Posts Tagged With: object constancy

Day 790: New dawn, new day

I like that every new dawn and new day is a chance to start anew. 

During recent dawns and days, though, I’ve realized I  want to hold on to some things from day to day. 

When I wake up to each new day, I want to remember and be in touch with:

  • my basic self-worth (which does not change from day to day),
  • my connections with others (which are also  real and true),
  •  my knowledge and wisdom (which I’ve earned with the experiences of all my dawns and days), 
  • my personal power to affect others and create change, and
  • hope and possibility. 

Darkness, night, and unconsciousness do NOT compromise or obliterate those things, in any way. 

Self-worth, connections, knowledge, wisdom, personal power, possibility, and hope all survive each night, even if they seem inaccessible or hidden. 

Remembering these words — every new dawn and day — will help me, I know. 

This new day, I am creating this post on my phone, because my laptop is out of power. When my laptop wakes up from its cordless slumber, it too will still have the worth, connections, knowledge, power, and possibilities it had before I left its cord behind in California. 

I am now going to post recent photos in a new way. I assume they also retain the worth they had when I took them over the last few days:

That was so easy!  See, people? My laptop losing its power cord created a new and better photo-posting day, for me. 

Let’s see how linking to a song goes in this new dawn, now.

Thanks to Nina Simone, to new dawns and days, to my iPhone, to my laptop, to undaunted courage, to Jackie Chan, to Saturday Night Live, to the movie “Whiplash,” to airplanes that take me places new and old, to Spring,  to those who do their best venturing out into each new dawn, and to you — of course! — for making this blog part of your new day.  

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 494: Facial Expressions

I am very attuned to facial expressions.


  1. I am a psychotherapist (working with people individually and in groups),
  2. that has been a way for me to learn, grow, and survive in this world, and
  3. human beings just are that way, okay?*

I am thinking about facial expressions, this morning, because of an automatic, unhelpful habit:

I am very quick to imagine other people’s facial expressions changing, negatively, in response to me.

For example:

  • If I am running late, I imagine the faces of the person or people I am going to meet, wearing expressions of disappointment, disapproval, or (eeek!) disgust.
  • If I make a mistake, I imagine faces with expressions of disappointment, disapproval or disgust.
  • If somebody needs something, and I am unable to provide it, I imagine that person’s face showing disappointment, disgust, or disapproval.
  • If I am considering asking for something I need, I imagine people’s faces showing disappointment, disapproval, disgust, or (eeek!) disinterest.
  • If I write (or otherwise express) something that I’m not very happy with, I imagine people’s faces showing disapproval,  disinterest, disgust, or disappointment.
  • If I am ailing or absent, I imagine people’s faces showing disinterest, disappointment, disgust, or disapproval.
  • If I get rejected by somebody (for example, the readers for the BlogHer contest), I imagine faces with expressions of disapproval, disinterest, disappointment, or disgust.
  • If I am going for something new that requires somebody else’s approval (e.g., an audition, application, or interview), I imagine people’s faces showing disinterest, disapproval, disgust, or disappointment.
  • If I am disappointed or angry, and I’m considering telling somebody about that, I imagine their faces turning to expressions of …. well, lots of words beginning with the letter “d.”

Arrrghh!*  How much time have I spent in my life, feeling bad about such things?*

I can’t answer that question. But if I could, the results might trigger another “d” word. Say, depression.

Here’s my wish, right now: I would like to break that old habit — of so easily imagining people’s facial expressions changing, negatively.

I don’t want to do that, ever again!  It’s not helpful!  AND, I’ve done it enough, so far, for several lifetimes.

I’ve served my sentence, for a crime I did NOT commit!

Let me out, Warden, from this unfair prison!   NOW!!!*

(pant, pant, pant)

My plan for this post, people, was to show you facial expressions,of many kinds.

So let’s see what Google Images has for the word “warden,” which just popped up, in that previous paragraph.

Hmmmm. Lots of confusing options. What to choose, what to choose?*

How about this one:


(I found that image here)

Hmmmm. I wonder if I’ll get into trouble, using a stock image like that, in this post.

Hey!  You know what?  I did NOT imagine people with negative expressions on their faces, just now.

Instead, I thought this: if somebody doesn’t like it …. SUE ME!*

What are they going to do, send me to jail?

So … going back to my intent for this post, I will now show you several faces, and ask you to interpret their expressions.  Ready to play along?


Facial expression #1:


(Well, I figure this: if there’s going to be any consequences about using this photo, I’m already in trouble, so why not use it again?)

Facial Expression #2:


Facial Expression #3:


Facial Expression #4:


Facial Expression #5:


Facial Expression #6:


Facial Expression #7:

Helen-Keller-Quotes-3 (1)

Those last three faces have shown up in previous posts (see here and here). Let’s end this quiz, about facial expressions, with somebody new.

