Posts Tagged With: Jackie Chan

Day 1951: Vivian

Vivian is a social work intern who makes me smile, especially when she shows me photos like this:

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Yesterday, Vivian and I  made each other cry because it was her last day at work.  Soon, as a new graduate,  she’ll be off on her own road trip to Chicago.

In the final Friday therapy group she facilitated with me, we discussed goodbyes and helpful phrases like “The pain of a loss is a direct reflection of the importance of the connection” and “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Vivian, who is a very gifted student, shared many gifts yesterday.

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In honor of the many  things Vivian and I shared this year,  here‘s Jackie Chan singing “Believe in Yourself.”

I hope Vivian believes in herself,  as many of us in her community believe in her.

Vivian let me know she appreciates my gratitude. I am very grateful for Vivian, Jackie Chan, Nikita Gill, A. A. Milne, Rupi Kaur, healing groups and communities, and — of course! — YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1745: Chaos

When I scan the news headlines this morning, I keep noticing the word “chaos.”

Some people thrive on chaos. Most people don’t.

How does chaos affect you? Does it scare you?

Should I apologize for the chaos in this random collection of photos?


Time flies when you’re having fun, said somebody sometime. Do you have time for some musical chaos?

Even in the midst of chaos, I give thanks to all who help me create some order out of chaos by blogging and — of course! — to you.

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1656: Holding on

I’m holding on to many things as we pack up to move, including

  • my sense of humor,
  • things I find valuable,
  • my job,
  • creatures I love,
  • my thoughts,
  • my feelings,
  • my sanity, and
  • my iPhone, so I can be put on hold and also take pictures of my holdings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Before I started writing today’s blog post, I got a little ferklempt at the end of this excerpt from last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Show (which is holding on here at YouTube):

 

As always, I’m holding on to gratitude for all those who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — for you, who keep me holding on.

 

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1652: Here and now, there and then

Here and now, we’re getting ready to move, so I’m unearthing many memories from there and then.

There and then, I’ve created my own t-shirts.

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The first t-shirt I ever created, there and then, had the Chinese name for Jackie Chan (“become the dragon”). There and then I loved that t-shirt, especially because I was born in the Year of the Dragon.

Here and now are more memories from there and then.

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I hope it’s okay, here and now, that I include three musical numbers from there and then (here, here, here and now on YouTube).

In the words of Pat Metheny, “We Live Here.”  Together.

As always, I express thanks to those who helped me create this then-and-there, here-and-now post and to you — of course! — for being here, now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 1519: The Oscars

I watched the Oscars yesterday.

I also watched Oscar yesterday.

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Oscar watched the Oscars, Harley, and me.

I also watched all these things yesterday:

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Do any of those pictures deserve Oscars?

Jackie Chan got an Oscar!  Here he is, singing a song:

I would give everybody Oscars, including you for being here, now.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 48 Comments

Day 496: Fun with Phobias (Part III*)

Several months ago, I wrote two posts about phobias (here and here), which I defined like so:

…  personal, inexplicable, exaggerated, and illogical fears I’m feeling …. in the present.

When I thought of “Fun with Phobias” in February, I knew it was a personal blogging goldmine (or “cash cow,” as people say in the marketing biz). That is, this was a topic I could use repeatedly, getting new value from it with minimal effort.

And yet, while I returned to that blogging golden cow the very next day, I have not used it since.

In the therapy biz, here’s a question people often ask:

Why now?

That is, why am I returning to this topic, on this particular day, after a hiatus of many months? As usual, I have a multi-part answer:

  • A friend recently used the word “fearless” to describe me. I took issue with that label, and we discussed how I (and he, too) actually do this:

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  • I have lots of seemingly unrelated photos I want to show you, and — since I am capable of feeling fear about almost everything — this topic should provide an easy way to introduce whatever-the-hell pictures I want.
  • It’s Mother’s Day, and Mom-o-phobia is something some people may have felt or experienced, at least for moments (although I’m not experiencing that now, in any way).

While I could, at this point, indulge in some Intro-Blog-o-Phobia (the fear of writing a not-good-enough beginning for a post) … instead, let’s proceed to phobias with photos.

Okay!

1.  Miss-o-Phobia.

The fear of missing things — including people, experiences, and objects (in the past, present, and future).

For example, I saw this penguin, a week or so ago:

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Then, a few days ago, I took another picture at the same location, to show how a tree there had blossomed:

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And, while I noticed changes to the tree … what did I totally miss?  Changes to the penguin.

Eeeeek!

