Katherine got into the car, and immediately felt Steve’s lousy mood suck all the air out of it. “Oh no,” she thought. She knew Steve wasn’t thrilled about going to visit her brother’s family. It was a chilly winter Sunday. He wanted to lounge about, watch the games, and stay put. But she expressed it was important to her and he had agreed to go. Does he always have to punish me with his mood? she wondered, agitatedly. She was...
When you compare where you are with where you want to be, you will feel inadequate (a flavor of shame). When you compare where you are with others who are doing what you want to do, you will feel deflated (yet another flavor!). And when you set out to do that big marketing thing that you are avoiding, and your avoidance wins, you will feel slightly more than disappointed in yourself. How to keep moving?
I had no idea that I would feel so small as I gazed out over the field and felt that I didn’t know or fit in with anyone. The experience of discomfort was so strong that for about three days I arrived in the mornings acting as though I was a 15-year-old on my first day at a new school, wearing last year's fashion.
I asked the CEO about some of the beliefs he tried to live by, and he revealed that one of the main goals of his traditional practice was to attempt to Rise Above Praise and Blame. He tried very hard not to blame his employees when they screwed up. But he never praised them, either.
Sheila and Tracy found themselves arguing mercilessly about logistics. Who was doing more household tasks? How was the middle child going to get to piano on Wednesday? When would Tracy have time to go back to yoga? Who was going to figure out the logistics of getting them to a family reunion in August? The stress became overwhelming, and threatened to destroy them.
We know the limitations of avoiding big conversations and feelings in relationship on a regular basis, so avoidance is obviously not recommended as a long term strategy. But it can be used in moments, in small doses, as in the story above, to preserve a more important, agreed upon value.
All through dinner prep and catching up with my friend, I breathed into my discomfort as I focused my full attention on him. My task was to really reconnect with my friend. We swapped stories and smiles, and even with the nagging provocation hangover, I was enjoying the reunion. About halfway through the meal, a miraculous thing happened. . .
My partner loves to tease when he catches me putting on a little perfume before one of my online courses. "Do you think they'll sit close enough to the webcam to smell you?" I understand how strange this seems. It's just one of the things I do to get into professional character.