We Need To Do Things

Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it. The question is, where does the vision come from? And this is the power of WHY. Our visions are the world we imagine, the tangible results of what the world would look like if we spent every day in pursuit of our WHY. Leaders don’t have all the great ideas; they provide support for those who want to contribute. Leaders achieve very little by themselves; they inspire people to come together for the good of the group. Leaders never start with what needs to be done. Leaders start with WHY we need to do things. Leaders inspire action.

“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek

I’m entering week 3 of my social distancing adventure.

I’ve been surprisingly social despite the social distancing. Technology allows us to do amazing things. One of the common things I’ve noticed when talking to people is the feeling like people have fewer options right now.

A lot of people are feel like they’ve lost some of their freedom. In the wake of COVID-19, they’re left feeling sad or anxious that their life is no longer the same as it was a couple months ago.

This morning I was on a call and I was reminded about a thought relevant to this. Reflecting on everything that has happened, things are different today than they were yesterday. Things are different today than they were this time last year. But the game has not changed.

Perhaps a random event card has come into play, and that changes how we need to think about our next move. If I have to make some decision X, there are now different risks and consequences I have to consider now that this event card has taken effect. But the game has not changed.

Perhaps you were used to seeing certain cards in your hand that you would continually draw. But now you’re seeing different cards in your hand. Maybe you don’t know what will happen if you play a certain card? Maybe you don’t know how to use these new cards in the most optimal way? But the game has not changed.

Many of us have expectations about our lives and how things are supposed to go.

We hop in the shower in the morning, and we expect hot, running water to come out of the faucet. We expect that when we arrive at work, we still have our job. We expect that there is lunch for us to eat, and that we won’t get food poisoning from eating it. We expect that our yoga studio down the street will still be there after work, and that regular class will take place at the same time it was scheduled yesterday. We expect that our partner and kids will come home at the end of the day, and we expect that they will still love us. We expect that we will be able to sleep soundly through the night in the safety of our homes. And we expect that in the morning, we will wake up to live another day.

Rather than expect things, perhaps it would be more fruitful to be grateful for things as they happen. We can be grateful that we have a home that we stay in or leave. We can be grateful that we still have the health to go for a walk. We can be grateful that are beautiful parks, beaches, and mountains to wander through. We can be grateful that there are people who farm crops and raise animals, and that there are people who will produce food from those, and that there are people who will drive those foods to grocery stores, and that grocery stores allow us to purchase food from them. We can be grateful that we opened our eyes this morning, and we can be grateful that we’re still alive to be experiencing this right now.

I’m not saying I’m great at the whole gratitude practice (I’m not). Nor am I saying I don’t have those same expectations (there are certainly days where I mope that I haven’t played sports in a long time, and that I probably won’t be playing them for a long time to come).

But I do try to catch myself when I get stuck in that pit. I mean, if I ask myself “What am I doing right now?”, I might find that I’m “sitting here, doing nothing but feeling bad for myself because the community centres, leagues, and parks aren’t open.” That doesn’t strike me as something I want to be doing. So I try to catch that and use that window to do something I want to be doing instead.

I think gratitude is a step we can take away from feeling like the world is happening to us; it’s a step we can take towards feeling like the world is happening for us.

There are still opportunities out there. We just have to be open to seeing them.

As for me, I’ve been continuing to use my social distancing time to:

  • connect with people I haven’t connected with in quite some time
  • cross off a bunch of stuff from my to-do list that has been sitting there for months or years
  • get back into running outside
  • learn how to do body weight exercises (I can do more push-ups now than I’ve ever been able to do before)
  • break my junk food and eating out habits that I’ve been holding onto too long despite my 2020 goals (plus this also helps me to save money)
  • do a lot of stretching that probably would have been more effective had I spread it out over the past couple decades 😛

Chasing

“Not knowing is a good place to start,” he says, and this feels like a revelation. I spend so much time trying to figure things out, chasing the answer, but it’s okay to not know.

