Posts Tagged With: trust

Day 1830: Non-disparagement agreement

Today, I’m waking up to news about a lawsuit regarding the violation of a non-disparagement agreement between Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.

Please don’t disparage me about this, but I didn’t know that non-disparagement agreements were a thing, much less legally enforceable.

In five years of writing this daily blog — even without the benefit of having a non-disparagement agreement with my readers — I can’t remember receiving any disparaging comments.  Maybe non-disparagement agreements don’t have to be in writing. Maybe we can all just agree not to disparage each other, even when we don’t agree.

However, I’m thinking that written  non-disparagement agreements might be useful for reducing self-disparagement. Here’s a first draft of that kind of non-disparagement agreement:

I agree not to disparage myself, silently or out loud.


(your name here)

I agree not to disparage myself about my other photos from yesterday.






I don’t want to disparage the people in the news these days, but I wish they’d act more like adults. If they did, perhaps people in my therapy groups wouldn’t be focusing so much on self-protection.

Should we disparage this  YouTube video?


What do you think about non-disparagement agreements? No disparagement here, even if we disagree.

As always, I agree to  (1) write every day that I am able and (2) express gratitude at the end of each post.



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

Day 1619: Who do you trust?

Who do you trust?

Do you trust the leaders of your country?

Do you trust what a teabag tells you?


Do you trust yourself to speak?

Do you trust your friends?

Do you trust your family?

Do you trust people to do their jobs?

Do you trust a Prius owner with a Trump bumper sticker?


Do you trust the weather?

Do you trust the forecasters?

Do you trust the news?

Do you trust your sports teams?

Do you trust your head or your heart?


Do you trust the food you eat?


Do you trust me to choose “Who Do You Trust” videos (herehere and here on YouTube)?

I trust you to leave trustworthy comments.

Who do you trust to express gratitude for all who helped create this blog post and — of course! —  for you?  I hope you trust me.

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

Day 1536: How People Change

“How People Change” is a topic  of extreme interest to psychotherapists.

“How People Change” was also  the topic that my therapy group — filled with people who are very interested in change —  discussed yesterday morning.

Therefore, “How People Change” is the topic of today’s post.

I, a person, change every day. However, I do not change certain things — like  including recent photos in my daily blog.


Because I’m not sure how WordPress is changing the size of that photograph on your current screen, here’s what I wrote about “How People Change” in yesterday’s group:

Everybody changes in different ways.

Flexibility is important!

Changes we choose are much easier to tolerate than changes we do not choose.

We deal with change a lot in this group because people come and go.

After the group, I changed the “angel card” in that description of change, just for the sake of change.


What do you think of that change, people?

Do you see evidence of how people change in my other photos from yesterday?





















The reality is that I recited/sang these lyrics from the David Bowie song “Changes” in group yesterday.

(Turn and face the strange)
Don’t want to be a richer man
(Turn and face the strange)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

See and hear how David Bowie changed singing “Changes” as time changed him (here, here, and here on YouTube)


Some people have said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Even though I change all the time, my gratitude  — for all who help me create these posts and for you, my readers — stays the same!

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

Day 1514: Trust

Trust me to start a blog post with a definition.

1.firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
“relations have to be built on trust”
synonyms: confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, credence, reliance
“good relationships are built on trust”
confidence placed in a person by making that person the nominal owner of property to be held or used for the benefit of one or more others.
1.believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.
“I should never have trusted her”
synonyms: rely on, depend on, bank on, count on, be sure of
“he can be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation”
allow credit to (a customer).

Do you trust that definition?  What helps or hinders your trust?

I trust that my  boyfriend, Michael, will say this again in the near future:

“Who are you going to trust?  Me or your lying eyes?”

Trusty Michael says that when we’re discussing people in power whom we don’t trust.

Do you trust that my eyes have seen all these things?













 Is there trust in your heart, here and now? Do you trust that I’ll find music about trust on YouTube?