Facial Expression #8:

Eddie Izzard - Force Majeuer Color 1 - Photo Credit - Amanda Searle

(I found that image here.)

Who’s that?  That’s Eddie Izzard!  My son and I have tickets to see him, tonight.*

It’s time to end this post, so I can rest up for activities ahead.

Thanks to those who express themselves (facially and otherwise), to anybody who interprets facial expressions, to people everywhere who are trying to give up bad habits, and to you, especially,  for reading today (no matter what expressions you’ve had on your face).

* More questions: what facial expression do you imagine I had, when I wrote that sentence?

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism, quiz | Tags: , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

Day 34: Object Constancy

“Object constancy” is a Psychological Concept which I will now try to explain.  (When I say “try to explain,” I mean that  I’m going to Google it, check to see whether the definition there matches my assumptions in the moment) (and, if I find a definition that’s good enough, steal it).

Of course, it’s risky when you go to the Internet for information.   Who knows which sources are reliable?  But here’s a definition of Object Constancy, from the GoogleSphere:

 in psychoanalysis, the relatively enduring emotional investment in another person.

That doesn’t quite “click” for me. Hold on.

Well, I’ve looked at a few, and I’m going to use this one, which — interestingly enough, defines LACK of object constancy.

Lack of object constancy is the inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision.

Hmmm. It’s occurring to me that this definition reflects a kind of all-or-nothing thinking. I mean, look at those words: “lack.”  “inability.”

Object constancy is not usually something that human beings either have OR don’t have at all. The vast majority of us are somewhere on the scale from 0 to 100%, Object Constancy-wise.

Let me tell you why Object Constancy is the Topic Du Jour. Yesterday, I gave a party for myself, to celebrate a Big Numbered Birthday.  And I invited people to come and help me celebrate the day — people who have meant a lot to me and people who I assumed would feel comfortable being there.

And these people said some pretty incredible things to me throughout the party — face-to-face, by cards and other writings, on video messages, and during a point in the party where people sat around and shared memories. And I was trying really, really hard throughout the party to take the good stuff in.  I was trying not to get caught up in what might go wrong with the party, whether people were having a good time, whether I was being a good host, whether I seemed too self-centered in having this kind of party for myself, and the other varied menu of judgmental choices. And I was friggin’ exhausted the whole time, because I had trouble sleeping the night before. So I was trying not to judge myself for that, too. (Why didn’t you make sure you got enough sleep so you could be more present?) And I was trying not to be disappointed that I hadn’t managed to figure out how to RECORD what people were saying at certain points, so I could remember it later.

And I really wanted to record things, because I think of myself as a person who has “Poor Object Constancy.”

Which, I realize right now, is a judgmental term.

I mean, it’s the word “poor” that tipped me off, right then.

But let me tell you by what I mean by that belief about myself: People may be vivid, real, and important to me in the moment, but they can fade when I’m by myself. When I am by myself,  I can start believing that I’m not important — that I fade from their minds, too.  And even though I know on some level that there are people out there who care about me, when I’m alone and feeling scared or insecure, I have trouble accessing a sense of those connections.

I spend a lot of time, in my work, talking to people about What Sticks and What Doesn’t Stick. And I have noticed, in myself and other people, that what scares us — the negative things — do tend to stick and seem more important than the positive things.  If you’ve read other posts in this blog, you’ve probably noticed this theme coming up before. And here’s something else I’m sure I’ll write about more than once. When we’re feeling at our worst, we tend to NOT do the things that will help us feel better. Over and over again, I see people isolating when they feel worse about themselves and their lives.

The tendency of the negative to “stick.”  How people, when they are in pain, tend to isolate. Yes, I will probably write about these themes — and others —  many times throughout this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally.  Because (as the cab driver said in response to the rider asking, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”), practice, practice, practice.

It takes repetition and practice to let go of old ways of seeing things.

So, yesterday, I tried to practice, practice, practice throughout the party.  I tried not to judge the judging thoughts that came up for me during the party. I tried to take in the specific positive things people were telling me.  And I tried to let these very positive messages in: You are important to me. I am important to you.

When I say “important” I don’t mean “all important.”  All of us have complicated lives, and maybe we do lose track of each other here and there. But importance — like most things — is not All-Or-Nothing.

And there was a moment yesterday, when people who mean a lot to me were singing “Happy Birthday.” In that moment, I let go of all judgmental, self-conscious, and scared thoughts, looked around the room, and  thought, “Wow.”  Here are all these beautiful connections, right in the room. Here are all these wonderful faces, looking at me, and celebrating my birthday with song and with themselves. And I took a mental photo of it, filed it away, and reminded myself to Practice, Practice, Practice making that image stick.

And even if my Object Constancy is not the best — even if that image fades and maybe is hidden from me at times —  that image is still there. And I’ll practice, practice, practice making that picture more constant.

Thanks, dear reader.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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