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb

So I found a new psychotherapist, and we had our first session today. Thankfully, they’re only a 20 minute commute away rather than a 100 minute commute away. (We’re currently doing sessions remotely.)

One of the things I tend to struggle with in therapy is where to start. (I recognize I probably struggle with this in a plethora of other areas of my life as well.)

I think it’s because I feel like there’s some “correct” path that will lead to the most insights. I feel like my therapist knows what direction that path leads. And I feel like I have no clue which direction I’m meant to go.

So we talked a bit about childhood (because, y’know, therapy). Surprisingly (perhaps? Then again, perhaps not), COVID19 didn’t come up at all. And because it was still top of mind since my last blog post, we talked about relationships.

I try to wrap my mind around this paradox: self-sabotage as a form of control. If I screw up my life, I can engineer my own death rather than have it happen to me. If I stay in a doomed relationship, if I mess up my career, if I hide in fear instead of facing what’s wrong with my body, I can create a living death—but one where I call the shots.

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb

So we talked about the six month curse, and my intentional attempts to break that. (Reflecting on this quote, I’m curious if it really is a case of “I’ll leave you so you can’t leave me.” I’ve never really thought about that in terms of leaving before, but I guess leaving is the down-the-road consequences of other fears that are usually front of mind for me.)

We talked about some of the more recent examples of struggles in the relationship realm. Examples like arguing about different things, and me not trusting my intuition. And also me not always presenting my thoughts in a way where they would be more likely to be openly received.

We also talked about some of the tools and vocabulary I use, and how that compares and relates to things that they are familiar with. I got the chance to reflect on areas where I need to practice certain tools in my toolkit more often (such as sharing my experience in a way that leaves less room for interpretation). I also got the chance to reflect on areas where I’ve grown over the years (such as being able to identify body sensations).

Anywho, I’m looking forward to seeing how this journey unravels. It sounds like we’re on the same page on some of the goals of this journey.

“There’s a difference between pain and suffering,” Wendell says. “You’re going to have to feel pain—everyone feels pain at times—but you don’t have to suffer so much. You’re not choosing the pain, but you’re choosing the suffering.” He goes on to explain that all of this perseverating I’m doing, all of this endless rumination and speculation about Boyfriend’s life, is adding to the pain and causing me to suffer. So, he suggests, if I’m clinging to the suffering so tightly, I must be getting something out of it. It must be serving some purpose for me.

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb

I’m familiar with this idea, but it was interesting reviewing it in light of some of my recent reflections.

There are some thoughts I have that I tend to suffer about quite often. I’m curious about what I’m getting out of them.

One of those areas is definitely how I’ve fucked up previous relationships. At first I couldn’t think of what I’m getting out of this. But then…

Another one of those areas is hook-up culture. It took me a while to think of something for this. I wonder if this gives me an excuse to avoid the responsibility of creating a relationship–because it gives me a reason to not look around and not put in the emotional work and to not trust people.

That would actually fit with both of those areas.

That’s horrible. Talk about self-sabotage.

Guess I know which path I’m taking with my therapist next time.

Hypolêpsis

On tough days we might say, “My work is overwhelming,” or “My boss is really frustrating.” If only we could understand that this is impossible. Someone can’t frustrate you, work can’t overwhelm you—these are external objects, and they have no access to your mind. Those emotions you feel, as real as they are, come from the inside, not the outside. The Stoics use the word hypolêpsis, which means “taking up”—of perceptions, thoughts, and judgments by our mind. What we assume, what we willingly generate in our mind, that’s on us. We can’t blame other people for making us feel stressed or frustrated any more than we can blame them for our jealousy. The cause is within us. They’re just the target.

“The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday

Yesterday, I was talking to my counsellor about some general stuff (I say general stuff because I can’t remember the exact flow of the conversation that led up to the next topics). He asked for an example of a time recently where something upset me, and I brought up an instance of volleyball at a local community centre. It’s recreational volleyball and there’s some older people playing on the court. This one guy dropped in and was spiking the ball hard at people and getting in arguments with some of the other players. This affected my mood and my experience of volleyball that night.

