragraph of this Obscure Sorrows post):

Are there any obscure sorrows or other feelings you’d like to share in a comment, below?

I will not obscure my thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — no matter what obscure feelings or thoughts you’re having, here and now.

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1515: Jealousy

Jealousy is one of those “negative” human emotions  which can make people uncomfortable.

Yesterday, the members of my therapy group discussed jealousy  without judgment. Any jealousy about that?

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I doubt there’s any jealousy about my handwriting and drawing abilities. This is what I wrote, yesterday, about jealousy:

  1. Jealousy is a human emotion. I am afraid of other people’s jealousy — I’m afraid the feeling is going to hurt me. But other people’s feelings and thoughts cannot hurt me.
  2. What makes jealousy worse for you? Lack of self-care. Cognitive distortions. Fear. $ Money.
  3. What helps you deal with jealousy? Self care. Recognizing it’s just a feeling. Leaning back and letting jealousy go by me without hurting me.

What are your thoughts and feelings about jealousy?

Do you have jealousy about any of my other photos from yesterday?

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Comparisons — the thief of joy — can often lead to jealousy.

Any jealousy about my having a wonderful son, who is turning 19 today and whose YouTube video has  90,000 views this morning?

Any jealousy about all the gratitude I have for everyone who helped me create this post and — of course! — for you?

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Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 1437: More comparisons

Earlier this year, two days before I tried out for the TV show The Voice, I wrote a post titled “Comparisons.” Because comparisons are a cognitive distortion that can lead to envy, dissatisfaction, low esteem, disappointment, and misery, I hesitate to compare today’s post with the one I wrote before.

Since I’ve been back at work after my two-month medical leave, several people I’ve seen in therapy  sessions have presented as unhappy due to comparisons with other people.  Indeed, yesterday I circled “comparisons” on the list of cognitive distortions displayed on the wall of my office, because that particular cognitive distortion seems incomparably toxic.

Here’s a definition of the cognitive distortion of comparisons:

Comparisons.
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.

I don’t want to compare myself to other people, but I’m wondering whether others ever make the kinds of comparisons I’ve been making lately.  These comparisons have included:

  • comparisons to people who are healthier,
  • comparisons to other blogs with higher readership,
  • comparisons to when I was younger,
  • comparisons to when I was thinner,
  • comparisons to those who have more endurance,
  • comparisons to people who live in better climates,
  • comparisons to how I felt before I had my latest surgery,
  • comparisons to the time before the U.S. presidential election, and
  • comparisons to others who work in my field.

As always, I might think these comparisons help motivate me, but they usually make me feel worse.

To help  myself feel  comparatively better, I’m going to invite comparisons among the photos I took yesterday.

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Please leave  presents of comments here, below.

And feel free to make comparisons between  two  music videos (here and here on YouTube) inspired by “Dance Yourself Silly” above.

 

To all who helped me create today’s post about comparisons and — of course! — to my incomparable readers, I express comparable gratitude:

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Categories: personal growth, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 995: You remind me of _________

Do people ever tell you that you remind them of somebody else?

Does my question remind you of how it feels when you’re told who you remind people of?

I’m reminding myself, now, that people have told me I remind them of:

Apparently, I remind people of many other people. Most recently, somebody in one of my therapy groups said I reminded her of Loretta LaRoche.

Loretta LaRoche DOES remind me of me, in this way:  Neither of us have our own Wikipedia page.

Here’s a YouTube video of Loretta LaRoche reminding us of stress and humor:

I don’t really remind me of Loretta LaRoche or any of the other people I remind others of, except for the important reality that we’re all human beings and therefore connected and similar in many ways.

I do often remind me (and other people) of the importance of watching out for the negative effects of comparisons. (I’ll remind you, now, there’s a list describing comparisons and other cognitive distortions.)

At the same time, it’s human and expected that we’ll remind each other of other people. I think that’s a good thing and when that inevitably happens, I remind myself to take those reminders as compliments.

Do people tell you that you remind them of other people?  Who are those people?

What do these images — all of which I was reminded to take yesterday — remind you of?

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This all reminds me that I’m quickly approaching my 1000th consecutive daily post. That reminds me of how illuminating, helpful, and healing my blogging reminders have been for me, every day since January 1, 2013.

You, my readers, constantly remind me of how grateful I am for everything that’s happened here over the last 995 days.

Now I’m reminded to thank Loretta LaRoche and everybody else — especially you! — who remind me to keep going — with humor, authenticity, and persistence — as best I can.

(Do I need to remind you that all your thoughts and feelings about today’s reminding post are welcome?)

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 603: What I missed

Last night, I missed a segment of the Emmy awards on TV. After I turned off the TV to spend some time with my son, Aaron, and my boyfriend, Michael,  a comedian I admire, Louis C.K., won an Emmy for best comedy writing.

