Posts Tagged With: shame

Day 153: Do I Dare to Tweet a Tweet?

Yes.

A few days ago, I wrote a post called “To Tweet or Not to Tweet (is that the question?),” where the “real” topics included aging, resistance to change, fear of the new, embracing life, dealing with illness, and the d-word (death).

However, Twitter was definitely in there.  And several of the much-appreciated comments I got on that post (including a few from fellow blogger Charmin) have kept Twitter On My Mind.

And then, in another peep of synchronicity, Twitter sent me a friendly, freakishly timed e-mail saying, “Hello, Ann!  We haven’t seen you in a while!”

Because I did sign up for Twitter a while ago.  (My memory is that my son was interested at that time, and we had some kind of mass, household sign-up).

And I have Tweeted twice before, I realized this morning.

The first tweet, quite a while ago, was something related to “Top Chef.” (I confess: I  love me some reality shows where the contestants — or in this case, “cheftestants” — are good at and passionate about what they do.) (Note to self: possible future blog post topics: (1) Reality Shows, (2) Passion and Skill, (3) Made-Up Words and What They Do To Our Souls.)

The second tweet was A Celebrity Tweet. I had tweeted my guitar hero, Pat Metheny, thanking him for the music he’s given us.  (I expressed that intense gratitude to him in person, too, many years ago, at this building:

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which used to be a Tower Records.) ( I re-encountered that building, in April, when I felt ready to walk down Boylston Street, after the Boston Marathon bombings.)

Today, I did a Tweet With A New Attitude.  The new attitude was less tentative, less Twitter Toe In The Water. (That idiom — putting your toe in the water to indicate trying something carefully, reminds me of a FABULOUS blog I encountered here recently: Toemail, where people send in wonderful pictures that include a toe somewhere in the scene.)

This time, I jumped in with both feet.  I sent a Tweet, Intentionally, to reach people.  (The content of the tweet doesn’t matter. Suffice to say: it was goofy. I love me some goofy.)

Whenever I do that:  try to reach people — whether it’s through blogging, speaking, tweeting, writing, mailing, calling, at my work, or in my dreams — it can be hopeful, exciting, rewarding, frustrating, and scary, too.

What are my fears about doing this?

I don’t have messages that are important enough, that justify asking for people’s attention . I don’t want to “bother” them, in the midst of all the other things they need to pay attention to.

And, I can experience shame, too, when I act  like I AM important enough (to send messages, bother people, etc.).

(And here’s another one, that my friend Joe just reminded me about, in his explanation of not accepting my invitation to join Twitter. If I send a message, will kind and thoughtful people be concerned about my reaction, if they decide to set a limit and not to engage in this way?)

But these are all things I’m working on this year, dear readers.

And I guess I’m making progress, because I’m Bothering People here in the Blog-o-Sphere, every single day! (And who knows how often I’ll be bothering people through Twitter?)

Thanks for reading, for not being bothered, and for spending your valuable, important time with me.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 145: Positioning and Payments

Yesterday, I wrote about my attempts to remember an important Message to Self, whenever I’m feeling down, depressed, or discouraged, which involved storing this message in a special place.

Today, I moved the Box With The Message, so it can be closer at hand.

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I don’t want to lose track of it.

I needed to pay some bills today.  I just finished scheduling some on-line payments.

One of these bills — my electric bill — is going to be late, as usual.  Arrghh! I know why this is.  It’s because my way of remembering to pay bills is outmoded.

This is the out-dated process of bill-paying I use:

  1. I have it in my head that I should pay all my bills on the 23rd of each month. 
  2. Starting around the 18th, I start to ask myself whether it’s time to pay my bills.
  3. I don’t actually pay my bills, I just ask myself that question every day.
  4. On the 23rd, I remember that this technique is based on a time in my life that — if I mailed all my bills on the 23rd — they would all get paid in time.
  5. I delay doing anything about this for a day or two, because I now pay most bills on-line, and the Big Bills are all due by the 1st.
  6. Around the 25th of the month, I schedule the on-line bill payments.
  7. I feel guilty and stoopid, because — as always — I am late with the electric bill, which is actually due in the middle of the month.

Well!  That was cathartic (if embarrassing) — to actually write down my Out-Moded and Not Particularly Effective Process for Paying My Bills.

