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Rising Strong International cyber-bookclub Ch. 6

Rising Strong International cyber-bookclub Ch. 6

Chapter Six, Spearheaded by Wendy Goldstein

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! I wish you a safe, healthy, and joyous New Year. As we launch into 2016, I want to thank you again for being a part of this journey. We're already half way through.

Before we begin, I want to reiterate some information I put on Facebook about making comments because it’s important to me that everyone understand diverse points of view are welcome here. This is what I wrote:

You do NOT have to be a huge Brené Brown fan to post comments about the book or what we're talking about! It helps, of course, because most of us are big fans of her work. After all, that's why I wanted to start this project. HOWEVER, ALL OPINIONS ARE WELCOME. If her work isn't hitting the bulls-eye in your heart, I'd love to hear about it. Also, comments do not need to be long nor do you need to comment on every comment as I have been doing. (That's a lot of "comments.") Anyway--the point is, It's up to you what and how much you'd like to say and I, for one, want to hear it!!

Catch up on the previous chapters here:
Introduction/Chapter 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5

I’d like to again thank each chapter's spearheader, but particularly this week’s “header,” Wendy. Wendy was hesitant to participate, but I encouraged her to do so if she could do so in a manner that made sense to her. She thought about it for a while, so long in fact that I assumed she wanted to pass and asked Maria to take over. Maria kindly agreed. But then I opened my email the other day and surprise! Wendy took the plunge. I happily offered to post both Maria's and Wendy's posts this week, but Maria graciously bowed out. Below is what Wendy wrote. I know you’ll all give her love and support as she has, by facing her fear and embracing her vulnerability, embodied the essence of badassery.  Here we go. Thank you Wendy!

Chapter 6 – Sewer Rats and Scofflaws; Rumbling with boundaries, integrity and generosity.

Although I haven’t commented – I have followed along with the book, and have read the comments on each chapter.  I think part of the reason I have been so hesitant to participate with all of you became clearer as I read Chapter 6.  

Tracey asked me to identify one concrete part of the chapter that lead me to my thoughts – so here goes (follow this if you can)….With every word I read I tried so hard to ‘apply’ it to myself in an effort to fit in with the cool kids. My book is dog-eared, underlined, and asterisked galore. But I couldn’t find that one thing that resonated with me. Until I read the section where Brené was describing her experience of having to share a room with her polar opposite. It made me think of an episode of Friends when Monica’s identity was stolen. Monica met the sewer rat/scofflaw and before she could bust her for stealing and using her credit card and name, she was intrigued by fake Monica’s zest for life and sense of pure adventure.  (You see this is where we may differ…I have seen EVERY episode of Friends about 11 times). Where the parallel of that scene from the t.v. show and Brené’s experience lies is that both the written and the real experiences led them to a reckoning. For the fictional Monica – it was a lesson in living life to its fullest, putting yourself out there, and taking risks. For the real Brené – it was the beginning of her SFD and some key learning about blaming others less, taking responsibility for your own well-being, and making choices.  

The Reckoning:  The feelings of inadequacy I am having for not having a “story” like the rest of you. You are an intimidating bunch!  Sure, I have my share of trials and tribulations being the mom of a 16 and an 11 year whose husband works long and hard in a career that he loves.  I have seen tragedy and joy in my 51 and 11/12ths years and 20 years of marriage. I have recently re-joined the work (for a paycheck kind of work) force after a 14 year hiatus.  I worry about money almost all the time – 2017 is looming closer and that year I’ll have a Bat Mitzvah, a high school graduation, my mortgage needs refinancing,  1st year of college and the list goes on and on.

But I don’t have a ‘why’ when it comes to this book club  - I am not writing a memoir, don’ t have a loved one with mental illness, and I am not trying to find myself or discover the real me.  Frankly – I am just not that deep. The fact that I read this book and what comes to mind? A scene from a '90s sitcom? And that, my friends, is the rub. I am reckoning with (read: grappling with ) the fact that I have been impersonating a deep, mindful person for all these years.  