Do you trust me to end each post with thanks to all who helped me create it and — of course! — to you?


Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 1213: Intent

Yesterday, my intent was to write about “Purpose.”

Today, my purpose is to write about “Intent.”

Where did this purposeful intent come from? From a discussion, yesterday, in a therapy session.


It was my intent to  suggest, there, that people ask that intentional question when somebody has said something confusing, confounding, or hurtful.

Here are all the other photos I took yesterday, with intent.



Can you guess my intent in taking any of those photos?  I hope the intent of this post tells you that you can always intentionally ask.

What music do I intend to include here?

I am intentionally inspired by my own photos to include this

… and this:

Is it your intent to leave a comment today?

It is my intent to thank all who helped me create this post and you — of course! — no matter what your intent for visiting here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 1132: Be suspicious

Are you suspicious of

  • other people?
  • yourself?
  • what you hear?
  • what you see?
  • what you smell?
  • what you taste?
  • what you touch?
  • the water you drink?
  • the food you eat?
  • the news media?
  • weather forecasts?
  • other predictions about the future?
  • your memory?
  • your beliefs?
  • other people’s beliefs?
  • technology?
  • the internet?
  • what other people tell you?
  • the unknown?
  • advertising?
  • cultural norms?
  • your own dreams?
  • things that are too good to be true?
  • blogs?

Be suspicious about other people listing your possible suspicions.  What are you suspicious of?

Be suspicious about what inspires my post titles, which is often something I’ve seen the day before.


Be suspicious of other people telling you what to do.

I tend to be suspicious of

  • harshly critical thoughts
  • cognitive distortions (a suspiciously complete list of those is here)
  • easy answers
  • phony smiles
  • people who don’t listen
  • rigidity, and
  • too much suspicion.

Be suspicious when somebody offers to show you pictures, such as these:

Please don’t be suspicious about leaving a comment, which I suspect will be awesome.

Be suspicious when I don’t express thanks to all those who help me create a post and also to you — of course! — for reading my suspicious blog, here and now.

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 536: Progress Report #3

Twice before (here and here), I’ve written a progress report, during these Years of Living Non-judgmentally.

I just re-read those two previous progress posts and — you know what? — they were pretty darn good.

Aha!  One area of progress has appeared in today’s blog post, already:


While I still use the word “bragging” when I compliment myself, I’m feeling easier about accepting positive statements from others and making them about myself.

It’s still a priority for me to send out as many authentic, complimentary messages as possible. I am also making progress balancing my enjoyment of giving out compliments  with sensitivity to other people’s comfort with them.

Yesterday morning, I met somebody new: the mother of a friend of my son, Aaron. When I saw this, in her kitchen


… I complimented her on it.

Also, I bragged to her about my blog.

She and the rest of her family are moving to Michigan. They won’t have a permanent place to live, before they move, so they’re only taking essentials with them, to begin their new life there. She’s been telling her family to “think of it as an indoor camping trip.” I complimented her on that, too.


Observing and interpreting messages from people, etc.

I also see progress in paying attention to all kinds of communication, from people I encounter, and elsewhere.




By being open to more types of communication, I observe others doing the same:



Another area of progress: If I cannot make sense of the communication, I am doing better at letting that go, and moving on.




This continues to be a challenging area for me (and others I observe).  How much to trust, and whom?

Sometimes, I trust too much. For example, I often look at my shoulder bag and notice it’s open:


Why?  Perhaps I’m focusing, too much, on other things.

Yesterday, I trusted somebody new:


That’s Niso, at Brookline Foreign Motors. Niso is also a DJ; “It’s in my blood,” he said. We had an interesting conversation about people being “too dependent upon technology” relating to music AND cars. We talked about the new safety features on new cars that automatically alert drivers about obstacles in their way.  The other day, when Niso was leaving his driveway, he almost hit somebody, when an alarm didn’t go off.  We agreed it’s better to pay attention, some times, the old-fashioned way.