I think I want to make a change in my life, people.

This is what I am proposing:  when a bill comes in the mail,  I will immediately rip open the bill and schedule the payment on-line.

Wow!  That would sure save me a lot of wasted steps, time, and anxious energy.

And now that I’ve committed to doing that, here, I can feel a change coming on.

I will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading (and witnessing my process of change).

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

Day 144: “Emergency” messages

I’ve often blogged here about cognitive distortions,including mind-reading, fortune-telling, comparisons, and negative filter. (Here’s a list of all thirteen cognitive distortions.)

I’ve also been working on a list of antidotes or remedies, to help break the habit of cognitive distortions.

Here’s the antidote I wanted to focus on, today:

The “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” Technique. Prepare for the possibility that when you are feeling at your worst, coping strategies and solutions might be difficult to remember. Write down a couple of things that might be helpful to remember when you are feeling bad, and put that in a special place. Also, consider telling somebody else about these “emergency messages,” so they can remind you.

I’ve got my own message I would like to remember, in case of emergency. When I’m feeling down, depressed, hopeless, discouraged, self-critical, or self doubting, I wish I could remember this:  I will come through the bad time, with gifts I can use.

However, I can never remember that message, when I’m down. Never!  It’s like a spell is cast, that affects my memory.  When I’m feeling hopeless or powerless — because of disappointment or shame — my  belief is some form of this:

I suck and/or life sucks.

That’s what cognitive distortions do, in a nutshell. They present Sucky-ness of Self and Existence,  as The Truth.

But, it’s not The Truth. It’s just a belief, a thought, a temporary state of mind.

Each time, though, when I descend into a State of Ultimate Sucky-ness,  I simply cannot remember anything else. My Emergency Message is beyond me.

So, in order to try my “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” antidote, I’ve been scoping out a special place to place my helpful Message to Self.

About a month ago, I got this box, with a hidden compartment. I thought I’d place my message there.

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However, since I so easily lose sight of the message, I decided I needed a receptacle that was a lot less subtle.

So on my vacation, I bought this:

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That’s a lot harder to miss.

I’ve printed out this version of The Message:

When you are feeling, hopeless, powerless, selfish, foolish, disappointed or otherwise bad about yourself and your situation, remember this:

You will come out of this. And you will have ideas about ways to move forward.

I’ve placed that message in the box:

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Now my box, with message inside, is sitting on the mantle:

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I hope I remember it’s there, the next time I need it.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading, everybody. (And feel free to post what “emergency message” you might leave for yourself.)

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

Day 121: Why I relate to the Boston Carjacking “victim”

This blog post is dedicated to a wonderful, amazing member of “my team,” Carol.

I woke up this morning at 4 AM.  (Why am I doing that? I’m working on it, people.)

Almost immediately, I came up with these ideas for blog posts today:

  1. Fear of humans — and other creatures —  loving me too much. (I’m not ready, I decided, to write about THAT, yet.)
  2. “What’s in a Name?” (about what it’s like to have a name that nobody can pronounce or spell and which some people seem to make fun of).

I had decided on the latter topic (thanks to my childhood friend, Debbie, with whom I’ve recently reconnected via Facebook and blogging here).

Before I started writing, I took a quick look at the news headlines at cnn.com.  (Why, oh why, am I doing that?)  (I’m working on it, people.)

And I saw this article, titled “Carjacking victim recalls differing demeanors of  bombing suspects.”

I would like to make this a short blog post, since I think there’s A CHANCE I might be able to fall back asleep for a little while. So I would like to present two quotes from this cnn.com article and confess about why I relate to these excerpts.

Okay? Here we go …

Danny had stopped his vehicle to send a text when Tamerlan walked up and tapped on the window. The suspect, allegedly carrying a handgun, opened the door and got into the passenger seat.

When I was 22 years old,  I was driving back to where I lived with my roommate Barbara, in an apartment in Cambridge. It was late at night.  My memory is that I had  been visiting with my long-time friend, Jon, and we had been talking about our relationships with other people, as well as other topics. (By the way, believe it or not, Jon appeared in my blog post, a few days ago, here.)

After I parked my car, in back of my apartment building,  and got out of it, there was a man waiting for me.  As soon as I saw him, my heart sank.  Sure enough, he meant me harm. He took me into my car. I was sitting in the passenger seat.