The Rumbling:  I rumble with feelings all the time. I rumble with feelings of inadequacy constantly. Not good enough wife, friend, mother, human. I am ‘not doing the best I can’. I turn to snarkiness and cynicism to mask those feelings.  “Oh look at her – she’s so ‘smart’ and witty. She’s got it together!” When in actuality, I cower at the thought having to be social and smart and ‘on’ all the time. There are very few people with whom I am truly comfortable. And I am not one of them.  

I guess I am just such a pessimist – a glass is more than half empty kind of pessimist.  I have learned not to set expectations too high, because the let down is only that much greater. And I resent others for having the ability to live loftier, more soulful – dare I say mindful lives.  

What’s worse is that I am poisoning my children into having the same shitty feelings and destiny.  

I am a scofflaw with proviso.* The proviso is that while I know the rules, and follow them most of the time – I don’t mock people who follow them all the time, I judge them.  Worse – I pity them.  I’d rather be made fun of than pitied.  

This is where I found my story – as I just wrote my Shitty First Draft. I am reading Rising Strong to save my girls from myself.  

Up Next: Chapter 7, spearheaded by Martha Sullivan

  • 30 December 2015
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 2541
  • Comments: 26
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26 comments on article "Rising Strong International cyber-bookclub Ch. 6"

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Martha

12/31/2015 1:19 PM

Wow - do I feel better after reading Wendy's post! I, too, have struggled to find something transformative in the book, though I have found a few thought provoking jewels of wisdom in each chapter. I love your comparison to a Friends episode! It made me smile and made me feel more comfortable about the discussions. Thank you, Wendy!


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Tracey Yokas

1/2/2016 8:13 PM

I'm so glad you're feeling more comfortable Martha. I'm very much looking forward to your post for next week! Can't wait. And as I've said...all opinions, all points of view will be welcome here. We're all different and appreciate and don't appreciate different things. Regardless of whether our comments may be considered "pro" or "con," all comments and points of view are important and have much to teach us. Thank you Martha, also, for telling us that you were feeling uncomfortable. This too is part of writing your SFD! Thank you.


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Wendy Goldstein

1/6/2016 10:03 AM

Thanks, Martha. I feel better after reading all these comments! As Brene said in earlier chapters...everyone's struggles are their own. And, we are all doing our best (or at least strive to).


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Susan Schwartz

12/31/2015 6:51 PM

Wow, Wendy! Thank you so much for deciding to spearhead this chapter. I think you are deeper than you give yourself credit for. I think you bring a great mix to this group that you say is "an intimidating bunch."

If you knew me personally, I'm sure you would not describe me as intimidating. lol

The rumbling you are experiencing, those feelings of inadequacy, trying to appear "on" or "smart" when not feeling comfortable socially, and struggling with the lessons you are teaching your children... well, this could have been me writing those words many years ago! Maybe we are at different stages of our journey. The fact that you rumble, that you can identify that you are not living, as Brene would say, a "wholehearted" life, tells me loud and clear that you are deep. But dealing with those feelings is hard - I know because I've worked/am working through them.

I spent years trying to fit in with various groups, to appear likable in whatever way the group at large seemed to want. In those days, fitting in would mean I was better than I thought I was. But I never really fit into those groups, and now, in hindsight, I understand why. They weren't my kind of people, and I wasn't being myself. If I had understood who I really was back then, I would not have tried to seek their approval or friendship because I really didn't care for them. I cared more about what they thought of me. As Brene says, stop trying to fit in; just be who you are and the right people will find you.

What I'm trying to say, Wendy, is that learning who you really are can be a long, hard process. You may have to get deeper into your emotions to discover the true value in yourself. It's priceless to feel good and accepting of yourself. I'm not saying that I never feel inadequate or that I never worry about appearing stupid. But I sure can say that those demons don't haunt me nearly as much as they used to. If you think you are "poisoning" your children into having the same destiny as you, you are at a crossroad. You have a choice to make your life better as well as teach your children some important lessons on self-acceptance and not settling for less when you have the power to attain more.

