Posts Tagged With: Letting go of self-judgment

Day 1600: Round numbers

Today is the 1600th day in a row of blog postings, here at the Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally.  1600 is a round number and a much bigger number than expected when I began this blogging journey back on January 1, 2013.

Do you have any reactions to round numbers?  In therapy, people often describe negative reactions they have about reaching round numbers as they age. For example, somebody yesterday talked about turning 40 with a lot of self-judgment.  For some reason, when people approach round numbers, they can roundly judge themselves about their accomplishments and life situations.

A round number is just a number, no more significant than any other number. And yet,  here I am roundly noting it.

However, I am not going to get into a round of self-judgment about my posts. Instead, I’m going to post two musical round numbers (going round here and here on YouTube).

Here’s a round number of photos I took yesterday:

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This is my blogging world, and I’ve tried to shape it as best I can.

A round of applause for the large number of people who’ve help me create these 1600 posts and — of course! — for you, on this round-number day.

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

Day 1553: It’s all about me

It’s another day, here at the Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, when it’s all about me.

For example, this photo was taken by me:

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Yes, it’s all about me, all day.

How should Me Me Me Day be celebrated by me?

Me, I’m going to do what’s best for me and my health, which includes letting go of unhelpful thoughts about me, like these:

  • Nobody understands me.
  • Other people don’t care about me.
  • The world doesn’t appreciate me.
  • Things will never work out for me.
  • You’re not listening to me.

Whenever it’s all about me and my unhelpful thoughts, that’s a miserable “me, me, me” day for me.

To further celebrate Me Me Me Day, here are more photos taken by me.

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Because it’s all about me, here’s a YouTube video created by my son Aaron — who is a person who was created by me — and which includes a scream, by me, in the first few minutes:

There are other things in that video that are all about me:

  • Many of the scenes take place in a home which is all about me.
  • The lines “I’ll pass!’ and “What about William Henry Harrison?” are delivered by Michael, a man who is loved by me.
  • The bird salt shaker was purchased by me.
  • One of the watches in “Watch” belongs to me.
  • The “No Judgment” on the blackboard is a reference to me.
  • There’s an acknowledgement to me in the credits.

Since it’s all about me, why not leave a comment for me?

Bunches of thanks to all who helped me create this all-about-me post and to you — of course! — from me.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1218: If it isn’t one thing, it’s another

Yesterday, I saw the title of today’s post…

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… on the inside of a greeting card.

I agree. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

Here’s another thing: This morning, my boyfriend Michael said to me, “Guess what Harley and I saw last night?”

I could have guessed any one of these things ..

  1. “Game of Thrones”
  2. Our other cat, Oscar
  3. Cat puke
  4. Computers

… but I guessed another: “Was it an animal?”

It WAS an animal that Michael and Harley saw last night, outside the window.

If it wasn’t any thing I guessed, it was another:

  1. Raccoon
  2. Possum
  3. Groundhog
  4. Bird (correct!)
  5. Big bird (correct!)
  6. Hawk
  7. Owl
  8. Crow
  9. Heron
  10. Swan
  11. Goose
  12. Eagle
  13. Pelican
  14. Penguin
  15. Albatross

At one point, Michael said to me, “You’re going to kick yourself when you guess it.”  I replied, “Believe me. I am not going to kick myself.”

If it isn’t one thing I’ve kicked myself for, it’s another.   Self-judgment has really been an albatross around my neck.  Therefore, I’ve decided to kick myself no more.

Here’s another thing: I DID guess the one thing Michael and Harley saw last night, which was walking down the sidewalk. If you try to guess that one thing, it might be another.

If it isn’t one photo I take for this blog, it’s another. Here are some photos from yesterday:

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If it isn’t one person making a pun around here, it’s another.  Last night at Market Basket, after the fish guy gave us more fish than we asked for, he said, “What the hake.”

If it isn’t one thing I’m asking my readers to guess, it’s another.  Which one of the greeting cards shown above had today’s title inside?

If it isn’t one thing I want to do on my vacation week, it’s another.  It’s time to end this post with not one thing but another:

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Categories: fun, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1181: What’s wrong with me?

Earlier this week, somebody in my office asked

What’s wrong with me?

I immediately replied, “Nothing.”

Throughout the therapy session, I said, “What was that question again?” And she repeated

What’s wrong with me?

And each time, I responded, “Nothing.”