Under questioning by Tamerlan, Danny played up being Chinese and tried to humanize himself by talking about cell phones and family. Danny told CNN he felt being Chinese helped save his life.

That’s exactly what I tried to do with this guy, in 1975:  “humanize” myself, because I had recently read an article — in Newsweek, I think — about how rape was an act of rage. What I got out of that article was this: one thing that might help me survive would be to humanize myself to the rapist. So, I said everything I could think of, in service of that.  And I told him that I had a pacemaker and to be careful.  And he stopped. And I said, “I’m scared.” And he said, “I’m scared for you, too.”  And I had no idea what that meant, when he said that. I thought I was still in danger.

But, I wasn’t.  He left, soon after that.

During the carjacking, Danny thought about a girl in New York whom he really liked.

He thought he’d never see her again.

I thought about my roommate, Barbara, asleep upstairs in our apartment. I thought I would never see her again.

I did. I saw her the next morning.  Now, she is my biggest supporter, as I write this blog every day.

Wow.  That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

I’ll tell you what’s most amazing to me, right now:  Maybe this topic IS related to topic # 1 (see above)  (as well as to how I can be scared by other people’s anger).  (I’m working on both of those, people!)

It’s incredible what happens, sometimes, when you are “putting it into words.”*

Thanks for reading these words today, dear readers.

______

* This is a personal “shout-out,” to my faithful reader,  Lena.

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

Day 116: I just rewrote yesterday’s blog post

When  I write a blog post on Thursdays (like yesterday’s),  I get a little more space and time to write — an extra hour or two — before I go into work in the morning.    Then, my Thursdays are crazy/busy, and I get home quite late at night,  so I don’t have time to rewrite or even reread the long post I’ve written in the morning.

Here are some critical/judgmental thoughts I had this morning, when I finally got a chance to re-read yesterday’s post:

Your blog posts on Thursdays are the worst!  Longer, more rambling, with no time to rewrite or even re-read!! That  is a recipe for DISASTER!  

Arrghh!  There are so many parts of this post that don’t make sense!  

Look at how you combined the universal with the personal, in such klutzy ways! And you talked about stuff that would gross out most readers, including how you’ve gotten endocarditis in the past!  Yikes!  What were you thinking?

AND I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT OF ALL DAYS, YESTERDAY’S POST WAS THE ONE WHERE YOU SUGGESTED THAT PEOPLE MIGHT WANT TO RE-BLOG YOUR POSTS!

What is the matter with you?  You had better rewrite this post, now, before you even think about writing today’s post.

Phew!  That was amazing … to write down those critical thoughts.  I find it painful, but helpful, to get them out of my head.

It helps to write them down, because then I can see the cognitive distortions that are going on.  I’m seeing Mind Reading, Catastrophizing, Labeling, and several more. (If you want, you can read this list of cognitive distortions and see if you recognize other ones in my judgmental thoughts, above.) (Even better, maybe you’ll recognize some of your own judgmental thoughts there, too.)

AND I am  so happy to report something that feels good and new this morning. 

I was able to stop the more toxic, painful  judgmental thoughts I was having — upon re-reading yesterday’s post — almost immediately, even before I started writing this post.

Yay!

I was automatically, unconsciously using remedies to these thoughts, which I’ve been collecting (and sharing with others, here.). 

It’s so great that I was able to do that, without even thinking!

To repeat, yay!

I think I was able to do that, this morning, because I’m getting to do groups I love doing, at work, where we focus on reducing unhelpful thoughts (as well as other ways to cope and to heal). 

The very thing that prevented me from re-writing a better blog post yesterday — doing two groups yesterday, at work, including one in the evening — helped me let go of judgmental thoughts more quickly, this morning.

I think that is very, very cool.

After I let go of the shameful, toxic judgmental thoughts,  this morning, I did a very quick re-write of yesterday’s blog post, so I felt it was “good enough.”  For me, that means that even though the blog post was long and digressive, even though it combined the universal (I hope) and the personal, it still made enough sense, so that most readers  could probably follow it and get something out of it.

I was able to do that quickly enough to turn my attention to writing todays’ blog post.

