Posted in differences, mindset

It’s all relative

Yesterday’s post started with a quote from myself: “I have eaten a lot (for me) of junk food in the last week or two…”

This qualification comes off as “better than you” to some people. “A lot for you but not a lot because you’re already so good.”

I give it because if I don’t, I hear, “Well, how much? That’s not a lot!”

People.

It’s all relative.

It doesn’t matter how much you eat compared to someone else. If you’re making healthy changes for you, then don’t compare yourself to anyone but you.

And don’t let anyone else do it, either.

Assume positive intent in other people’s stories and qualifications. Either they’re insecure and are qualifying to help themselves feel better (mine sometimes are!), or the qualification is there for some other reason. Either way, let it be.

Posted in about me, differences, know better do better, mindset

My path from introversion to introversion

I’ve always been an introvert. I’ve not always know I wasn’t defective.

I have never been comfortable around strangers.

I have no idea whose house we were at, but they had a piano. I must have been pretty young, because when I was in elementary school, my parents bought a piano and my sister took lessons. I wanted to play the piano. (I didn’t know how to play the piano.) She said I needed to ask. I was terrified of asking. She said if I didn’t ask, I wouldn’t get to do it. I didn’t ask.

That’s not introversion. That’s anxiety.

I remember in 7th grade seeing a (very extroverted) friend of mine talking and laughing with a couple of other people and thinking that I wished I was more like that because it looks like so much fun.

I spent the next 25 years trying to be that.

And then I realized: that’s just not me. And that’s OK.

In the mean time, I gained skills in hanging with people who I’m uncomfortable with, maybe without it being completely obvious. (I’m still pretty self-conscious in those situations, so it’s hard telling what it looks like from the outside.)

I can have a conversation with a person I don’t know, if they can hang for their half and if there’s something to trigger a conversation.

Most of the time, I still can’t start a conversation from zero with a person I don’t know or don’t know very well.

Unlike the current pop definition of introvert, I love spending time with people. They just need to be my people. I spend so little time in meaningful conversations that when I can spend time with friends, it definitely feeds my soul. (And if I’m feeling particularly chatty, watch out!)

But, like the real definition of introvert, I also need time to myself to recharge. But recharge from the energy spent with people teaching or small talking or other necessary-but-draining activities. Not from hanging with friends.

I’d be thrilled to lose more of the anxiety, or to be better able to make conversation, but not being an extrovert? That’s OK.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in differences, know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

If it ain’t broke…

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Who defines “broke”?

So much of what has been going on socio-politically here for decades (centuries?) really boils down to this question, I think.

People yearning for “the good old days” were, as far as they were concerned, part of a system that was working just fine. Ain’t broke, don’t fix it. (These are the “I don’t have a problem so no one does” people.)

Everyone else was not.

(I would argue, though, that even if it’s working (whatever “it” is), that maybe re-evaluating and looking to improve is often worth the time. Not in the way that we see so often, where we shake things up just to shake them, but in a way that is thoughtful and methodical.)

And so we try to fix it, with constant resistance from people for whom it wasn’t broken to begin with. (Or from people who have been convinced that it’s not broken. Or from people who don’t know that everyone isn’t in their same situation. The “I didn’t know my family was weird until I was 24” kind of scenario.)

A bit of self-reflection I heard, paraphrased:

I did a thing with positive intent to a person who is different from me. The person I did it to received it negatively because of how people like her are seen and treated. At first, I argued that that’s not what happened here, because that wasn’t my intent. But when I stopped caring only about defending myself and looked at it from her perspective, I realized that she was right and I was wrong, and I felt terrible. So we talked a little and I apologized, and I was grateful that she accepted the apology.

I think it’s the “feeling terrible” part that people in general look to avoid—of course!—but you can’t learn and grow without making mistakes, seeing the mistakes, and correcting the mistakes—even if the only opportunity for correction is moving forward.

 

 

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Posted in differences, know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Do you hope others learn from your mistakes?

There seem to be three ways of looking at the plight of other people in relation to one’s self.

1: I don’t want anyone to suffer like I did. This person wants to mentor/coach people through it, or try to fix the problem entirely to decrease the number of people who go through the same experience. “It wasn’t good, and let’s see if we can reduce or eliminate it.”

2: I suffered; why shouldn’t they? This person wants the score to be even and resents people who avoided pain that they endure(d). “It wasn’t good, and haha now it’s your turn.”

3: I’m not suffering so no one else is. This person doesn’t understand that other people have different experiences and that their own experience isn’t able to be generalized to the population at large. “It’s all good.”

I see a lot of all three.

Less of the second and third would be ideal, but that requires a level of empathy that a lot of people don’t seem to have lately. (Maybe they never did and lately it’s simply more apparent.)

You don’t have to treat others the way you were treated.

Empathy and vulnerability are not weaknesses.

The proverbial rising tide raises all boats.

Love and kindness are not a zero sum game.

Hurt people hurt people. Help others. Let the tide rise.

 

 

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Posted in about me, differences, exercise, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health

I am a runner, but…

I’m here today to give some confidence to the slow and less enthusiastic among us.

I’m a runner. I’m slow. Lately, I’ve been running 12- to 12.5-minute miles. At the fastest I’ve ever been, I ran 5K in 29:20 (or something close to that). Once.

(I had only one other 5K under 30 minutes. It was a Komen run. I’ve long since learned about the dark side of the Komen organization and I don’t patronize their events. But I couldn’t get rid of my only sub-30 bib, so I trained to be faster—something I nearly never do—just so I could break 30 minutes again, have a new bib, and get rid of the Komen one. Also in that race, I placed second in my age group, something I don’t anticipate happening again unless there are only two of us.)

Anyway, I’m slow, but I get the job done.

Also? I don’t like running long distances. On regular evening runs around the neighborhood, I’ll go between two and four miles. Four was more common when I ran with running club. I just ran four this morning for the first time in probably two years. (I did a 10K last winter, but we walked a fair amount.)

Two half marathons taught me that I don’t like running half marathons and, until further notice, don’t need to run another. (I’d walk one, if someone was interested in walking together.)

For a while, I had stopped listening to anything while I ran. That turned out to be good, because I could use the time to clear my mind. Most of the time, I still run without music or podcasts, but every now and then, I don’t want to be all up in my head and take something to listen to. Sometimes The Climbing Daddy and I run together and talk.

Also? I don’t love running. I’ve never had a runner’s high. After a couple of miles, it starts to feel tedious.

But I love (and need) the benefits that come from running. Nothing is a better mood stabilizer. Can be done nearly anywhere. Just need weather-appropriate clothes and decent shoes (and good socks, if not in Vibrams).

So, to the people who run without loving it, who don’t run far, who don’t run fast—I am one of your people. If you need a running partner for a dose of anti-depressant, let me know.

 

 

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