Episode 45: Confidence in an Unreliable Narrator
Guten morgan, meine Freunde. Haha. Or miei amici. Let's have some fun. One more: mine venner.
Okay, I'm finished.
Happy Brunch Sunday! Let's raise our mimosas or mugs and clink a cheers to a bit of connection between work, notices and ads in your inbox. Written with a LONDON accent in my head (and today, a few languages.)
Reading with an accent is completely your (next best) decision.
I'll be composing this in bits between sessions of a conference this weekend, just in case there are disconnections in the vibe on your end. Though I do not plan on disconnecting--I may be super-connected, in fact. Brace yourselves.
Today's word is Confidence. This year's word is Confidence, actually.
I did an exercise.
I'm making myself chuckley today.
This exercise was definitely not a New Year's resolution brainstorm, not at all.
Instead of listing things that I aspire to DO in this next year, it was more of,
"What state of being do I want to enjoy?"
And it goes a little beyond, "How do I want to feel?"
Maybe, I'd like to be more compassionate?
Mmm, I like calm.
No, my winning word was Confident.
I wrote several. I circled ten, starred three, then chose one.
Confidence was my winner, possibly because I have felt less of it in the past.
Makes sense, right?
I've had some compassion, and I have been forgiving at times, and I have sweet spots of calm.
Those things exist for me at some level already.
(whoop, conference time.)
Where was I? Mm-hmm, confidence.
My thoughts this morning are about having a desire to help others, but I sometimes do it in a way that makes them feel like crap.
I'm thinking about the motivation behind my WHY.
Why do I want to help them?
I confess, sometimes I think I see the "imperfectness" of others, which is not true.
What happens is: they do something different from the way that I would do it.
And my brain categorizes their way as imperfect.
And there is something in me, a thought, that, "I can help BECAUSE I HAVE FIGURED IT OUT."
This is a complete thought error.
It's true, I may have figured out some things in my 51 years. I may even call it wisdom.
But I have never lived your life. You have not lived mine.
And you are doing the best you can!
I'm doing the best I can!
We all are doing what we currently know how to do. (That is true.)
Question: When you've seen me struggle (as I have these last 10 months) what has been your thought?
(Litmus test: How pure are we??)
Do you have pure compassion?
Perhaps we arrive at compassion, after dismissing, vetoing, banishing less helpful thoughts.
I used to believe every thought that came out of my brain.
This brain that recorded every neglect and abuse, every kindness, and all the diagramming of sentences in school.
Those recordings were made by a child-brain.
The perception that I had at age four, ten and sixteen all were skewed by young age, hormones and previous developmental stages.
The memories and conclusions I came to are UNRELIABLE.
The unreliable narrator: a narrator whose credibility is compromised. Found in fiction and film, children to mature adults.
We all have errant thoughts.
In my previous perfectionistic world, when an errant thought came, I dismissed it immediately if it wasn't PERFECT.
I practiced this for years.
During my practice, I was Mormon, I was married and a mother.
***Sometimes our thoughts are NEEDED. They warn us of danger, or unsafe spaces.***
If someone hurts me with their words or actions, it would be completely natural and helpful to have the thought, "This is not okay. You need to protect or defend yourself. Find help."
But when we are also taught to PLEASE those around us, standing up and saying,
"That's not okay with me," FEELS WRONG.
So we push it away, deny it, squash it into a corner and tell it to be quiet.
I am practicing this helpful, confident thought.
"That's not okay with me."
A confident person says that, don't you think?
Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
What have we learned?
Tami may rethink her choice to write her blog in two sittings.
I started journaling when I was eleven years old, as preparation to become a Young Woman in The Church. Young Women are aged 12-18 years. It's the name of a class, a category of female humans and an identity.
I took to the pen and the new notebook like a boss.
The smell of ink, a new notebook--the smell and feel of that paper, became my own savior.
It was my safe space.
I started writing in journals again about four years ago. One might say that I am in pre-divorce mode because I was more in touch with my thoughts.
Thank you journal.
Thank you brain.
What I have discovered is that sometimes my brain thinks there is an emergency.
But there's not.
For example: a family member says something that I have not considered.
My brain panics--they think I'm stupid, or I must be wrong, or I need to worry about them.
These thoughts come up because I have an inner belief that shades the reality before me.
And that is optional.
We can change our inner beliefs.
We may not want them anymore.
Because some of them were made when we were four years old, or ten or sixteen.
Some were made when we were physically in danger.
Some of them were made when we were being bullied or neglected or being made to fit into a mold that only holds 20% of humanity.
We can let that go.
Now when I journal, I ask: what do I want to think?
about those I love?
about the future of the planet?
Old habit thoughts come up all day long.
A managed mind has the ability to say no, or to reason with them, or to qualify them with a "but..."
"YES, BUT... we don't think that anymore."