People who appear "surfacey" (as in surface-ee) may not be. Sometimes it's easier to pretend life is good, life is simple. People are complex. Our feelings effect our behavior and feelings are complicated. How you deal with tough feelings is important. Either you act out on them or you deal with them in healthy ways. (I was shy for many years, and people may have thought there wasn't much to me, but oh was I thinking a lot! I was "acting out" on the fear that the more I said, the more chance there was that I'd say something stupid). I've found that dealing with my feelings in healthy ways leads to more happiness for me (and for my loved ones, who don't have to deal with my otherwise acting out!). You are not alone and you are badass!


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Nancy Glenn

1/1/2016 10:34 AM

Susan, kudos re: your caution about people who are "surfacey." In my 65 years, I have yet to meet anyone, no matter how shiney-perfect he/she may appear, who when scratched beneath the surface is anything less than complex. Often, the more polished on the outside, the more baggage and the better-practiced at denial and obfuscation, hiding the truth. I have found this so often to be true that I almost assume it's true when I meet someone who appears "perfect." We are all scarred and flawed. This is the human condition. It's how we rise up that makes us wise and whole again.


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Tracey Yokas

1/2/2016 8:26 PM

Here, here Nancy!


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Xeno Hemlock

1/4/2016 9:50 AM

Well said, Sue!

So true that knowing/finding ourselves can be a long journey. But it's the journey not the destination that's fun and worthwhile anyway.


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Tracey Yokas

1/4/2016 5:23 PM

Oh yes, Sue! "The rumbling you are experiencing, those feelings of inadequacy, trying to appear "on" or "smart" when not feeling comfortable socially, and struggling with the lessons you are teaching your children... well, this could have been me writing those words many years ago!" What you wrote to Wendy I could write to her and to you, too!! I guess maybe we don't all do this to the same extent, but as the mother of a teenager, it sure seems like a phase we all go through at some point. Oh--how I've done this. And, frankly, sometimes continue to do it depending on circumstances. If I really feel out of my league, I still resort to this old behavior of trying desperately to fit in, to be liked, to appear smart and funny and witty and engaging. How exhausting! Eventually, I remember why I stopped doing all this silliness, but yet, there the silliness is, always lurking in the corner. Also, I can relate to the demons not haunting me like they used to. I used to ruminate...a lot. About almost everything. After every conversation, hangout, work exchange etc, I ruminated over whether or not I said something stupid, was I a good friend, did I say the right things etc. I'm sure all the ruminating-before, during, and after-caused me to act in ways exactly opposite to how I wanted to. Oh well, once again, we're learning more about our learning curves and the work it takes to get us where we'd like to be. Thanks Sue--great comment.


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Wendy Goldstein

1/6/2016 10:10 AM

Just had this conversation with Emily (my teenager) yesterday ...about how how we see ourselves in our mind's eye and that struggle between how we see ourselves and how others see us.

I reminded her that even those that " have it going on" don't always have it going on. Not to assume anything about people - You know, that whole "judging a book by it's cover" thing.


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Wendy Goldstein

1/6/2016 10:05 AM

thanks for validation, Susan. Perhaps that is what I am looking for in all of this.


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Nancy Glenn

1/1/2016 10:23 AM

Wendy, Maya Angelou has said "We are more alike than we are different." She was right. You are coming out of hiding, exposing yourself, being vulnerable through authenticity! Dr. Brown would love you and applaud loudest. I'm betting and hoping all of us either are or have been where you are or somewhere along the continuum toward authenticity. I believe it is a lifelong quest but I'm going to stop here and let Brene Brown's YouTube video on Vulnerability speak to where you are so much more powerfully than I -- this is a TED Talk I share each semester with my graduate students and view every year myself as a reminder of the power of authenticity. Please, please watch the video - just Google Brene Brown TED Talk Vulnerability and it will pop up. Congratulations in your progress; your children are benefactors, of course, but you are the greatest benefactor!