These days, I might also experience Miss-o-Phobia about:

  • Co-workers.
  • The groups and individuals I do psychotherapy with (when my health is better).
  • My mother.
  • My father.
  • Anything or anybody not in my immediate vicinity, at the present moment.

Eeeeek!

2.  Ticket-o-Phobia.

Two meanings: (a) the fear of forgetting, losing, or otherwise not-having-on-hand a necessary ticket (for a trip or an event) and (b) the fear of getting a parking ticket.

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Note: The latter manifestation of this phobia is often co-morbid* with Quarterlessness-o-phobia, the fear of not having the correct change.

Eeeek!

3.  New-o-phobia.

The fear of experiencing something or somebody never encountered before.

I experienced this feeling yesterday, on my way to meet somebody new:

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Wait! Who is that?

Guesses, anybody?

Time’s up!

That’s The Culture Monk, a blogger I admire, a/k/a Kenneth Justice.  Kenneth has been taking his show on the road, with his “Drinking in the Culture Tour,” and I went to see him at a coffee house in Cambridge, MA.

It was great to hang with Kenneth for an hour, and talk about many things, including the past, present, and future of blogging and (not surprisingly) fear (eeeek!).

I told Kenneth, when I met him, that he wasn’t as intimidating as I had feared.  Instead, he was instantly easy to talk to (which I also knew, on some level, from reading his blog).

As usual, my fears of the new — once I faced them — were unfounded.

And, as I was reminding myself on my way to meet him, Kenneth was NOT new to me. I have been meeting up with him, here in the blog-o-sphere, for quite a while.

Whenever you encounter something new, familiarity is also there somewhere (although you might miss it).

Speaking of that, those who are familiar with ME may have noticed, in that last photo, somebody else I admire: Jackie Chan*** (in the lower left).

Yes, Jackie Chan was NOT new to me yesterday and … neither was The Culture Monk.

So, maybe the old saying is true:

There is nothing new under the sun.

Which gives me a GREAT excuse to end this post with some other photos, recently taken under the sun.

In order of appearance:

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Thanks to everything and everybody who helped me write this post, including fears, Susan Jeffers, parents, work, Kenneth Justice, Jackie Chan, the sun, the Dalai Lama,  and … you!


* The number in the post title is a roman numeral meaning “3,” although I could easily have written 110 previous posts about this topic.

** “Co-morbid” in the therapy biz means “occurring at the same time.” Despite the way it looks, it has nothing to do with death. (Eeeek!)

*** I’ve blogged about Jackie Chan before: here, here, here, and here.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism, quiz | Tags: , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 229: Unsolved Mysteries

I’ve never seen the show “Unsolved Mysteries,” but what better way to start off this identically-named blog post, than this:

(If there is a better way, I have no idea what it is.)

I like to think about mysteries, as I’ve mentioned before.  Skilled detectives — who pay attention in the moment and who use all their resources to solve puzzles and sometimes even right wrongs —  have definitely been heroes of mine, throughout my life.

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For this blog post, I would like to share a personal, recently experienced mystery.

THE SPECKLED SHIRT

by Ann Koplow

On our penultimate day in Scotland, my son and I were in our hotel room, when I heard him cry …

What’s this??

I looked over,  to see him standing by his open and yet unpacked suitcase,  holding up one of his favorite shirts. Safe in the assumption that my son knew what a shirt was, I waited for him to say more. And he did.

What the heck??? 

And then,

Look at these red marks, all over my shirt!!!

I moved closer to son’s outstretched arms and the shirt, dangling lifeless and forlorn — perhaps as the unknown but deliciously fresh fish I had just eaten at a nearby restaurant had recently dangled from a Scottish fishhook.

As I inspected the shirt — my son’s continuing cries of “What the heck?” ringing in my ears — I noticed these:

Tiny splashes of red, covering his shirt. The more I looked at the shirt, the more of these I saw.

What were they?

Could they be ….

BLOOD?

Nope. Wrong color red.

Could they be …

RED LIQUID HE HAD SPILLED WHILE WEARING THIS SHIRT?

Nope. He hadn’t worn that shirt in days.  And he had seen that shirt, unspeckled, lying on top of his opened suitcase, yesterday, in the bonny town of Edinburgh.

Could the speckles be …..

THE BLEEDINGS OF ANOTHER GARMENT, ONTO THE SHIRT?

Nope.  He had only one piece of red-colored clothing in his suitcase, which was (1) the wrong color and (2) had not been packed anywhere near the now-speckled shirt.

My son and I used the best parts of our inquiring brains, exploring different possibilities.

We were stumped.

So we decided to  reach out for help and consult with experts who might

  1. solve the mystery and/or
  2. save the shirt.