By the end of the session, she was asking different, more helpful questions, including:

  • What’s right with me?
  • What are my options?
  • What can I change?
  • What are my needs?
  • What do I want?

All this week, I’ve been asking

What’s wrong with me?

And I’ve been answering myself like so:

My heart.

What’s wrong with that?  I mean, I do have a a heart with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (cctga).

However, it doesn’t help me, either, to ask

What’s wrong with me?

Does it ever help you to ask

What’s wrong with me?

What’s wrong with me assuming that it doesn’t help?

What’s wrong with these pictures I took yesterday?

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A better question is “What’s right with those pictures?”

What’s wrong with me asking for comments or thanking you for reading this, today?

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

Day 1069: Your name here

Have you ever experienced people using your name as an adjective or a noun, implying they see you a certain way ?

Me neither, until yesterday, when it happened TWICE.

The first time was when one of my therapy patients said this about a relative of hers:

I think she needs an Ann in her life.

The second time was when my friend Carol said this, when I told her I was trying out for “The Voice” in February:

That’s a very Ann thing to do.

How can I know, for sure, what either of those people meant, using my name like that?

Googling “Ann” probably won’t help me, but I shall try that anyway (since, to me,  that seems like a very Ann thing to do).

Here is Ann’s first result of googling “Ann definition”:

The name Anne is a Hebrew baby name. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Anne is: Favour or grace. Prayer. God has favoured me.

That’s not how I spell my name, though.  Perhaps people whose name is spelled AnnE are graceful and favoured by God. Here‘s another way Google defines “Ann”:

Word Origin and History for Ann
fem. proper name, alternative form of Anna, from Latin Anna, from Greek, from Hebrew Hannah (see Hannah ). In U.S. black slang, “white woman,” also “a black woman who is considered to be acting ‘too white;’ ” also Miss Ann. She is the spouse of Mr. Charlie.

It’s true that I AM a white woman, but that’s not a particularly helpful definition, either.

If I could consult with my patient or with Carol as I’m writing this blog post, I could use the helpful skill of reality testing (see here for that and other antidotes for automatic and unhelpful thoughts). In other words, I could ask them what they meant.  However, that’s not possible. Therefore,  it’s up to me to decide what “Ann” might mean, when used as an adjective or noun.

I am deciding this, at 6:19 AM, Boston USA time:

 Ann — when  used as a noun or an adjective — is a compliment, not an insult.

I hope you can decide the same, now, about your name. Why? Because this Ann believes that’s a helpful thing for everyone to do, no matter what.

Ann is now going to check photos she took yesterday, to see if any of them are more Ann than others.

 

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I think all those photos are equally Ann.

What do you think about that or anything else in this Ann post?

Finally, it’s very Ann to be extremely grateful that you visited here today, no matter what your name.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 1063: Hair and now

A couple of days before now, I put this hairy post up on my Facebook page:

So, I am tired of believing, on any level, that my lovability is connected to how young I look and/or the way I wear my hair. Therefore, I am seriously considering cutting my hair super short and letting my hair color be completely natural. So my profile picture might be looking VERY different, very soon.

Now, the amount of support I got from this post was hair-raising.

Yesterday, I went to see my beloved hair expert, Mia at MiAlisa salon (appearing now in previous blog posts here, here, here, and here). I brought along these pictures of hair:

I noticed this sign at Mia’s hair salon …

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… when my hair was this length:

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I could still see all the wonderful words on that sign when my hair was this length:

And despite my son Aaron’s prediction that I might judge myself negatively after radically changing my hair, I was non-judgmental when I took these photos last night …

… and I’m still non-judgmental, hair and now.

Do you have any thoughts or feelings about hair, now?

Here and now, I’m grateful to Aaron, Mia, MiAlisa Salon,  Amuleto Mexican Table in Waltham and you (no matter what state your hair’s in now).

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, taking a risk | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 72 Comments

Day 887: G is for Groups

G is for groups, which I believe are quite healing,

P is for photos I hope are appealing,


                      

E is for Excellence — for which I am striving,

W is for workshop, 12 people arriving,


K is for Karen, the coolest of neighbors,


L is for Love and is also for Labors,

N is for Now and I’m ready to say,

Gee, my group workshop is happening today.

Here are more letters, appearing in song:

I love the idea of you singing along!