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Tracey Yokas

1/2/2016 8:27 PM

Yes Nancy...it's a great video. I'll try to remember to include the link for it along with next week's post. Thanks for the reminder.


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Stephanie Maley

1/2/2016 3:51 PM

Thank you, Wendy, for your authenticity and for agreeing to facilitate. That takes courage. Writing to an "intimidating bunch" (I, too, do not belong in that category), really is showing up and being seen.

I have been reckoning with depression - probably chemically based as well as environmentally. My rumble has been admitting my depression to myself. I do not want to be on medicine for it. "If only I were enough. I am not relevant. I should be able to push through this..." A shroud of darkness has clung to me on and off for the past 6 months. I started on an antidepressant a few days ago.

Brene's research on people doing the best they can sparked hope in me. I need to believe that people are doing their best and that I AM doing my best. This is the revolution. I have my part to play by taking care of myself - mentally, physically, and spiritually, as well as allowing others the same prerogative.

I love the connection about boundaries and their place in helping us to stay in our integrity and to make generous assumptions about other's motivation, intentions, or behaviors. Boundaries lead to self-care. I want/need more of that.


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Tracey Yokas

1/2/2016 8:24 PM

Thank you so much Steph for your comment. I'm sorry to hear that you've been in such pain these last 6 months. I hope the medication will bring you some relief. It's such a difficult decision, but it is also a generous act of self-care. You do not have to suffer more than you already are...and we don't want you to! I know you're family doesn't want you to either. Take good care of yourself during this difficult time. You deserve it. Brene's research on people doing the best they can is huge for me too. Like you, it brings much hope. I didn't believe this was true for a very long time, but the older I get and the less hard I am on myself, the more generous I am with me and with others. I recently realized that I am doing the best I can, even when my very best isn't that great, as in what I wrote in my response to Crystal. I can be very judgmental, but I am aware of it now and work hard to nip it in the bud. Telling myself that people are doing the best they can also helps me stay mindful of sending out more positive vibes to the universe. If you're into the whole loving-kindness sort of stuff, it's hard to send out loving kindness if you think, generally, that people are assholes. Boundaries do indeed lead to self-care and I plan to make more self-care an intention for 2016. Thank you so much Steph..sending you lots of love now and always.


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Crystal Chin

1/2/2016 5:36 PM

Thank you Wendy! What you have done for your kids, rumbling and taking that first step by writing your "SFD," is what I know so many people wished their own parents would do. The best part is, it's not just for your kids, but for yourself. This chapter was huge for me. I struggle everyday with wondering if people are doing their very best and I find myself fighting a harsh judging mind way too often. I never really understood it until Brené pointed out that it's a result of a lack of clear boundary making and perfectionism…my achilles heels! I often find myself trying to be nice or fit in but then wonder why I become this angry, critical person. It's not pleasant! While I try to avoid the discomfort in the beginning of creating boundaries, I end up creating a holy mess over time that could've been avoided. I will be re-reading this chapter many times over!


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Tracey Yokas

1/2/2016 8:17 PM

I relate so much to what you have to say here Crystal. I, too, was struck by the connection of a lack of boundaries to perfectionism and to resentment. Resentment is a big one for me, as is perfectionism. I often find myself judging others and then, when I realize it, get really down on myself for doing it! It is a vicious cycle. It makes complete sense to me that having very clear and very defined boundaries helps those around us, but ourselves most of all. I no longer do resolutions, but I am setting this as a big intention for me for 2016--to determine what my boundaries are, to make them very clear to myself and to those around me, and to demand accountability in a loving yet firm way from myself and others. I think this simple on one hand and complicated on the other hand change will make a big difference in a lot of things for my life in 2016. I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Thank you Crystal!