First, we spoke to the people at the front desk at the hotel.

The helpful woman at the front desk looked at the shirt and, like us, was mystified.  She immediately ruled out foul play by the hotel staff.  While cleaners had been in our room since the the last time the shirt had been seen unspeckled … all cleaning fluids at this hotel were colored clear, not red.

While she would have been happy to clean the shirt for us, all laundry had already gone out for the day. Waiting for the next pick-up would mean the shirt could not return in time to leave with us on our return passage to the United States.

What to do?

She sent us on our way to consult with other experts, a little ways down the street, who might be able to help:

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The two laundresses there inspected the shirt carefully, as we told them all we knew about The Speckled Shirt.  I watched as confusion, concern, and other emotions flickered across their fresh, young faces.

This must have been caused by some kind of spray!  Look at that pattern!

I suspect the cleaning staff at the hotel.  Even if their cleaning liquid aren’t red, this could definitely be a chemical reaction.

We would be happy to clean this for you, but I’m afraid we might not get these out.  Look at all of them!


Following the advice of these two laundry experts, we trudged back to the hotel, speckled shirt in tow. I recited, unemotionally, just the facts of what we had been told, in the tradition of another famous American detective.

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A manager was summarily called, who assured us the hotel would take care of the Speckled Shirt, in time for our departure, as best they could.

Wondering about all the confusing and conflicting evidence we had heard, recognizing we could not sort it all out, we put shirts and speckles out of our mind, and enjoyed another day in beautiful Edinburgh.

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Several hours later, after we returned to our hotel and got off the lift onto our floor, I was surprised to see, at that precise moment, a dapperly dressed gentleman rushing towards us, holding a hanger with a beautifully pressed shirt.

At first, of course, I leapt to this conclusion:

It’s the return of the shirt, speckled no longer!

However, this hope was quickly dashed by the gentleman moving swiftly by us and leaping onto the lift, apparently in pursuit of urgent business on other floors.

I said to my son, marveling at the coincidence. “Did you see that man?  There are other people in this hotel with Shirt Issues today.”

Minutes after we returned to our room, there came an urgent knock on the door.

As I opened the door, I discovered that same rushing man with shirt, now standing quite still. Said he,

Here is your shirt.  I had the wrong room number. My apologies.

And just like that, he was gone, leaving behind my son’s shirt, pressed and virtually speckle-free.

Let me ask you this, dear readers: Is that a mystery to you, that we did not recognize that shirt, rushing by us, as we left the lift?

Well,  I guess that speaks to many things, including the sometimes dubious nature of eyewitness testimony.

Now, as I bring this humble tale of The Speckled Shirt to an end, perhaps you may have noticed something else.

While the shirt was restored, with almost all tell-tale evidence removed ….

The mystery was never solved.

It now enters the realm of other unsolved mysteries I’ve experienced, including the first one I can remember.*

It’s difficult to tolerate the unknown, especially for important things.

In the meantime,  I will do my best, trying to solve mysteries and accepting that, for some, I may never know.

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Thanks to broox09, who posted that first “Unsolved Mystery” video on Youtube; detectives everywhere; the shows, books, movies, and people who have helped me get through some difficult times; and to you, for participating in this mystery today.

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* Who killed President John F. Kennedy?

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 188: Remembering, forgetting, and being hurt

I am helping to plan a High School Reunion, which is happening, in two weeks,  on an “off year.” (Meaning, an anniversary which is not a multiple of 5.)

Yesterday, I was talking to a classmate on the phone, whom I hadn’t spoken to for many years.

She asked me, “Is your mother still alive?”

I said that, no, both my parents had passed away.

She said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  When did your mother pass?”

And I said, “Wait.  I can never remember that. Hold on ….”

And my mind did that squirming-like-a-toad thing it does, when I can’t remember something I should know.

I said, “Geesh.  I don’t know why that happens to me.  I always have to think about it. Now, I know my father passed away in 1997, my son was born in 1998, and ….”

The year of my mother’s death still wasn’t coming to me, and I panicked a little, because I was thinking, “You should be able to think of that!  What is the matter with you?”

I explained, (assuming that my classmate most likely thought this memory lapse of mine was very weird), “There were so many things going on at that time: I got a big promotion, we moved to a different town …”

Then, I gave an estimate, “It was about 5 or 6 years ago, I think,” still feeling some shame about the not-remembering.

Now, as I’m writing this, in peace and contemplation, I should be able to figure out that date, pretty easily.

Here goes:  When my mother died, my son was going into 5th grade. He is now going into 10th grade. So it was 5 years ago that my mother passed away.  It was 2008.