My counsellor drew my attention to a pattern between this experience and my past relationships regarding conflict resolution. I have a habit of avoiding conflict, so if something’s bothering me, I tend not to say anything about it.

In any case, that conversation ended shortly after that observation.

So this morning, I had woken up early and planned to go for a run. But upon looking outside, I realized that it was raining, and from my window it looked like it was raining pretty hard. I figured that I’d probably touching my face all the time to wipe away rain and my hair, which is a bad idea in times of COVID-19, so I decided to skip my run and try to go back to sleep.

But of course, sleep never comes at opportune times.

My mind started spiralling on an analysis of all my past relationships. (This morning I couldn’t figure out why that popped into my mind; it wasn’t until this afternoon that I clued in that I was probably primed to it by my conversation with my counsellor yesterday.)

(It’s entirely possible I’ve noticed this in the past too. In reviewing past journal entries and blog posts, I’ve found epiphanies that I’d re-experienced years later. But at the time of writing, I don’t recall seeing this before.)

Some history: in every relationship I’ve been, either I’ve ended it, or, in cases where it was mutual, I brought up the conversation in which we decided to end it.

So there’s a very common thread: me.

I’ve chatted with friends over the years about this, but we never saw a pattern. The reason for each break up was distinct and unique compared to the others. So maybe it wasn’t all me.

lol.

Could we really believe that?

(Random interlude: “So” is my filler word apparently.)

This morning I saw something under all of those unique reasons. I mean, all this time in the future looking back, at this point it’s all just hypothetical. And perhaps it may all just be apophenia. But here’s what I saw.

I have this thing where if I’m experiencing a negative emotional reaction to something, I try to avoid bringing it up.

Whether it is “I feel disappointed that you keep getting your roommate to do your share of the chores,” or “I feel unwanted because I get the sense that you’re always thinking about your friend,” or “Hearing your friends always talk like that makes me really not want to be here any more,” I would tend to keep those experiences to myself. And, hypothetically, things would just snowball.

Theory 1: I am afraid of conflict. (This would explain my habit of avoiding conflict.) Maybe in those moments where I could have chosen to share my experience, I was afraid that it would have led to a fight. Because I was misinterpreting something, or because I wasn’t being logical, or because I would be taking away their freedoms, etc.

Theory 2: My independence is a double edged sword. Maybe my ideal of being totally self-sufficient leads me to trying to take on everything (including dealing with my emotions) on my own. Maybe my independence prevents me from ever really trusting other people.

Maybe both theories play some sort of a role. Maybe both theories are completely off base. But I’m leaning towards Theory 2. I’ve already seen other areas in my life where my independence has led to undesired consequences.

I think part of my struggle with this comes from failure to integrate some of the ideas I regularly fall back upon. On the one hand, there’s Stoicism and Buddhism. On the other hand, there’s emotional expression and vulnerability.

So this morning, one thing I was trying to figure out was the lack of harmony I was seeing amongst these ideas.

On the one hand, there is this idea of sharing your thoughts, feelings, and needs with other people. The idea of being vulnerable and letting yourself be seen by the people around you.

On the other hand, there is this idea of taking responsibility of your thoughts and perceptions. The idea of overcoming suffering as something that one takes on themselves.

But perhaps they are different means to the same ends.

Looking at them now, maybe they’re both just ways of acknowledging an emotion. Something I’ve learned in the past year or so is the idea that unexpressed emotion gets stored in the body. One method acknowledges an emotion by sharing and engaging in it with other people. The other acknowledges an emotion internally: distinguishing the thoughts, judgements, and body sensations, and being present to them until they pass.

(The Tyler version fulfills neither of these. I don’t often share my experience with others, and when I’m alone with my emotions, I tend to distract myself rather than being present with those emotions.)