Thanks to you all as I go and prepare
For a workshop I dare to declare more than fair.*


* A is for Ann — Announcing Aspirations for Awesome!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Day 728: I Write Like ___ ______

Yesterday,  I discovered the website I Write Like. After I had finished writing a blog post — like I have been writing here on WordPress every day for the past two years — I spent some time checking out which famous authors I Write Like thought I wrote like.

Here are the authors I Write Like told me I write like, after “reading” several of my blog posts:

David Foster Wallace

Cory Doctorow

Mario Puzo

Dan Brown

James Joyce

H.P. Lovecraft

… with  David Foster Wallace and Cory Doctorow getting the vast majority of the write-like votes.

Here’s what I’d like to write, like myself,  about those results:

  • While I’ve read things written by James Joyce, H. P. Lovecraft, and Dan Brown, I’ve never heard of Cory Doctorow.
  • I’m particularly pleased that James Joyce was written into that list, since he and I have the same birthday.
  • Yesterday, I kept entering samples of my writing into I Write Like, hoping to find out that I write like some of my favorite writers, like Jane Austen, Anne Tyler, George Eliot, and Joseph Heller.
  • Who knows how I Write Like writes like they can tell how you write?
  • I’ve heard of the late David Foster Wallace — whom I Write Like thinks I write the most like — but I haven’t read anything he’s written.

I have some reactions about admitting that last point, which now reminds me of the following story, which I’ve told friends, but have never written, like, before today.

A True Story I’ve Never Written, Before Today

by Ann

When I was a senior at a fancy-shmancy, hoity-toity college majoring in English Literature, I wrote my honors thesis on my favorite author, Jane Austen.  The name of that thesis (as best I can remember and write like the 61-year old person I am) was:

Perception and Judgment in the Novels of Jane Austen

Two faculty members from the English Department of my college read my thesis, and they gave me significantly different scores  — a very high one and a lower than average one. I guess those two readers had very different opinions about what I wrote like.

However, my course grades and other criteria were good enough to put me solidly on the road to graduating

Magna Cum Laude

from

A Very Impressive University!

Near the end of the school year, my Senior Year Advisor told me that — because there were too many people with high grades — the English Department had decided to add an additional requirement, for the honors candidates.

The new requirement was an Oral Exam, where I would be questioned by three faculty members.

My advisor told me that  my personal Oral Exam Board would be:

  • an expert on American Literature,
  • an expert on Celtic Literature, and
  • an expert on Renaissance Literature

which didn’t exactly match my specialty, 18th Century English literature.  He also told me that those three people on my orals board were …. not very nice.

Nevertheless, I entered the room, the day of my oral exam, with hope and some amount of confidence. I mean, I was solidly on track to graduating

Magna Cum Laude

from

A Very Impressive University!

Here’s the opening dialog, oh so many years ago,  between me and the Orals Board:

Orals Board Examiner:  I see that you did your thesis on Jane Austen.  Did you know that Mark Twain said that she should not have been allowed to die a natural death?

Me (trying to look like I thought that was a good question): Yes, I’m aware of that. Mark Twain also praised a friend’s library just because he did not have any of her books.

Orals Board Examiner:  So?  What do you think of that?

Me: (pause):   I would rather not talk about Austen that way.

I remember seeing displeasure written all over the faces of the Orals Board. And the experience went downhill,  from there. It’s written, very clearly in my memory, those three saying things to me, throughout the exam, like:

You’re an English major HERE and you haven’t read THAT?!??!

To this day, I am grateful that I did not cry in front of my Orals Board. However, as soon as the door closed behind me after I left the room, I burst into tears.

I remember people I knew at school not believing me when I told them I had failed the oral exam miserably. (Apparently, people thought I wrote like somebody who did well on exams.) One friend, who knew somebody on my Orals Board, said, “I’ll talk to him. I’m sure you did fine.” I remember the look written on my friend’s face when he returned with the news that yes, indeed, I had failed the oral exam miserably.

That’s not the end of the story I’m writing — like a WordPress blogger — today.  I advocated for myself, by going to the Chairman of the English Department to ask for another chance. I remember, very clearly, this dialog with him (and the expressions written on his face, also):

Me: For whatever reason, I choked during that Orals Exam. I got really scared and my mind went blank. I don’t express myself well in those kinds of situations. All my other grades show that I deserve a Magna Cum Laude. All I’m asking is that you give me another Orals Board, with people on it who are specialists in my area of expertise.