Now,  I believe that I will be able to meet my priorities this morning, which are as follows:

(1) Take care of my son, well enough, so that he has what he needs to get to school on time.

(2) (TIE with #1, above)  Take care of myself, well enough, by (a)  doing # 1, above, (b) writing a good enough blog post in the morning before I go to work (which has been helping sustain me, through some difficult times), (c) getting the food and preparation I need,  and (d) leaving early enough so that I’m not rushing, with anxiety, to work.

(3)  Get to work, sustained well enough, so I can do work I feel passionately about, which includes helping people heal and move on with their lives.

I think I’ve written previous blog posts here about several issues I’ve alluded to in that above list, including (1) setting priorities as a way not to be overwhelmed and (2) how it’s important to focus on your own needs, as a way to be more available to others.

But you know what?  My son’s alarm just went off, and I want to check in with him. So I’m not going to take the time, right now, to look for the links to these previous blog posts.   So you’re on your own with that. If you’re interested in finding more about those things, they are here in my blog, in previous posts.

And who knows?  Maybe I’ll get some time, soon, to re-read this post and make this one even better, too — including inserting helpful links to previous things I’ve written.

But for now, dear reader, I believe this post is good enough to publish.

And I have complete faith in you, to figure out what your needs are and to get what you need, in order to change and grow– which may or may not include what I offer you, here.

Thanks, this morning, for reading my good enough post(s).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 105: Everything makes sense on some level(s)

This seems like an important topic to me.

It really helps me to remember that everything makes sense on some level. (This seems to help other people, too.)

It’s something that I tend to forget, though.

It’s something that I keep re-learning, in new ways, as I grow.  (See this post, which people really seem to like, about re-learning things as we move through life.)

I want to start writing about this topic, in a new way, today.  I want to start telling the story differently.  (See this post, which people seem to like even more than the other one I just mentioned, about the importance of how we tell stories.)

I want to give myself room to write about this briefly — to start the conversation with you.  Because that’s another important lesson I’ve learned — it’s really valuable just to connect authentically, even for a few moments,  and start a conversation with somebody.

Really Brief Digression about the Presentation I Started Giving Last Week

At the end of the presentation I gave — called “The Power of Groups” (which is really about connecting effectively with patients, no matter where —  a medical resident put this beautifully. He said,  “What I learned today was that it’s a great start just to (1) validate a patient and (2) give them some next steps.”  (It made me so happy, that he (re-)learned that.)

End of Brief Digression

So, this is how I want to begin the conversation about this topic today.  I want to start listing things that freak me out — things that make me “too anxious,” and which can make me almost unbearably anxious when I’m under stress.

Today, I just want to name these things (thus reducing their power) and give a little bit of data about them, to start proving that they make sense on some level(s).

I am also going to divide the data into different types:  Reasons That I Share With Others (which help me feel connected to other people) and Reasons That Can Make Me Feel Different (and therefore alone).  This is something I notice all the time, in my work as a group therapist — people connect — and heal — when they realize they are not alone with feelings and experiences. At the same time, they can disconnect about things they feel alone about (and shame about).

Another thing I’ve been learning lately:  the things that make me feel alone and different might not be as isolating as I think.  So I’m going to address that in this list, too.

One More Digression (to stall and also — I hope — to be helpful)

Before I launch into this  list , which feels new, and therefore scary (see here for a fun post about that) (and yes, I am stalling — or “procrastinating” — by throwing in lots of links, because I’m anxious about writing this),  I just wanted to let you know that Naming Things and Gathering Data are #1 and #2 on  This List of Coping Strategies  — even if I don’t call them that on the list.

End of Last Digression

Okay!  Deep breath …..

Things That Freak Me Out “Too Much

# 1 : Giving a presentation freaks me out.

Why this makes sense to most people:

The top two fears of people are public speaking and death.  (See this post for more about that, plus a quote from Jerry Seinfeld.)

Why this makes sense to (only) me:

Because, when I was in college, right before I graduated, the administration decided to give English Majors an Oral Exam (as a way to reduce grade inflation).  The board of professors who gave me that exam were very tough (I experienced them as shaming and humiliating).  I started out gamely, but things they said, (like “You are about to graduate from THIS SCHOOL and you don’t know THAT??”) made me so anxious, that I kept doing worse and worse.  I felt like I was freezing and my brain slowed down, and I remembered less and less. I left the room and burst into tears.  I knew I had screwed up.  When I told a friend how I had done, he said to me, “Oh, Ann. You always think you’ve screwed up.  I know one of the professors who was there. I’ll ask him.” And I remember my friend’s face when he said to me, “I spoke to him. You were right. You failed the exam.”  And I still graduated, with honors, but at  a (much) lower level.