We resent the person who comes in and tries to boss us around. Don’t tell me how to dress, how to think, how to do my job, how to live. This is because we are independent, self-sufficient people. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Yet if someone says something we disagree with, something inside us tells us we have to argue with them. If there’s a plate of cookies in front of us, we have to eat them. If someone does something we dislike, we have to get mad about it. When something bad happens, we have to be sad, depressed, or worried. But if something good happens a few minutes later, all of a sudden we’re happy, excited, and want more. We would never let another person jerk us around the way we let our impulses do. It’s time we start seeing it that way—that we’re not puppets that can be made to dance this way or that way just because we feel like it. We should be the ones in control, not our emotions, because we are independent, self-sufficient people.

“The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday

Something else independence-based I was thinking about was fairness related.

I don’t like other people telling me what to do. I recognize that’s different from people asking me to do things, but sometimes my mind conflates thoughts.

I think part of me is worried that if I share my experience, I’m going to be asking people to change something. Which wouldn’t be fair because I don’t like being told what to do.

But maybe this is just me being too black and white about things. Maybe not all emotional expression is either purely for sharing or purely for asking people to change.

Or maybe I just need to learn how to acknowledge my emotions. Either by actually staying present with them, or by trusting other people and sharing my experience with them.

In any case, there’s a lot to learn.

Things To Do

I’m starting a bunch of social things to do for entertainment during this period of social distancing. If you want to join in on anything, message me to let me know what you’d like invites to 🙂

I’ve got a book club for Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror that will be meeting Sunday mornings. And I’ve also got a book club for Pema Chödrön’s The Places That Scare You that will be meeting Thursday evenings.

I played Cards Against Humanity with some friends today. I will probably host more parties for that, as well other games such as Drawful 2 (currently free on Steam) and Mafia. Also, perhaps a movie night or general discussion group.

If you’re looking for running motivation, feel free to add me on Strava and we can cheer each other on.

And I haven’t tried it before, but if anyone wants to do calisthenics, stretching, yoga, or meditation together, perhaps it would be more fun to do it together? (But then maybe it would start to feel like a bootcamp class and I don’t know how I would feel about that 😹)

Stay safe everyone 🙂

Most Important Workout Day

You build willpower primarily when you don’t feel like doing something but do it anyway. In the case of working out, it means going to the gym and lifting weights (or doing your sprinting/swimming high-intensity routine) despite a lack of energy or motivation. Each day I feel tired, weak, and generally not ready for a workout, I remind myself it’s the most important workout day for me. That’s when my discipline is truly tested and when it strengthens – if I win against my weaknesses.

“Daily Self-Discipline” by Martin Meadows

When I was living in South Delta, I gave myself the excuse that I’d be rowing towards my goals full force once I moved. It was harder for me to eat healthy because I know my Mom gets stressed out whenever she sees me on my diet. It was harder for me to workout because I no longer had easy access to a gym. And commuting anywhere for anything took forever.

I moved to Coquitlam in February, and it was a pretty good month with regards to progression on my goals. I jumped back into my meal prep and lost a bunch of weight. I was back in the gym everyday, and doing a short run every day to boot. And commuting was much better (although, still far by what seems to be most people’s standards).

And then COVID19 and social distancing happened.

Now my gym options (both in building and the one I have a membership at) have closed down. I’m avoiding commuting because I feel like it would be irresponsible right now. Not commuting also means I don’t have a set time every day to read anymore. Everywhere I used to play volleyball and badminton has shut down, so I’m not getting my regular mental resets. The lack of physical activity means my afternoon energy lows have been hitting me pretty hard at work. And a couple of times when I felt stressed, bored, or anxious, I’ve caved in and bought junk food because I have a bad habit of eating my feelings.

But like Meadows points out, these days are the most important days for me to be working towards my goals.

