Success at failure

I succeeded in failing at something (organizing a dog social) without taking it personally and spiraling into a thought attack on myself. The planned social itself was a relatively minor event (and I have lots of ideas on how to improve when I try again), but not going negative on the world or myself was an excellent step for me in getting past fear of failure.

Go me!


Today I commit to change.

I commit to making decisions about my life, based on what I think is good for me. This does not mean I will cease to take into account the advice or experience stories of others. I will listen to that advice and those stories.  I will, however, make the decision based on what I want and not what another may wish me to do.

I will seek support without trying to give over responsibility. I will ask for help when I need it.

I will stop trying to get others to make decisions for me. I will learn to notice when I am trying to do this (by telling sob stories, implying that making this particular decision is too hard, and so forth), and I will break that habit.

I will stop letting my desire to “fix” others distract me from attending to myself. I will learn the difference between helping and doing things for people.  Problems look simpler from the outside.

I commit to taking action to make my life better for me. I will learn to notice when I am procrastinating and “studying for life” instead of living it. I will set deadlines for myself on research and decision-making and I will stick to them.

I will develop and decide on my own scales for what is “enough,” “necessary,” and “success.” and  I will learn how to answer to people who would like me to use their scales instead of mine.

I commit to facing my fear of failure, as well as my fear of success. I will consciously learn to accept that failure is part of learning, and not let the fear prevent me from trying things that I want to do.

I will forgive myself for making mistakes, and learn to stop the spiral of negative self-talk that keeps me from progressing toward my goals. I will learn to learn from my mistakes, and then move forward rather than ruminating and castigating myself for not being perfect.

I will no longer let uncertainty whether I can “do it right” prevent me from trying things.

I will accept that change requires stepping outside my comfort zone, being afraid and doing it anyway. I will move beyond being afraid of being afraid.

I will remember to praise myself for courage, and comfort myself when that courage fails.  I will set time limits on how long I may take to comfort myself, and when that time is up I will get back on the horse. I will try again tomorrow.

I will remember to take pride in  my accomplishments instead of telling myself that “It doesn’t count” or “Anyone could have done that.”  I did it.  It doesn’t matter if it was original (copyright issues excepted) or if someone else could have done the same.

I will not use initial failure as an excuse that it is not worth continuing to try.

I will stop using “that looks difficult” as an excuse to not do things.

I will work toward consciously accepting that change involves giving up things I like, and taking on other things I don’t like. I will be suspicious of free lunches, and not waste time on things which promise to improve my life without any actual effort.

I will give up the idea that I can change all at once, fix everything, know everything. I will replace it with the acceptance of incremental change. I will learn not to set unreasonable deadlines.

I will periodically ask myself if my current activity is something that moves me closer to my goals, or a distraction/procrastination technique to avoid doing that work.

I commit to identifying and eliminating habits of thought, action, or inaction that hold me back from making positive changes.

I am going to take responsibility for my life.

So there.

I don’t like self- examination. I’d much rather analyze others. it’s simpler from the outside, easier to be logical and reasonable about things.  This is probably why I am ** years old, unemployed, about to complete a divorce, and living in my parents’ basement.

Something complicated happened and I can’t finish my divorce until I decide where I’m living this autumn..

Someone I care about deeply and also have hurt deeply lives in the city I think I would move to.

They emailed me about a month ago to say they didn’t want to hear from me directly (e-mail is OK, but they do not promise to read it and/or respond) for a while. Interacting with me hurts too much and complicates their (mental health) recovery process. I’d been counting on continuing to have their support for my recovery, and I thought I’d been supporting theirs. They are about the only person who has a realistic picture of what my last 3 years have been like (1 year pre-going-crazy-and-separation and 2 after)

So that e-mail sort of felt like the last really real sense of support (someone who understands) had fallen out from under me. Therapists can be good and all but they were there for much of that time.

At the same time, it is a great step for them, as they are really bad at setting and maintaining personal boundaries. (I might go so far as to say that that deficiency is at the root of most of their mental/emotional issues.) I can celebrate that (they set a boundary with me with the belief that it would aid their healing process), for their sake, as a sign of growth and progress.

I kind of fell apart for a couple of days. HOWEVER, though I did drink alcohol during those days, I did not get plastered drunk. At least I did not fall back on that dysfunctional coping mechanism. that’s progress for me over how I coped when I started this blog.

In related news: I forget whether I covered this before but Therapist (local) has an ethical/organizational issue with me seeing two therapists at once. In the interests of both skipping the “tell me what brings you to therapy” introductory sessions and transparency/continuity/not having to repeat myself, I emailed both T(local) and T(phone) the same background information summary, and shared the results of some homework from T (phone) with T (local). T (phone) said I would have to make my own decision about whether I would pick one of them or continue to see both (while lying to T(local)) [NOTE: This was not her suggestion, it was one of the possibilities I came up with myself while discussing what to do in session with T(phone)]

As much as I will behave like some kinds of classical fae (not lie outright, but get all kinds of creative about avoiding saying what I don’t want to reveal) to save my ego or prevent someone getting mad at me (Yes, I know this almost always blows up later, it’s another behavioral issue on my list of things to work on), I think of myself as an honest person. Also, basing what’s supposed to be a healing process/relationship/whatever on a lie seems like really bad juju.