Why that story of mine isn’t so different from lots of other stories:

Many people have had experiences of feeling humiliated while they were speaking in front of others.

#2:  When things don’t work the way I expect them to (especially technology), I freak out.

Why this makes sense to most people:

Lots of reasons: It’s frustrating when things don’t work the way they’re supposed to!  Most of us are trying to do too much with too little, and if things don’t work correctly, we feel like we don’t have time to spare to correct for that.   Some of us, who are older, feel like we can’t keep up with all the changes in technology (computers, cell phones, etc.). Even low-tech devices (like food processors, which freak me out) require a learning curve to use smoothly.

Why this makes sense to (only) me:

I am dependent upon a technological device — a cardiac pacemaker — to help me survive.  When man-made devices fail, that reminds me (on a subconscious level, usually) that my pacemaker can fail, too. (And I had several pacemakers that didn’t work so well , when both I and pacemaker technology were very young.)

Why this story of mine isn’t so different from lots of other stories:

Hmmm. I’m not sure about this one.  Maybe … lots of people feel REALLY dependent upon technology these days.

#3.  People not telling me the truth freaks me out.

Why this makes sense to most people:

Nobody likes being lied to. It can feel like a betrayal.

Why this makes sense to (only) me:

When  I was a kid in the hospital, and had gotten my first pacemaker, nobody prepared me for what it was going to look like in my body. (It was big and it stuck out under my skin, A LOT.) When I first saw it and asked what it was, a nurse — who was the only person there while I asked — lied to me about it.  She said it was just my hip, swollen from the surgery.  (By the way, this was the story that I didn’t feel ready to tell while I was writing this post.)

Why that story of mine isn’t so different from lots of other stories:

Lots of people have been lied to — when they were small, vulnerable, and powerless –  by those who were supposed to be taking care of them (and protecting them).

Oh.  I guess this is going to be a short list this morning.

It’s a beginning list, isn’t it?

And, you know what? I just told a story — that’s really important to me —  in a new way.  In a short way. In a contained way.  In a way to honor my difference and uniqueness, but also to connect with others.

And I feel better. I feel like I changed something here.

So that concludes our post for today, ladies and gentlemen.

I hope this post made sense (to you).  It made lots of sense to me.

Thank you, so much, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 103: We don’t have feelings until we’re ready for them

I said that to a woman, in a therapy session, a few weeks ago.

We don’t have feelings until we’re ready for them.

I believed it when I said it, too.

The woman told me she found this a useful phrase, since she’d been crying a lot lately.  I could see her letting go of the fear of her own feelings, in that moment.

I remember, many years ago, somebody else explaining  to me why she never cried, with this:

 One of my tears would flood the world.

I’ve heard people say similar things, like this:

I fear if I start crying,  I will never stop.

I’ve been crying a lot lately.  I’ve been crying in my office. I’ve cried in a meeting with co-workers. I’ve cried walking down the hallway of the hospital where I work, talking to my manager.

People don’t seem to be worried about me, which is kind of amazing.

I’ve had moments where I’ve wondered if I — and they — should be worried about me.

Am I breaking down?  Is doing work that is so important to me, in a place that triggers some painful childhood memories, too much for me right now?

Or am I just having some feelings that have been there for a long, long time, because I’m ready for them?  Is it possible that for the first time in my life, I feel safe enough to have them?

Are my tears a sign of healing or a warning sign?

Today, I honestly don’t know.

Maybe it’s not an either/or question.  Maybe my tears are a sign of healing AND a warning sign.

So where does that leave me, today, at the beginning of a three-day vacation, after a week at work where I felt so friggin’ overwhelmed, that at times I  was like one of those archetypal Zombies that are appearing EVERYWHERE in the stories people are telling these days? (I’m throwing in a “Walking Dead” reference here, and not JUST to increase readership.)