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Wendy Goldstein

1/6/2016 10:48 PM

Crystal - we are taught boundaries as itty bitty's ("don't touch that, hands out of your mouth, be nice, good girls don't...") and I believe they are necessary to avoid chaos. The rumbings happen when those boundaries create expectations that are out of our control. When we don't reach the expectations...we are dissapointed and ulitimately resent those boundaries and whatever crosses their paths. Why can't it be simpler?


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Tracey Yokas

1/2/2016 8:45 PM

Thank you Wendy, for your bravery and badassery. I love what you wrote, and, as you can see, so do others. First, let me say, we're not at all different in the TV department. Friends might not be my show of choice, but I can say with assurance that I've seen every episode of LOTS of other shows at least that many times and probably more. So kudos to you for likening Brene's chapter to a show. This makes her work and your comment very relatable. I spent my entire childhood and more years during my adulthood than I care to admit living in the movie in my mind. It's a great place to live if you don't have to live with real humans, but if you do have to live with real humans it can cause a wee bit of trouble. Anyway, I love television and lots of other people do too so yay! Yay, Friends. Yay NCIS. Yay SVU Yay whatever is your "poison" of choice. Just yay yay yay.

I, too, had to smile with the "intimidating bunch" line. I've never considered myself that in all my life! I know you meant that as a compliment, so thank you, but I know you and consider you to be pretty intimidating yourself. That's the problem, isn't it? We can always see these amazing positive attributes in others but rarely do we see them in ourselves. And let me say, that if you struggle with not feeling enough--you sure do have a story like the rest of us. As I've said before, the details may be different, but the underlying stuff is startlingly similar. I agree with Susan. I think you are "deeper" than you give yourself credit for. I'm not sure being deep is really that important per se--we're all deep in our own ways. But you are thinking about these things, and grappling with them. That automatically qualifies you in the realm of working on living a wholehearted life. I also agree with Nancy. Brene would applaud for you, and loudly. (Me, too :))

One connection that really struck me in this chapter was self-righteousness. This, to me, is part of judgment. Over the years, off and on, I have struggled mightily with this one. I knew I didn't feel good about it outwardly or inwardly but never understood why. I breathed a loud sigh when I read, "Self-righteousness is just the armor of self-loathing." WOW "We don't compare when we feel good about ourselves; we look for what's good in others." WOW I have been paying much more attention to this lately and I have found this so true. This is a simplification, but when I'm in a good place I'm looking for ways to try to help others. I'm excited for their victories, and ecstatic. I try to share information I think will help. etc. When I'm in a bad place, I don't do any of that. I'm selfish, I think there's not enough to go around (which I know is not true.) etc...this was a big chapter for me too. Thank you Wendy, for your valuable insights.


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Patricia Young

1/3/2016 6:50 PM

Wendy! YOU just kicked ass all over the place! This is one of the bestest authentic and honest pieces of writing I've ever read! Good for you for throwing caution into the wind and saying 'f*ck it' and write from the heart. Wow - intimidating was the last vocabulary word I would have described myself as. I've got to agree with every one else - as I stand behind them and should "Yeah!" And of course Ms Angelou rocks. Her wisdom is so simply, shooting straight from the hip and includes everybody - you can't argue with that! YOU my dear could have easily taken a back seat and no one would have been the wiser - but look what you did?! Putting yourself, your thoughts, ideas and insight out there resonated with every one. And I have no doubt, it will absolutely resonate with your children. If I may share, one of the biggest Ah Ha moments was when I had my kids join me in a 'let it go' kind of ceremony when they were in elementary school. We didn't belong to any house of worship, but practice some Buddhism values. Since we didn't have set in stone traditions, I wanted to create some of our own. One of them was writing down what we were frightened of, upset about, a bad situation etc. Then burning them - watching them turn to ash and letting it go. We can't change it, but we don't have to let it leave rent free in our brain. (my mom's words). My daughters watched the fire flame up and papers turn to ash. As we sat there I looked at each one and said if I have offended you, hurt you, or wronged you in any way. I am deeply sorry. I love you more than life itself, but I'm human too and make mistakes. After all the tears were dried and hugs given, my youngest told me that was the most amazing thing I could have ever said. Our relationship became something more. I can't explain it, there is no word for it, but its different. Its better. I have no doubt that what you've just proven to yourself - cause baby lets face it - YOU are the only one you need to impress. Your kids will be moved in some way, shape or form. It will make them think - and that is outstanding!