Being like-minded that way, with Niso, helped increase my trust. These items, observed close by, also helped:




I liked what I observed yesterday, at Brookline Foreign Motors.

Being open to beauty, all around.

I’m doing pretty well at that, lately, but I have to confess: this is much easier for me, during the warmer weather.  But I still need to give myself — and beautiful Boston, USA — credit for progress:







Celebrating other people’s progress.

From my whiteboard at work:



Progress reports can really help, don’t you think?

Thanks to Jack’s mother, to Niso, to Brookline and Boston, to Frederick Law Olmsted (for the Emerald Necklace),  to people who do their best with new situations, to creatures who respectfully share space with others, to all those who give themselves credit for any amount of progress, and to you — of course! — for progressing here, today.


Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 324: Trust in Self

Yesterday, people who had gathered for a therapy group decided to focus on this topic:

Trust in self.

The questions people answered, during the group, included these:

  1. What does “trust in self” mean to you?
  2. What tends to decrease your trust in yourself?
  3. What tends to increase your trust in yourself?

My own thoughts, about “trust in self,” right now?

When I got up this morning, I had trust that I would write a post that would be meaningful.

I just went into another room, and this is what I found:


That’s something I’m familiar with, because I purchased it five months ago, in May, during my spring vacation.  That mug has already appeared in another post, here.

I also found something else, which is a new arrival to this home:


Here’s what I want to tell you about that piece of art:

It’s a watercolor, painted by my long-time friend, Paul Nagano, who appeared in a blog post that was very important to me:  “A walk down Boylston Street, Boston, on April 29, 2013.”

As my son just said, “It looks brighter in real life” (if you can imagine that).

Paul’s watercolor is now hanging in a spot that has been conspicuously empty, in our home, since we moved here.

I was waiting to find the “right thing.”

I had trust in myself that I would.

I did.

I mean, look at it, people!

It’s Boston, and it’s springtime!

Many thanks to Paul Nagano, to people who (are learning to) trust themselves, and to you — of course!  — for visiting here today.

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

Day 217: Strangers

Throughout my life, various people — who have wanted me to be safe — have said this:

Don’t talk to strangers.

Sometimes,  I’m not sure what to do with that advice.  It speaks to this very difficult question:

Who do I trust?

(which I wrote about, here,  in “Day 89: Is somebody trying to sell me something?”)

Yes, “Who do I Trust?”  is a very difficult question, with evolving, best-guess, and survival-oriented answers.

Who do you trust?  And when is it safe enough to connect with somebody?

When I offer people the opportunity to participate in group therapy,  a lot of people say “no,” stating completely reasonable reasons like this:

I don’t want to tell a bunch of strangers my problems.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? And I respect and honor that natural impulse, to protect oneself from strangers.

I, myself, have a fear of strangers. And of the unknown, in general.

And yet, this is something I see all the time: People taking a leap of trust, coming together with strangers, and helping each other heal.

It’s amazing how quickly people can negotiate their fears, making choices that feel safe enough, and connect to other people.

However, no matter how many times that happens,  that self-preservation — that healthy caution about strangers — remains.

Often, at the end of a group therapy session of no-longer-strangers, people will state their wish that the others in the group will be there the next time.  I hear a concern that, the next time, strangers will be there.

And sometimes I say this, “Well, none of you knew each other at the beginning of this meeting, either.”

And people will say, “That’s true.”

And I see a mixture of comfort and caution on their faces.

Which makes sense, doesn’t it?

Before I end this post, I wanted to show an event I attended where I encountered some strangers:

Last weekend, I visited the  Chairful Where You Sit charity event, in Arlington, MA.  Here’s a description of Chairful Where You Sit:


After talking to the person was running the event at that location that day, I decided to purchase a chair.

This was a charitable act and also a selfish one. Let me explain:  I have been wanting to expand my very helpful practice of mindfulness by meditating every day.  Meditation is new (and therefore strange) to me, and to overcome my resistance to that, I knew it would help to designate a Place To Meditate.