Working at a hospital, being in a position to create real change — so that providers can be more present in the moment, with people  who are in emotional pain — is an incredible opportunity for me.  It’s a reparative experience, for what I did not get as a child in the hospital.  

It also makes me sad — in a new way, on a deeper level —  for what I didn’t get.

Being back in the hospital, in this new way, as an adult, triggers old memories and fears. These fears really don’t apply now. (I’m bolding that, in hopes it will help me to remember.)

Here’s another mantra, which I offered to somebody in a therapy session, many months ago:

Consider that you might be safer than you feel.

That is something I am trying to tell myself,  every day that I am working in this hospital.  But it’s hard to remember that. Especially when I am overwhelmed by feelings. And by too much work.

So I have felt particularly unsafe — scared —  at the hospital, these days. When I feel unsafe, I tend to isolate. I tend to think that people don’t care.

But now that I’m crying more publicly, my co-workers — whom I might fear, out of old habits — are showing me all sorts of things about themselves, which are helping me feel safer.

While I feel some shame about showing my tears and my fears to my co-workers, this is how they are responding to me, in words and action:

  • When you show us your feelings, we appreciate it.
  • We think you are strong.
  • We want to  help you figure out how to get what you need, so you can stay and work with us.

I want to figure out how to to get what I need, too, so I can stay and work with them.

We’ll see if we can figure it out, together.

Feeling safe enough.  Having deeper feelings. Doing — in the world — what feels valuable and true.

It’s all a work in progress, isn’t it?

Thanks for reading, on this amazing day (with lots of feelings).

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

Day 100: I Confess

This title “I Confess” came to me this morning, when I was trying to shape today’s blog post in my mind.  I knew I wanted to write  something about (1) uncharacteristically missing a second planning meeting for my high school reunion last night and (2)  doing a first presentation at work, which I’ve written about here (as a way to manage my anxiety about doing it).

I think I used the words “I confess”  in yesterday’s blog post, when I was revealing something that felt riskier to me — something I felt some shame about it.

Shame is something I’ve been particularly aware of, during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally.  As I’ve written about  before, shame is different from guilt, as follows:  Guilt is feeling like you’ve done something wrong, where shame is a more all-encompassing feeling — that there is something wrong with you.

Last night,  I realized, horror-struck, that I had totally missed the second planning meeting of the reunion, when I noticed, at 8:30, this e-mail which had been sent to me:

Ann, are you on your way?

And I wasn’t.  In a flash, I realized several things:

  • The second meeting, which I had been looking forward to, was going on THEN.
  • The date wasn’t in my iPhone calendar, although I remembered distinctly entering the next date at the first meeting.

Those were the facts.

And I sent an e-mail back and tried to phone the person who had sent it, Peter …  but no dice.  The e-mail and the phone message I left included apologies and several types of “I confess!” statements, including this one: “I suck!”

Then, I fought the automatic and distorted thoughts that come up for me — in waves — until I did hear back from Peter.  Those thoughts included some rather uncomfortable visualizations of people at the meeting waiting for me, puzzled, and then annoyed. (That’s what the mind is for, apparently, visualizing people whom you fear you’ve disappointed, being pissed at you.) (I should speak for myself. There are parts of MY mind dedicated to that kind of processing)

I also imagined people sitting at the meeting thinking things like this about me:  “Boy!  Is SHE unreliable!” “What a space shot!” and other variations of “She sucks!”

Those thoughts involved mind reading what people were thinking. They also involved my over-estimating my importance, and I had some shame about that, too.

Phew!

I did use some “antidotes,” to challenge those uncomfortable thoughts and visualizations.  But it was difficult. I had problems distracting myself. I had a pit in my stomach, until I heard back. And the e-mail said, “Don’t worry about it.”

Good advice, Peter.  I agree.  (Actually, that would have been a cool title for today’s post, too. “Don’t worry about it.” Maybe a future one.)

Arrghh!  I’m looking at the time and I want to finish this post off before I leave.