Chapter Six was great - but I have learned so much reading Wendy's post, that to echo my fellow writers words would just be taking up space.

Well done Wendy! Well done! Now - Write! YOU have a story to tell and people to connect with. You are enough! XO


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Tracey Yokas

1/4/2016 5:32 PM

What a wonderful ritual you created Patty. Did you continue this throughout the years?? It's amazing to me that you mentioned rituals because I have been thinking about them non-stop for the last couple of weeks. I'm missing more ritual in my life and have been contemplating what I can do to change that, but also why I want to change it. (There'll be a blog post about this coming soon...I hope!) Anyway, what a great idea. When my daughter was in treatment, we had to do something slightly similar. It was a forgiveness ritual. What struck me like a ton of bricks as we were doing it, was that every single parent in the room had forgiven their child 100 times over for the mistakes they made, the pain and hurt they caused etc. And usually right when the incident happened or at least shortly thereafter. What not one of us did was tell our kid that at the time. What a revelation...it was very powerful to stand in front of her and say that I forgave her and for her to tell me the same things for the mistakes I made and ways I reacted that weren't the best. Thank you for this...really stellar.


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Patricia Young

1/5/2016 11:50 AM

I heart you Tracey! The rituals have changed and grown - sometimes it happens at the dinner table when we do rememberies - I'm sure everyone does this in some way shape or form. You know - "Hey do you remember when ___?" It starts a conversation and that is the key. If your kids, husband, friend, whoever will not talk, and talk without being in the moment of anger, rage, sadness etc - nothing goes very far does it?

Believe me, I am not perfect - I trip over the piles of mistakes I make on a regular basis - the ritual of "Oh shit! I did it again!" and there are still years of stuff to work out in our house, but I know, if something blows up and catches fire, and requires everyone to come together and react, we can do that. Even when Warren and I were bent in our relationship, we were a united front for our kids. So in the long winded form of an answer to your question - yes, but no - it changes. The cool thing about rituals you create, is you can upgrade them or delete them when ever you wish.

What you shared about your tipping point moment (The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell helped me a lot too!) and your daughter is extremely powerful. I think you both grow by moments like that :)


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Wendy Goldstein

1/6/2016 10:12 AM

wow- I feel like Sally Field accepting my Oscar.

{{humbled}}


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Susan Schwartz

1/3/2016 8:35 PM

Lots of digest from this chapter. I'll have to read it again!

One thing I can relate to is how the concept of whether or not most people are doing their best relates to my general attitude about myself. Looking back, it wasn't uncommon for me to assume someone was a jerk. In those days, my self-esteem was low and it was easy for me to identify others who were also not measuring up. Now that I'm feeling much better about myself and I've been able to embrace life with more (so much more) joy, I realize I was projecting my sucky attitude onto others.

When I notice someone now who does or says something that I'd look down on in the past, I realize our lives are so complicated and I know almost nothing about that person. So who am I to judge? He may be suffering from any one of a multitude of things - an argument, a death in the family, a scary illness, etc. Maybe just an honest mistake was made (like cutting me off on the road by accident). If I judge a person negatively, I tend to ruminate on what happened and how I was in the right, how he/she was in the wrong. It's so much easier for me to let go of the situation and forget about it if I assume there was no ill intention involved.

Another topic that resonates with me is boundaries. I used to let people push me into doing things I wasn't okay with for fear they wouldn't like me. I'd put others' needs before mine. Except for the need to be liked. When I was strong enough to say no, I realized the so-called friends that had been overstepping boundaries were narcissists. Good riddance to them.

