Posts Tagged 'self-help'

getting un-freaked out

Getting all freaked out over nothing is my family’s style. Even genetic, perhaps. The less time I spend with them and the more I spend with friends who are less inclined to freakouts (but who inherited different entertaining quirks from their families), the more calm I tend to be. My sister is getting married. Wedding prep = increased stress + increased family time. Needless to say, we are all freaking each other out.

I was freaking out about something today on my way from one wedding stop to another and suddenly made a familiar Susan Piver realization: there is nothing happening to me right now. Nothing bad is actually happening.

Then I made a second realization: the problem is not the situation, the problem is my reaction to it. Separating the situation and my reaction helped me set my emotional response aside and focus on the situation. I calmed, my mind cleared and a solution presented itself.

Conclusion. You can change your life outlook and how you come at things is under your control. If I can come from the Freakout Family and do it, anyone can!

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shower thoughts

This morning, my shower thought was a realization that a very important life skill is to see the problems that are actually there. A lot of us are very good at not seeing problems, at thinking something is a problem that isn’t, and at redirecting blame for a real problem onto something unrelated. The more I hone this skill of identifying real problems, dealing with them and not freaking out about unimportant stuff, the better my life gets.

Yesterday’s shower thought was about genetics. WHOA THERE BIG SCIENCY HEAD! Mostly it revolved around faux latinos, freckles and boob obsessions. More on that later.

it only feels weird the first few times

a few weeks ago, The Twin (Hot Lunch Part Deux) called me up out of the blue with a strange request. he wanted to be un-tagged from photos of a couple of parties i had uploaded to Facebook. not even wild parties. “i just prefer having control of my image,” he explained.

after looking into it, i sent him a facebook message that it was super easy for him to remove any of his tags himself, and I kindly did not mention the glaring ridiculousness that his IDENTICAL TWIN is clearly tagged and standing next to him in most of the photos. instead, i added a bit of Tink-style preachiness:

one thing I appreciate Facebook for teaching me is that it’s exhausting and futile to try to carefully orchestrate the way the world sees you. all you can do is live the life and be the person that YOU like, trusting that kindred spirits will like you and your life too. if that’s your goal, then a few perfect portraits aren’t near as valuable as tons of snapshots that show you get out and live life with people who care about you enough to take your picture, put it online and put your name to it.

that advice would be even more badass if i actually lived by it. around the same time, i was sniffling over the phone to cupcake that i had thought i’d found a best friend to spend the rest of my life with and now he was gone. she said bluntly, “well, you kind of have to be your own best friend,” a statement that was all the more infuriating for being totally true.

but it’s an idea i’m beginning to enjoy. i like being my own best friend. it comes with some liberating things. like:

placing less importance on what others think. the untemplater has great things to say on that. (thanks Cupcake for the article.)

realizing your value. thanks to my genius counselor Pam, i am constantly reminding myself of where i find my value. if you don’t know where you place value in yourself, it’s time to write the list down and look at it every day. the more you focus on what is valuable about yourself, you’ll realize your value is a constant and doesn’t in fact fluctuate with what people think of you or how you are feeling on a particular day or, say, if someone just dumped you. your value is the same the day after being dumped as it was the day before. believe it, or at least repeat it to yourself, when you don’t feel it.

feeling lovable. i realized that for years i’ve been unable to believe i am lovable unless i’m in a relationship to prove it to myself. now i realize that that’s a pile of shit. the more i remind myself of things i value in myself, the more relieved i am to be me and not someone else, the more grateful i feel to myself for being me, and the more i love myself. just me. by myself. it’s a totally counterintuitive life truth: you need to be fine on your own before you’re ready to be with someone else.

finally finding love that’s never going to go anywhere. you will be with yourself forever, so it’s time to stop fighting yourself or overlooking yourself and instead build a relationship that you can rely on and enjoy forever, a solid rock of mutual self-respect and self-sufficiency, a creamy filling of love at the center of your life, a model for how you expect others to treat you.

being an overachiever, i have a plan to not only be my own best friend, but to fall in love with myself. i will treat myself the way i would like (and deserve)  for a lover to treat me. in short:

i’m in love with me, so i…
buy myself flowers
tell myself nice things
make myself feel pretty/beautiful
listen to all my thoughts
call myself on my bullshit
do something special for myself on special days
watch my favorite movies/shows
have dates just with me, to go to dinner, a movie or just read a book at Borders
encourage myself to follow my passions
don’t dredge up the past or harp on things that make me feel bad
tell myself “I love you” and/or “you are lovable”

telling yourself “i love you” really does only feel weird the first few times. after that it starts to feel really surprisingly good. try it when no one is looking. or when everyone is looking. or when you don’t care who’s looking.

who knew there were so many books about orangutans

i opened outlook at work today to find an email from the library (specifically from the circulation department right over my head) saying that there was a book on hold for me that i’ve never heard of, much less ordered for myself.

this happens a lot. librarians like to order books, movies and cds that made them think of a particular fellow librarian. and they have no qualms about going into that fellow librarian’s account and ordering it in his/her name. after a while you get used to the lack of privacy and just decide to feel special that someone was thinking of you.

of course, in the days of Hot Lunch, it was a method of guerrilla warfare, putting sexually explicit material on hold for each other. it started innocently with a bunch of books about orangutans. like book after book of those goofy-looking orange guys showing up all week for Mrs. H. then it quickly escalated into dating guides (He’s Just Not That Into You), self-help works on emotional disorders (Stop Hating Yourself Now),  improving your bedroom technique (The Guide to Getting It On), improving your bedroom technique (The Photographic Kama Sutra) and improving your bedroom technique (The Joy of Gay Sex).

until one day SOMEONE (Mrs. H) didn’t look carefully enough and put some helpful material on STDs on hold, not for “Hot C. Lunch” our smart ass coworker, but “Hot C. Lunch” the Perfect Stranger who happened to be in the fourth grade and who happened to have a humorless mother who happened to pick up his holds for him. i repeat, NO sense of humor. the era of i-got-you-back-now-everyone-thinks-you-have-genital-warts-ha-ha was over. we were just glad no one got fired.

the mystery book on hold for me this morning was The Wisdom of a Broken Heart by Susan Piver.

i know i’m easy to make cry these days, but it’s no less significant that my eyes teared up when i read this. i’m trying my best to put on a brave face at work and not make everything be about me and my drama (whereas everything FEELS like it’s about you when you’re heartbroken… it says so right on page 2 of the book, so i’m normal) and i informed so few people of the breakup because of the shame i felt at being ditched by the local celebrity that i don’t even know who knows but i do know that if they know, then they found out through whispered rumors. which feels as awkward and seventh grade as it sounds.

but someone out there knows. and was concerned enough to think of this book for me. and then my and Hot Lunch’s former coworkers and friends silently processed and shelved the book under my name. it feels like everyone knows, everyone feels bad, and everyone wants us both to feel better as soon as possible. and that means something big to me. even when i’m so alone, i’m not alone.

so far, the reviews and the introduction are super encouraging. i’m going to dig into chapter 1 before turning out the light tonight. i plan to have a pen, my journal, and plenty of kleenex available. it feels good to be DOING something instead of always FEELING something or trying NOT to feel something.

i’m so grateful i wish i knew who to order the orangutan books for.