So I’ve been doing some body weight exercise routines with the help of my coach. I don’t feel like the workouts are as effective as the ones I was doing at the gym, but they’re definitely better than nothing. Doing them, my momentum is not as fast as before, but it is still forward momentum. If I wasn’t doing these workouts, I’d definitely be experiencing negative momentum.

I’m thinking about starting a remote book club (or two) to keep myself accountable to my reading, as well as to provide some structure to others who may be looking for something to occupy their social distancing time.

I’m starting to run outside more often now, though I also need to be careful not to get injured seeing as getting to my physiotherapist or RMT right now would be difficult. Not doing particularly well on that front–I continued to run 60% of my run on a super tight calf, probably because I did a spontaneous 18km road run on Sunday.

I’m working on mediating more often right now–I’m aiming for two sessions a day. I’m also thinking about trying to teach myself how to volley in volleyball, or taking some online dance classes. I’m hoping that these things will help with the mental reset a bit.

Everyone in my company is currently working from home. Because I hit my energy low in the early afternoon, I’m thinking about throwing the idea of my taking a diphasic work schedule starting next week. Then I can do some physical activity in my low energy hours in the afternoon, allowing me to both continue working towards my goals while at the same time ensuring I’m setting myself up for success at work.

Whenever you feel that adversity is too much to handle, remind yourself that “this too shall pass.” Every challenge in life is a temporary thing. You can handle more than you believe if you remind yourself that things will soon get better.

“Daily Self-Discipline” by Martin Meadows

At first, the whole social distancing thing was really concerning me.

Losing volleyball and badminton was a big loss because I’ve been leaning on those to help clear my mind.

Not being able to commute anywhere feels like a loss of freedom. It’s not quite like I’m chained to my apartment or anything, but options I once thought I had are no longer options.

And I had these moments of terror about how long social distancing will last. (A vaccine appears to be at least a year out before widespread use. There’s currently no drugs that appear to be super effective in treating viral symptoms or preventing transmission. And the rate of transmission appears to be pretty high (ie. look at how quickly a country jumps from one known case to one hundred known cases). So I’m not going to be surprised if social distancing lasts a lot longer than most people are expecting. I wouldn’t be surprised if a year goes by before they stop encouraging people from avoiding large groups.)

But I think I’m finding ways to adapt and continue to do things I want to do in these times of social distancing.

It’s interesting to see how quickly the mind can change.

Like, earlier today, I looked out the window, and everyone I saw walking outside was a couple. I had my moment of feeling sad and wishing that was me. But it wasn’t long before I swung the other way and was content that right now I have the most freedom to work on all the things I’m trying to juggle.

As a random update…

I’m pretty much behind on all of my goals at this point, but so far, the progress I’ve made includes:

  • reading 16 books
  • getting my fasting blood glucose back into a normal range
  • losing about 1.6% body fat
  • running 216km
  • working out 45 times

So it’s not going as planned, but it is going 🙂

Distractions

Sometimes, distractions can actually serve a purpose. Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, they warn us—when we feel ourselves regularly succumbing to them—that our work is not well defined, or our tasks are menial, or the whole project we’re engaged in is fundamentally pointless.

“Remote” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Clio has decided to respond to COVID-19 by enforcing mandatory work from home.

To prepare for this period of working from home, I’ve been reading Remote by Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

This quote immediately stood out for me. I was already applying it today when I was working on a ticket. When I caught my mind straying, I realized I needed to pause and think to gain clarity on what I needed to do to move forward.

So it’s an interesting thought for me because I find that I often struggle with concentration.

I think I usually attribute the lack of concentration to things like lack of sleep.

But at the same time, it’s really weird because, on the other end of my personality, I’m super obsessive with things so I can have really intense focus on things.

I’m curious what truths I’ll find in this insight while working remotely.

And it’s a neat opportunity right now. All my sports have been shut down because of coronavirus, and I’ve been talking to a counsellor rather than a therapist recently. So I have lots of time and motivation for self-reflection right now.