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I found the photo, above, through Google images (which tells me it resides here) and chose it because I think it relates to my post, yesterday.

I found out, after the awards show was over, that Louis C.K., in his acceptance speech, had thanked another comedian I admire, Ron Lynch …

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… who has made multiple recent appearances in this here blog ( here, here, here, here, and here).

I was very glad to find out, through Ron’s Facebook Page,  that he had gotten that recognition last night. At the same time, I had this familiar and uncomfortable thought:

I missed out.

I had missed out on the chance to experience, with my son,  Louis C.K. giving credit to Ron.

Last night, as I tried to find out what exactly Louis C.K. had said about Ron, I kept thinking about What Might Have Been. I kept imagining what fun Aaron and I might have had, if we had heard that speech as it was happening.

Those thoughts didn’t feel great, I must say.  And these days, whenever I’m feeling that kind of psychological discomfort, I check out some usual suspects: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s line-up of cognitive distortions.

I shall now consult my handy-dandy list of cognitive distortions, to see who the culprits might have been.

Hmmm. It looks like I was experiencing more than one cognitive distortion last night, including:

Negative filtering (also known as “Disqualifying the positive”).
This is when we focus on the negative, and filter out all positive aspects of a situation.

Comparisons. 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. (Or, in this case, we compare reality to what we think would have been better.)

Shoulds. We have ironclad rules about the behaviors of ourselves and other people.  For example, “I really should exercise. I shouldn’t be so lazy.” (In this case, “I shouldn’t have turned off the TV.”)

Yep.  Those kinds of thoughts didn’t help, at all.

As I’m writing this, I’m still wondering what Louis C.K. said about Ron. There was no video of that missed moment available last night, but I wonder if that’s changed, this morning.

Aha! Here it is, on YouTube:

Wow!  In case you can’t watch that, Louis gave Ron credit for giving him his first shot as a comedian.

My association with that, in the moment, is a kind of cognitive distortion, too, namely …

Personalization

… because I can now imagine my son making a similar speech in the future (if he pursues comedy as a career).

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(this photo first appeared here, last week) 

Minds are funny things, aren’t they?  They wander everywhere: into the future, into the past, into What Might Have Been, etc.

Last night, when I was thinking about  “What I missed,”  I had some trouble sleeping, so I wrote the following, in preparation for today’s blog post:

The reality is that no matter what we’re doing, experiencing, paying attention to, focusing on … we have to be missing something. There’s just too much going on, out there, to take it all in.

Yes, it’s a given that we will miss things, even if we try our best not to.

And I don’t want to miss expressing this:  the things we miss aren’t actually more important than the things we catch (even though they can feel that way).

Does it help to acknowledge important things you’ve missed out on?

I actually don’t know if this is going to help, but I would like to list some things I’ve missed out on, in my life.

Here we go …

  1. A “normal” childhood.
  2. A magna cum laude, which I deserved, from my undergraduate university (a story which I will tell, in some future post).

Hmmm. That’s a pretty short list I just put together, there.

That actually surprises me, because I’m sure there are lots of misses missing from that list. For example,  I didn’t include “a boyfriend during junior high and/or high school” in that list of misses.

Actually, I could even remove #1 from that list because, really … WHO has a normal childhood?  What the hell IS a normal childhood? Coming up with a definition for THAT would be hit-or-miss. And pretty meaningless.

So I’m going to rewrite that list, like so:

Things I’ve Missed

  1. Louis C.K.’s acceptance speech at the 2014 Emmys, which included a shout-out to Ron Lynch and
  2. a Magna Cum Laude, which I deserved, from my undergraduate college.

Actually, now that I think of it … what good would that Magna Cum Laude have done me?  It probably would NOT have changed a thing.  Who cares? It’s not like that’s something I would carry around in my wallet or put on my mantle piece. And even if I did, who would want to see it?

Okay, so now the list is …

Things I’ve Missed

  1. Louis C.K.’s acceptance speech at the 2014 Emmy’s which included a shout-out to Ron Lynch.

And I can probably watch that speech on YouTube, within the next couple of days.

Looks like at least one of my thoughts, last night, was correct.

Anything else I’ve missed, in this post?  Well, if I were paying attention to what I wrote here, the answer might be:

Of course I missed something, but that’s okay.

And I still have time, before I publish this, to include something that feels “missing” to me: a new photo I’ve taken recently. Let’s see if I have anything on my iPhone that applies to today’s topic.

Hmmm. I’m not sure. But here are some new photos I’ve taken since I’ve returned home to Boston, after five fun-filled days at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe:

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Does it seem like I’m missing anything?

Thanks to Aaron, Michael, Louis C.K., Ron Lynch, and you — of course! — for everything you missed AND everything you got here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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