I am better with stating boundaries now, but I still have some fear about disappointing people when I have to set limits. I have to remind myself that if someone thinks badly of me because I set limits, then that's not the kind of person I want in my life anyway. If it's someone who I can't avoid, I am okay with him/her not liking me. Not coincidentally, when I separated from some old friends who didn't appreciate the new & improved me, I eventually found some new friends who did.


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Xeno Hemlock

1/4/2016 10:34 AM

Wow, Wendy. I love what you wrote. It's very vulnerable and honest. By the end, I had a smile on my face. Thank you for sharing that to us! It's an honour. It's a great way to kickstart this club for the new year.

---

During the first two years of my rebuilding/rediscovering what I really wanted to do with my life, I was mad a lot. I was mad at my co-workers because I felt I shouldn't be with them, that I was better. I was mad at my friends for dragging me into their pursuits of mindless activities. I was mad at my parents for not bringing me up the way I thought they should've. I was mad at my siblings for not being the type of siblings I secretly wanted. I was mad at the world for not recognising the special person in me, not recognising my greatness, and not giving me a chance to offer them what I can. Brené was spot-on in this chapter. Underneath judgment (and hating) other people lies self-loathing. I didn't know, or wouldn't admit really, that I was mad at myself. I hated myself.

I hated myself that I didn't start my writing career as early as I could have.

I hated myself for being an introvert.

I hated myself for not having the skills I wanted.

I hated myself for not having the self-confidence and courage that would've plucked me out of stupid situations and events that transpired.

I hated my arms, my legs, my hair, my face, and any other part of my body I could direct hate to.

I hated myself for being a coward. Thus, (I thought) I ended up with a life not worthy of making a biography, a memoir, or something.

I missed out on one love or two when it was staring me right in the face because I couldn't believe it. We can't accept the love of another if we don't even love ourselves.

Today, I definitely no longer hate myself.

Reading books, the constant pursuit of self-development, stepping out of comfort zones, meeting new people, reprogramming the mind, practicing vulnerability (YES!), these have all been helpful in stepping away from that dark phase in life. It's not an overnight phenomenon, it's a quest. And I think that's what's great about it. If it's a shortcut then we wouldn't cherish it and truly understand its value. The fact that we work so hard and long (relative for each of us), is what helps drive the lessons deep to the heart. Truly, great things don't happen in a flash. While I'm much better than I used to be, I believe there's still a lot to be learned out there. It's important that we never give up.

My self-loathing version would walk on the street, see other people walking nearby and think, "Pest. Imbecile. Get away from me. Intruder. Vile creature." No wonder they were instantly repelled from me without even knowing me. I was passing judgment and brewing negative thoughts.

Now when I walk on the street, I look at people in the eye. When I approach a cashier or a receptionist, I smile at them, say "Hello" and/or "Thank you". I enjoy people watching, amazed at others' physical and non-physical uniqueness. Strangers now talk to me. Baristas and I would always chit-chat. Even animals warm up to me strangely. And I embrace it all, makes me feel warm and fuzzy. If I run away from them, I don't just run away from them. I run from myself too. I'm no longer going to let that happen.


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Tracey Yokas

1/4/2016 5:42 PM

What an honest and great comment Xeno--thank you for bravely sharing the ways you hated yourself. We might not all have hated ourselves in the same ways, but I know we all can relate. I love the point you make about how the world greets you when you greet it first with loving kindness. I was just having this conversation with a few friends. It's so true!! The world is one big mirror reflecting back to us what we put out there. (Not every minute, of course. Bad things happen that have nothing to do with us.) But in general, you get back what you give--even from animals! Awesome. And the cycle continues to feed us and to help us feel better...love this. Thank you!


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Wendy Goldstein

1/6/2016 10:17 AM

Xeno, I guess self loathing is truly part of the human condition. We are in a constant state of flux emotionally, and hating ourselves is part of that range. That's why they call us human "beings". I am curious what you thought of the next chapter...I'll see in a few days.

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