The Chairman of the English Department (with “no” written all over his face): I don’t think so. You’re expressing yourself very well and articulately now,  Ann.

Me: (thinking about that for a moment): How about this, then?  The two readers of my thesis gave me very different grades. Could I have another reader for that?

The Chairman of the English Department: No.

That was all (s)he wrote. So, I did not graduate

Magna Cum Laude

from

A Very Impressive University!

Instead, I graduated

Cum Laude

from

A University that Was Then Less Impressive To Me

which is still quite honorable, don’t you think?

A few months ago, I wrote this blog post, which helped me let go of any lingering regret, disappointment, and feelings of injustice, from that long-ago experience.

Unfortunately, something else has lingered, from that day. Whenever I admit that I haven’t read something by somebody famous like David Foster Wallace, I can hear and see those three people on that Oral Exam Board saying

You haven’t read WHAT??!??!?!

… with looks of utter contempt, written all over their faces.

Perhaps, my writing like this, today, will silence those particular internalized critics, forever. And, perhaps it will rewrite my sensitivity to the expressions on other people’s faces.

Now, my dear readers of what I write like, here on WordPress, I am going to re-visit I Write Like, enter this here blog post on that there website, and find out which writer I Wrote Like, today.

Aha!  I Write Like does NOT think I wrote like David Foster Wallace today. Instead, that judgment board thinks I Write Like

H. P. Lovecraft

who, according to WikiPedia, writes like an influential writer of horror fiction.

Well,  I’m glad that I Write Like is not writing that I write like an influential writer of horrible fiction.

I wonder if there’s also a website called I Shoot Like, which could tell me which famous photographer takes pictures like these:

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Do any famous writers on I Write Like use music, like I do?

(Don’t know much about a lot of things, but the official title of that song — found here on YouTube — is “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke, who wrote like Sam Cooke.)

Feel free to write like you do, to tell me who or what you thought I wrote like, today.

Thanks to everybody, everywhere, who writes like they choose, which includes you, of course!

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 52 Comments

Day 682: Repeating oneself

I used to worry about repeating myself, but I’ve learned to let go of that.

Yesterday, I repeated the steps of a new (and helpful) habit:

  1. Recognizing I’m having feelings of depression, anxiety, or stress,
  2. Reaching out (even if that seems risky),
  3. Expressing myself (including writing about it here),
  4. Allowing room for help in return,
  5. Taking action(s) I know will be helpful, even if they seem (oddly) difficult to do (for example., repeating the action of calling a plumber who hasn’t called me back), and
  6. Feeling better, letting go of judgment about my process.

Thanks to all those in the world-o-sphere and in the blog-o-sphere (which has its own kind of plumbing) who helped me along with that, yesterday.

Here are some phrases I love repeating to people:

  • “No need to apologize.”
  • There’s no right or wrong way to do this.”
  • “There’s room for all feelings.”
  • “All of you is/are welcomed here.”
  • “You have all the time you need (believe it or not).”
  • “The secret to life is three things: (1) show up, (2) be gentle, and (3) tell the truth.”
  • “What do other people think?”

Here are a few of the many things I hear other people repeat, on their own, in therapy groups, to each other:

  • “Let it go.”
  • “I’ve had a similar experience.”
  • “You did the best you could.”
  • “I’m grateful for you.”

I’m assuming I’ve repeated some aspects of this post before, and I shall now quote the title of a post draft I wrote on 4/4/13,* four months after I started this daily blog:

Day __: Am I repeating myself? Who cares!

Here are some photos from yesterday. Perhaps some of them will seem like I’m repeating myself. I’m not.

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At the risk of repeating myself in my music introductions here, I heard this song yesterday, as I walked to work:

(“It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” from the album Super Session with  Al KooperSteven Stills, and Mike Bloomfield, found here on YouTube)

Here’s another version of Bob Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”:

(YouTube video found here of “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” written by Bob Dylan, performed by Dylan and George Harrison, at The Concert for Bangladesh)

Here’s something else I like to repeat: Any questions?

Many, many, many, many thanks to all who repeat themselves in any way, which would include Al Kooper, Steven Stills, Bob Dylan, everyone else who helped with the creation of this post, and you, of course!


* I love dates that repeat the same number for the month and the year, like 4/4/13. Any guesses why?

Categories: Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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