Now, 2008 should also be an easy year to remember, because she was 90 years old at her death, and I completely remember the year of her birth: 1918.

I can’t forget the year of both my parents’ birth. That year is right there, in the top of my mind.

I think 1918 would be quite easy for me to remember, no matter what. Also, that Very Important Year of 1918 also got mentioned — a lot — in my home as I was growing up because of this:

IT WAS THE LAST TIME THE BOSTON RED SOX HAD WON THE WORLD SERIES.

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Boy, those Red Sox just couldn’t win (The World Series), for most of my life (and for most of the lives of most of the Red Sox fans in the world).

I confess this, too:  I have to pause and think about the year that Very Infamous Streak got broken. I THINK it was 2005.  I’ll go check (on Google) ….

Nope. I was wrong. It was 2004.

Now, Red Sox fans will probably think that’s incredible, that I couldn’t remember the year.  (And I was a big Red Sox fan, for many years.)

I have trouble with numbers. I guess. Maybe because they are details, shmetails. Maybe because I EXPECT to have trouble with numbers.

I’m not sure.  All I know is that certain dates escape me.

For example, I remember, once, I got my mother’s birthday wrong.  Her birthday was April 22. And I forgot it. For some reason, that year, I thought it was the 23rd.

And I remember the hurt look on her face.

Here’s her face without a hurt look on it (which is how she usually looked):

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(That’s a photo of my parents, copied on regular paper, that’s on the side of my refrigerator.)

I didn’t like hurting my mother,  but sometimes I did.

I still have a really strong reaction to hurting people. I can get very upset and worried if I think I’ve hurt — or might hurt —  somebody else’s feelings.

Being afraid of hurting somebody else’s feelings can paralyze me, sometimes. Make me afraid to act. Make me regret my actions, to an excessive degree. I can magnify the hurt I might cause and minimize other things.  (See here, if you want to read about the cognitive distortion of Magnifying/Minimizing) (and two other distortions relating to this post — Shoulds and Mind Reading.)

This is what I sometimes tell people in the therapy groups that I do, when I see that very human (and often quite beautiful, but painful) fear of hurting somebody else:

 Other people are not as fragile as you fear.  

Other people have said useful things to me about that Fear of Hurting Others, such as this:

 If we are connected and we care, we will inevitably hurt and be hurt.

That’s not an “official” quote, so I just went a-googlin’ (using “hurt quotes”) to find something similar.

And I found some interesting things:

“Of course I get hurt.” — Jackie Chan

Also, keeping with the Baseball Theme, here are two quotes that came up by Satchel Paige:

“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”

“Airplanes may kill you. But they ain’t likely to hurt you.”

That last quote is helpful for me, right now, for another reason:  I’ll be flying in August, with my son, to London.  Flying is something else — besides hurting other people’s feelings — that I can get anxious about.

And here’s another number I have trouble remembering — not just the year, but the date of my mother’s passing. I had to look that up, just now, too.

August 12, 2008.

I’ll be in England — or Scotland — on the 5th anniversary of that date, with my son.

(Note that I have trouble remembering the exact dates of that trip,  too!  Geesh.)

Here’s how I’m going to wrap-up this post today.  Here’s what feels left unsaid, right now:

On August 11, 2008, my mother told people, while I was asleep, that she wanted to tell me something.  “I have something I need to tell Ann, ” she said.   I was with my mother for some times while she was dying, but I was not there for that. Or for the moment of her passing.

And I don’t know what she wanted to tell me.  Sometimes I wonder about it.  What was it? Was it something she wanted to warn me about?  (She worried about things, sometimes.) A feeling she wanted to express?  Did it have something to do with forgiveness? Something about hurt? Or maybe about love?

I just don’t know.  And it’s difficult not to mind-read, about what she wanted to say.

Here’s what helps me to remember, right now:

What we miss seems more important, sometimes, than what we get.

And it’s not.  It’s all important.

Thanks for reading today.

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

Day 176: All wet

Last night, I walked around in the rain, with my bf. We had one umbrella, but we still got wet. That was fun, because it’s pretty hot and humid right now, in these parts.

There are going to be thunderstorms for AT LEAST 10 DAYS IN A ROW, if we believe the weather people.

Believing the forecasters (or any kind of fortune-telling, no matter what the data) is a proposition I sometimes find dubious. (I wrote about the meteorological kind of fortune-telling on Groundhog Day. I write and talk about the cognitive distortion of fortune-telling most days of the year.)

Here are a few of my associations with rain and the title of this post, this morning:

#1.  Spotting bunnies — one of my favorite walk-time activities —  is still possible, if not probable, when it’s raining.