Looking forward to what I can make out of the coming weeks of isolation.

Dangerous

Statements of alarm by newscasters and glorification of wannabe experts are two telltale tricks of the fear mongers’ trade. In the preceding chapters I pointed out others as well: the use of poignant anecdotes in place of scientific evidence, the christening of isolated incidents as trends, depictions of entire categories of people as innately dangerous.

“The Culture of Fear” by Barry Glassner

Watching this whole coronavirus pandemic is interesting.

It’s interesting to see how people are reacting (or not).

It’s interesting to see how the media is presenting things (or not).

It’s interesting to see how companies and governments are responding (or not).

Things are changing fast right now.

Work is taking precautionary action, so my work routine is shifting.

An upcoming volleyball tournament and the Sun Run have been canceled, and I would not be surprised if other recreational activities to start shutting down soon as well.

I’m only half-joking about all the memes going around right now when I saw that there ain’t no toilet paper left anywhere. The grocery stores are all sold out, and there’s a many wait week on Amazon.

I just sincerely hope y’all get vaccinated when the vaccine is available.

And I hope y’all never skip a flu shot again.

Those of us who took an introductory journalism course in college remember the teacher pounding into our cerebrums the famous dictate attributed to John Bogart, city editor of the New York Sun in the 1880s: “When a dog bites a man that is not news, when a man bites a dog, that is news.” Everyone expects black crime victims, the argument goes, so their plight isn’t newsworthy. Here is how a writer for the Los Angeles Times , Scott Harris, characterized the thoughts that go through reporters’ and editors’ minds as they ponder how much attention, if any, to accord to a city’s latest homicide: “Another 15-year-old shot to death? Ho hum. Was he an innocent bystander? What part of town? Any white people involved?”

“The Culture of Fear” by Barry Glassner

Amelia

Amelia Earhart wanted to be a great aviator. But it was the 1920s, and people still thought that women were frail and weak and didn’t have the stuff. Woman suffrage was not even a decade old.

She couldn’t make her living as a pilot, so she took a job as a social worker. Then one day the phone rang. The man on the line had a pretty offensive proposition, along the lines of: We have someone willing to fund the first female transatlantic flight. Our first choice has already backed out. You won’t get to actually fly the plane, and we’re going to send two men along as chaperones and guess what, we’ll pay them a lot of money and you won’t get anything. Oh, and you very well might die while doing it.

You know what she said to that offer? She said yes.

Because that’s what people who defy the odds do. That’s how people who become great at things—whether it’s flying or blowing through gender stereotypes—do. They start.

“The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and reflecting on that I recalled this story about Amelia Earhart.

I take many lessons from this story.

The idea of making the best play with the hand you’re dealt is something I often struggle with. I often find myself stuck on things that I consider to be unfair, or I can’t do things now because I’m not prepared, or I won’t do things because it’s a matter of principle.

But this is all just my entitlement and my need for control.

Amelia Earhart had a play with a much bigger cost than fairness, feeling prepared, or giving up stubbornness and yet she chose that play because it moved her forward. This is definitely an area I need to practice.

I also found it interesting how the first time I heard this story, I assumed that she was calm when she accepted this offer.

Reflecting on it now, I have no clue how she was feeling. Perhaps she was calm. Perhaps she was pissed that this was the proposition she had to take to move forward. Perhaps she was excited because she finally found an opportunity to move forward.

In any case, I think too often I assume that I need to feel a certain way to act a certain way. I think too often I assume that there is a right way to feel when facing adversity.

Actually, this reminds me a bit about a thought I was recently reminded of in the book I’m currently reading (Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk To Someone).

Feelings don’t dictate your behaviour. They shouldn’t be ignored or discounted. They should guide your curiosity so that they can help to bridge your conscious with your subconscious.

And now I’m wondering whether I often struggle so much in this area because I the way I act despite feelings is by ignoring them. Perhaps this is something I should bring up with my therapist.