And this is what I got at Chairful Where You Sit:


Thanks to Lynn Rosenbaum,  to mindful friends and strangers, and to you, for sitting and reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 89: Is somebody trying to sell me something?

(Note: This post was inspired by recent encounters with people — in the Blog-o-Sphere and elsewhere — who seem to be selling something.)

Is somebody trying to sell me something?  The answer to this question — no matter when I’m asking it — is undoubtably “Yes.”

Somebody  IS trying to sell me (and you) something, at any particular moment.

Why?  Because people have to survive, economically.  They have to make money.  And in order to make money, they have to sell something.

So when people are interacting with each other, sometimes $$$ is a major factor.  And that affects the communication, doesn’t it?

How could it not?

How important is it that we figure out HOW MUCH that is affecting the interaction?

It can feel very important to me.

If I am not aware of how money — the attempt to sell — is an aspect of an interaction, I might be taken advantage of. I might misinterpret what is happening in the communication.  I might assume I’m being seen in some way other than this:


When I  start with a different assumption — a belief that an interaction is based on a non-monetary wish to connect — and then realize that money is at the heart of the transaction,  I can feel naive, like a fool.

I might feel the DTOS (Dreaded Thud of Shame).


Then, I might start asking questions like, “Who can I trust?”

The answer might become extreme:


That’s not just a visual quote from the “X-Files.”  It’s also some serious  All-Or-Nothing Thinking (yep, another cognitive distortion):

All-or-Nothing thinking (also known as “Black-and-White thinking”).
Things are either all good or all bad, people are either perfect or failures, something new will either fix everything or be worthless. There is no middle ground; we place people and situations in “either/or” categories, with no shades of gray, or allowing for complexities.  Watch out for absolute words like “always”, “never,” “totally,” etc. as indications of this kind of distortion.

It’s not helpful for me to think about trusting other people in all-or-nothing terms, or in any kind of extreme or rigid way.

It’s not  helpful for me to be less trusting, just because selling IS everywhere.  So what if  most of the e-mails, snail mails, and messages surrounding me ARE trying to sell me something? That doesn’t have to seep into my general experience of connection in the world.

Sometimes,  all the selling out there — and my  fears about my ability to accurately see and negotiate that —  can affect my experience of relationships.  I can become hyper-aware of people’s self-interest, and even wonder how much room there is for anything else.

But focusing on self-interest in relationships is  a distortion, too.  Self-interest is there, of course.  It has to be.  But there is  ALSO room for empathy, connection, and all the other human emotions and impulses that exist besides self-interest.


So if I start to think that I am

  • naive
  • too trusting
  • in danger of being taken advantage of, or
  • in need of putting my guard up  (including with people I know)

it’s time to back off on those All or Nothing thoughts about trust.

It’s also time to back off from labels like “naive.” Hey!  I’m actually not naive.  I may make mistakes. Who doesn’t?  I’d have to be a mind reader to know people’s intentions, all the time.   Labeling myself as “naive” or “too trusting” ignores and downplays my experience — what I’ve learned in negotiating interpersonal issues in the past.

And, really, I’ve done all right so far.  I’ve managed to retain — in  the face of all those people selling things out there —  what I need, to keep going (like the computer I’m typing this post on, for example).

And  if somebody does “rip me off” in some way in the future, I’ll learn from that and survive it, probably quite nicely.

All those things are helpful to remember.  Very helpful.

THE CLOSE* (one more time)

So the answer to the question


is not an all-or-nothing one.  It’s neither “everybody” nor “no one.”

Trust, like most things, can vary. I can choose how much I trust and whom, and adjust that based on new and changing information.  And, I probably have more personal power in any interaction — involving $$$ or not — than I  may think.

Ta da!

Thanks for reading (and for trusting, in some degree or another).


*  A sales term for wrapping up and ending.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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