Here’s what I want to say. “I confess” indicates that Shame is in the house.  And here’s a list, that comes to mind now, of things I feel ashamed about these days:

  • That I forget things (like the reunion meeting date and my friend Jeanette’s birthday). Honestly, I don’t think I’m forgetting things that much more than I used to, and I am probably forgetting things these days because I’m so friggin’ busy at work, but there is a new way to “tell the story” of my forgetfulness now.  I just turned 60. I’m getting older. It’s a challenge, now, not to think of forgetting in a different way– as a sign of aging. (And aging, my dear readers, is not something that is really valued in this world, for the most part, is it?)
  • That I think about my own importance to others.
  • That I don’t love my iPhone, because even though I’ve had it for several months, I still screw up doing things on it, like entering calendar dates.  I feel isolated and uncool about this Lack of iPhone Love, people!  Everybody loves their iPhone, it seems.  But — I confess — I miss my Blackberry.
  • In general, things that make me uncool.
  • In general, things that make me feel different.
  • That technology in general, including my iPhone, seems to be bamboozling me in ways that feel unfamiliar to me.  Now, this might just involve the normal learning curve, when doing something new is involved. However, NOW, there is that additional shame of aging.  Am I unable to learn new technology, because .. I’m getting too old?

Here’s one more thing I want to say before I wrap up this hastily-written post and publish it — with all it’s imperfections —  I want to say a couple of things about the presentation yesterday.

  • It went fine.
  • And I confessed some things at the presentation. I self-disclosed that my passion for the work I do is somewhat fueled by “experiences I had as a child involving hospitals.”  And, I confessed that I was anxious at the beginning of the presentation.

I feel fine about those confessions, because they fit the presentation.  And they were short and sweet.

I like being transparent and “confessing”, when it helps other people (and me, too).  I think NAMING things can be very helpful.

Sometimes it’s confusing to know what to reveal. Sometimes it’s confusing to know whom to reveal things to. I confess: those are issues for me here, too, as I write to you.

Blogging as confession.

I guess there’s no shame in that.

Thanks for reading.

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

Day 99: Importance and unimportance, continued

Three days ago, I wrote about the phrase

“We are neither as important or as unimportant as we fear.”

And I dedicated that post to my friend, Jeanette, because I THOUGHT it was her birthday that day.

And it wasn’t her birthday.

I had tried to be a detective, figure it out, and be sure about it. But I was a lousy detective.

Every year, I have trouble remembering Jeanette’s birthday. I know it’s in April, and I know it’s a single digit, but I am vague about the actual date.

And because I’ve known her for so long, and she is so important to me, I always think that I SHOULD know her birthday.

I’m afraid that she might misunderstand my not remembering. I fear that she might translate that into misunderstanding her importance to me.

I have that fear about other people too, because I can forget things about them. I tend to forget details about people’s lives. And I worry about how they might interpret that.

By the way, I panicked momentarily after I posted the erroneous birthday greeting. It was my worst fear coming true. Not only did I get her birthday gone, but, boy, did I make that mistake public! I felt terrible, beat myself up about my carelessness, and imagined Jeanette having all sorts of negative reactions.

That’s what the mind is for, apparently: imagining people you care about having all sorts of negative reactions to you.

However, I am glad to report this: I let go of those negative thoughts and fears REALLY QUICKLY. I mean, I’m talking five minutes. Then, I got in touch with the more probable story — that Jeanette would be okay — that she wouldn’t equate my mistaken birthday wish with her importance to me.

And I quickly used the antidote of Reality Testing. I called her. And she was laughing about it. She expressed all sorts of POSITIVE feelings about the post, not negative ones.

Before I end this, I wanted to write about another side of this issue of memory and importance.

Confession time!

When people forget details about my life or forget what I’ve told them, I can have a negative reaction to that. Not always, but especially if I’m feeling vulnerable, or thinking negative thoughts about myself. Then, people forgetting my birthday or other details about me can cause this thought to crop up:

I am not important to other people. If I was, they would remember things about me.

I also feel some shame about wanting to be more important to people — so that they do remember details about me.

But here’s the way I’m telling the story today. Every connection is important. I matter to other people. People matter to me. We affect each other.

And trying to figure out importance, based on details remembered, does not help.

Proof of that last sentence: I have trouble remembering Jeanette’s birthday, and she is very important to me.

However, I think, this might be the year — This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally — that I finally get her birthday into my head.

It’s 4/9!!

Happy Birthday, Jeanette.

And thanks for reading.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 98: What if the concept of failure did not exist?

Just asking.

Thanks for considering that, dear reader.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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