So I stopped seeing T(local), and continued seeing T(phone). T(phone) is at least a specialist in gifted adults, and T(local) is not.  I do wonder if I didn’t get the brush-off from T(local) because either her schedule is full or she knows that she is (Elitism warning) not smart enough to keep up with me and therefore offer me useful therapy. Or perhaps that’s the sour grapes talking.

I haven’t gone back to either of the other two locals I interviewed with before. Is this procrastination? Could I be ‘improving’ faster if I was (also) seeing someone who gets to read my body language and can tell when something I’m talking about makes me cry? (I’m pretty good at silent enough crying that it doesn’t show on the phone.)

Other progress reports: I expressed a negative opinion at dinner tonight, and also mentioned the problem to the waiter. Green salad served on a hot plate, and was therefore wilted and yucky. It also contained way too much bitter stalk/stem part of the lettuce instead of the leaf, but I didn’t bother about that part.

One of my markers for “I am getting better from way too deep depression” is that I notice that something makes me uncomfortable and then I do something about it. At the time I first noticed this and decided that it was a flag, the ‘things to change’ were as simple as my physical position in a chair, or if I was wearing too much or too little clothing for thermal comfort. Yeah, I get that far down the hole of no internal locus of control/sense of self-efficacy/belief that things can get better or it’s worth trying to change. It sucks.

I said “Thank you for being supportive” to several parts of my support structure. Besides being good relationship maintenance, this is progress over my fear of drawing attention to needing help (they might notice how much energy it costs them and stop doing it, or related nonsense) and feeling weak/incompetent/like a stupid child for not getting over it and getting on with my life like (do I say “normal” here? I think I’ll stick with an old favorite word here) neurotypicals do. Despite that my remaining support structure are not aware/psychic/care enough to be more specifically supportive in the ways I (think I) need, 0.5 units of support is worlds better than none. Also I don’t communicate with them enough for them to have the information they’d need to give specific support. (And other ongoing lessons in “other people are different from me and don’t pay attention to as much/ the same things as I do”)

To return to my starter topic: I can’t finish my divorce until I decide where I’m living this autumn. 

Deciding to move to the city where my friend who doesn’t want to hear from me lives will be awkward at best. We have friends in common there, and cross-scheduling with them is likely to feel like I’m ‘stealing’ their stability resources and ‘invading their territory,’ not to mention forcing the possibility of my (apparently triggering) presence on their life. It is a more expensive place to live. I believe I have a better chance of creating a true peer group there.

Deciding to remain near my family carries behavior pattern baggage and unspoken assumptions and expectations. Not really heavy ones, just not necessarily ones I want to have undue influence on my choices of life path. It is a cheaper area in which to live; I could afford a much bigger/nicer apartment of my own there than in the other city, which is likely to be a multiple roommate situation in an old building without air conditioning. Living near family carries the benefit of the physical presence of family, and the support they can give. There is perhaps a greater possibility of improving/deepening my relationship with them if I actually see them every week, as opposed to talk on the phone when they call me or I think to call them (rare).

I know that it would be dumb to let my friend’s situation or my family’s desires decide for me where I’m going to live. Part of the point of this growth phase of mine is to start to make decisions more based in what I think is good for me, something I am sadly out of practice of doing.

I am more likely to create an authentic, independent personality if I live away from family.

I may lose my friend because they perceive me as pushing their fragile boundaries, stealing their support structure, or otherwise wrecking their emotional stability. Any  or all of the ‘perceived’ conditions in the previous sentence may also be true.

I have to make this decision so that I can finish my divorce, and get on with building my real second life.

I’ve  stalled in many aspects of growth due to not making this decision.

I am very much out of practice at making close friends that I can talk to about real personal topics with. This kind of understanding, growth/thinking-supportive relationship is something that I badly need in order to avoid becoming even more emotionally ingrown than I already am. The only people I talk to outside of family regularly are therapists or therapy-like groups. (therefore risking this friendship is a serious matter.)

I want  to be a real boy. I don’t want to disappoint family. I don’t want to hurt my friend and jeopardize our relationship. I don’t want to waste any more time not living an authentic life. I want my divorce to be over. ( I want Lori Anderson to Stop. Talking. Like. That?) I want to be happy. I want to actualize. I want to find my real self. I want to watch my nephew and niece grow up. I want to have relationships with my intellectual and emotional/intensity/sensitivity peers. I want my environment to be conducive to positive growth. I want to work at something meaningful that doesn’t feel like I am selling my days to capitalism. I want to make the world better. I want everyone to have a place to sleep and someone who loves them. I want you to know I’m serious.

I want to get some sleep so I can take my dog to the training/off-leash playgroup in the morning.

I don’t like s…