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Because of my policy of honesty, I need to confess that I did not spot this bunny last night — nor at any point when it was raining.  However, I did spot it with impressive proximity in both time and space. (That is, very recently and very close to where I’m typing right now.)

#2.  One of my favorite standard/jazz tunes is “Here’s That Rainy Day.”

(This has nothing to do with the topic, but Ella Fitzgerald is my favorite female singer.)

#3.  The meaning of the idiom “all wet” is

all wet Slang

Entirely mistaken.

Which is an example of “All-Or-Nothing” thinking,  another cognitive distortion.

#4.  Jackie Chan pretty much always gets wet at some point in his made-in-Hong Kong movies (movies I love, which I wrote about, here).

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The above is a rather extreme example, from the movie “First Strike.”

#5.  Getting wet is actually not dangerous.

Sometimes, I forget that.  It’s only water, people.

Thanks for reading, this morning.  Stay dry, or not … it’s all okay.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 88: Asking questions

I know I’ve written a previous post on how much I love asking questions and hearing answers.  I guess that’s a good quality for me to have, considering that I’ve ended up (after several career twists and turns) as a group and individual therapist.

Other people have noticed this quality of mine.   An old partner of mine used to quote a “Saturday Night Live” skit, in reference to me.  I can’t find it on YouTube, but here’s what I remember about it. A guy and a woman are out on a first date, and she is peppering him with questions.  At some point, he (I think it was Chevy Chase, so it’s  REALLY OLD SNL) says to her (trying to disguise some annoyance):

“You’re so ……. inquisitive.”

A Jackie Chan Digression 

In the 1990s, some friends and I  got into Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong movies. They are SO great, BTW, and very different from his American movies.

Here’s a YouTube link to an 80’s TV show, “Son of the Incredibly Strange Film Show,” with Jonathan Ross, centering on Jackie, which gives you some idea of what those movies are like:

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My friends and I  REALLY enjoyed watching those movies.  I’m talking Obsession, for some of us.    And it was not easy to see these films, because Jackie was not famous in the U.S. then, and his films were not that available. (It was much less of an Instant Gratification Media World  in the 90’s.)   But the Brattle Cinema, in Cambridge

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would periodically  run festivals of these amazing Hong Kong-made Jackie Chan films, like “Project A,” “Project A Part II,” “Police Story,”  “Police Story 2,” “City Hunter,” “Dragons Forever,”  “Drunken Master,” “Super Cop”, and more.

At my birthday party earlier this year, where people shared stories and memories, several of the stories were about how much fun people had going to these Brattle Cinema festivals. We remembered how each of us had Dragon Names, which we had chosen for ourselves.

I shall now briefly explain “Dragon Name”:

Jackie Chan’s Chinese name (his “stage name” essentially) is

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where the first character means “adult” or “developing” or “mature” and the second character means “dragon.” (Bruce Lee’s Chinese Name was “Little Dragon.”)   So the members of this Jackie Chan-loving group of mine chose Dragon Names for themselves, which included  (1)  A descriptive adjective + (2)  The word “Dragon.”

The Point of The Jackie Chan Digression

My dragon name was “The Inquisitive Dragon.”

So, inquisitiveness — asking questions —  is definitely a quality of mine. This is observed by others and valued by me.

However, some questions are easier for me to ask than others.

What are the easier ones?  Questions that reflect my curiosity and interest in other people.

Which questions are harder to ask?

  • Questions where there is a “power differential.”  For example, asking management at work for something. Or, when I’m a patient, asking doctors questions, which are sometimes challenging. (I’ve worked really hard at the latter, my whole life, and I’m pretty good at it.) (I hear that from my doctors, actually.)
  • Questions where I might hurt somebody’s feelings.
  • Questions where I am asking for something I need.
  • Questions where I am revealing that I don’t know something.

That last one in the list is rather ironic, isn’t it?  Because what would be a better reason than to ask a question, than to learn something you don’t know?

However, I have to say that I do see other people, around me, hesitating to ask questions, perhaps for fear that it will reveal something They Think They Should Know Already.

I can only speak for myself. And I do know that I sometimes hesitate to ask questions out of fear — the fear of being seen as ignorant, stupid,or  not listening.

Before I end this post, I feel obliged to point out that those fears involve the Cognitive Distortions of Mind Reading,  Labeling, and Shoulds.

Why did I write this post today?

I realized there were some questions I was afraid to ask at work today. I need the answers, in order to do my job better.

I am now going out there, dear reader, and I’m going to Just Do It!  (Just like Jackie Chan says, many times, in that TV show.)

How about you?

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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