Gone

To this day, I wake up at times, look in the mirror, and just stare, obsessed with the idea that the person I am in my head is something entirely different than what everyone else sees. That the way I look will prevent me from doing the things I want; that there really are sneetches with stars and I’m not one of them. I touch my face, I feel my skin, I check my color every day, and I swear it all feels right. But then someone says something and that sense of security and identity is gone before I know it.

“Fresh Off the Boat” by Eddie Huang

A couple nights ago, I was thinking about how I’d mixed up correlation and causation in some of my self-reflection recently.

Previously, I was reflecting on my own and with a therapist on my perceived lack of belonging. Looking back at school, I always felt like I was being pushed away as the “other”.

To my Asian friends, I was always white. To my white friends, I was always Asian. In a majority straight population, I was always different. I was never seen as one of the guys in gym class, but I also stood out when I hung out with the girls.

And I thought this must be why I feel like I don’t belong—because I experienced all these instances of not belonging when I was younger.

I saw a causal relationship.

But that doesn’t follow logically.

Maybe I have it backwards. Maybe something happened earlier that led to my feeling like I didn’t belong, and that is why I interpreted those things that way, and that’s why those things stick out in my memory.

Or maybe they appear to be correlated, but they’re not really correlated at all. Maybe it’s just confirmation bias or something else.

But then taking a step back, maybe it doesn’t really matter. This is probably just another good place to practice nihilism and existentialism.

By nihilism, I refer to recognizing that my feeling like I don’t belong is a feeling—that’s it. It’s a body sensation that I do not find pleasurable. But it’s ultimately meaningless. There’s nothing really there saying that I don’t belong.

By existentialism, I refer to the ability to create belonging. The nihilism has granted that there’s no lack of belonging there to hold me back. So if I choose to see things this way, perhaps I will start to observe things to confirm that belief instead.

I’ve been exercising a lot since moving. Something that I still want to build on is mindfulness and affirmation practices. Perhaps this would be a good thing to start applying those to.

Root

The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and, today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic. Heroics is important and we certainly need heroes, but I think we’ve lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we’re feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage. Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.

“The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown

In the recent past, I really started to question my intuition because I would intuit things about people that they would tell me I was completely wrong about. However, more recently, I’ve found out that in some of those cases, those people weren’t being entirely honest. I’ve also had a bunch of people comment on my intuition seeming to likely be correct.

I was able to guess before why people probably told me that I was wrong, even though they later corrected me.

Emotions are complicated.

Today I got a first hand experience myself of something similar going on.

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they agree, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice. For our own sake, we need to understand that it’s dangerous to our relationships and our well-being to get mired in shame and blame, or to be full of self-righteous anger. It’s also impossible to practice compassion from a place of resentment. If we’re going to practice acceptance and compassion, we need boundaries and accountability.

“The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown

We had an incident at work this morning. In trying to fix the problem, I went heads down into investigating and producing a solution. While I was heads down, someone else working on a parallel solution came over and started bouncing ideas about their solution off me.

I didn’t say anything about it, but if I did, I’m the moment, I would have just said that I was annoyed. I was focused on what I was working on, and I was annoyed that I was being interrupted. I was especially annoyed because we’ve previously had conversations where I’ve stated that I don’t like in person interruptions.

But later when I was reflecting more on the incident, I realized that wasn’t the full story of what was going on.

There was a lot going on in the incident and I felt overwhelmed, so I defaulted to focusing on problem solving in my bubble because that’s where I feel the safest and less stimulated by the chaos. When that person came over, I felt threatened that they were bringing the chaos that I was trying to escape back to me. I felt annoyed that I was trying to focus on something and they were preventing me from doing that (especially since we’d talked about it before). I felt scared that they would come to me with something I couldn’t answer because there was too much going on already in my mind and because I might not have the skills or knowledge to address it.

But I didn’t realize any of this until after time had passed and I had a chance to reflect.

Interesting how my truth in the moment may not have been my truth at all.