Tag Archives: confidence

Hurting People Hurts Me

I had to hurt someone’s feelings today and I don’t like it one bit. Not ONE bit, I say. I feel like a jackass.

I met a guy online a few days ago and had a good connection with him while texting. We set up a lunch date today and he tried to cancel at the last minute this morning. The way he did it gave me the impression that he is not confident – actually quite the opposite of confident. Other things he’s said in texting for the past few days supported this idea.

We did meet for lunch today. He was a very sweet, kind and seemingly a romantic type of guy, but the lack of confidence came across strongly. He also has a very serious medical condition that has no cure and can only get worse over time. He has Parkinson’s.

His low self confidence is my primary motivator for telling him I didn’t want to see him again. I don’t want to need to be the person to build him up. He needs to do that on his own while the love of his life supports him. She can’t be the foundation though.

I believe this is especially true for a person with a serious medical condition.

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The Speed of Sex

WARNING, if you know me personally and don’t want to know ANYthing about my views on sex, then please skip this post.  I use my writing as a method of thinking through who I was, who I am, and who I want to be and this time it happens to be about sex.

I was thinking about this last night, as I was trying to sleep.  I move fast in relationships and always have.  When the ex and I first started having serious relationship issues and divorce was a possibility, I was worried that I would revert to my old ways.  My old ways were to have sex as soon as possible – not because I really wanted to, but because it was my disillusioned way of hooking the guy.  Sometimes it worked, as was the case with my ex.

In other words, I was having sex for all the wrong reasons and sometimes I didn’t feel good about myself because of it.  I didn’t work through those feelings until 2012, while the ex and I were going through our most difficult time.

I am very happy that I was able to work through it.  Now that I am dating, I know that when I decide to have sex with someone it will be for the right reasons for ME.  It may not match someone else’s idea of the right reasons, which is their problem, not mine.  It will be right for me!

I am a much stronger woman now than I was in my teens and early adulthood.  I am more confident.  I know what I’m worth.  I don’t need to hook him or anyone.  I know when I am ready for more intimacy.  This is incredibly freeing for me, more so than I could ever describe with words.  It is allowing me to be who I really am with my new guy: intellectually, emotionally, and sexually.  It is allowing me to be free with him and enjoy our experiences more than I ever imagined.

Choose a Reality

I’ve been thinking about happiness for quite awhile now.  Being gracious, thankful, happy, etc.  I want that.  It’s not that I’m unhappy, but that things can always improve.

I’ve read (but never finished – truthfully) several really good books on the subject:

I am currently working through Before Happiness and will be blogging about this in an effort to get these concepts to stick in my head.

Working on Choosing a Reality

Recognize Alternate Realities

This is simple, recognize that what you initially perceive as reality may not be the only reality.  If you land in a potentially negative situation, there may be an opportunity hidden in there somewhere.

Vantage Points

Shawn Achor’s books are wonderful.  It is amazing how much input our minds receive moment to moment.  How do we decide which input to focus on?  We can only focus on 40 bits of information per second out of over 10 million bits we receive.  Shawn talks about recognizing alternative realities.  With that much information pouring into our senses every second, we need to learn how increase our likelihood of seeing these other realities.  He talks about vantage points.  You’ll have to read his book for the details, but I see this as “looking at the BIG picture.”

I’ll use a floundering marriage as an example.  If you are only focusing on your unhappiness, you may not see that you are truly loved by your spouse and that she is showing it in ways you may not recognize.  Maybe you wanted her to be the entertainment planner but she’s focused on making sure the house is clean so that you don’t need to worry about that when you get home.  In order to see that she really is showing her love, you need to look at things from different angles.  This might involve learning more about love languages (there’s a book for that: The 5 Love Languages, by Gary D Chapman) and learning how to communicate with her about what makes you feel loved.  It might involve studying other couples to consider the various ways they show love.  Or if you’re really brave, maybe it would involve reading a love story, keeping in mind that the situation in the book will be so over the top that it will knock you back down into what is real.

Pursue Valuable Reality

Now that you can see different realities because you’ve added vantage points, it is time to learn how to pursue the reality you feel is most rewarding.  This part is less clear to me, so forgive me as I muddle through.  Shawn talks about the positivity ratio, which I’ve read about before (especially in How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O Clifton, PhD).  For every negative in a work relationship, there should be 3 positives to maintain a positive work environment (engagement, sales, productivity, low turnover).  In marriage the ratio is 5 positives to 1 negative.

Next Shawn moves on to talking about overcoming blind spots.  I see this as an effort to gain perspective, gather data / information, and consider multiple view points.  This relates it to his next topic in the pursue the reality you feel is most rewarding section – Embracing Multiple Cultures.  Discuss things with a variety of different people: male, female, American, European, Chinese, executives, professionals, etc.  To me this is just a continuation of vantage points, but maybe that is because I have more difficulty with the abstract than the concrete.

Ultimately, the difficult part is to recognize alternate realities – not to choose one that is beneficial.

Stay tuned for the next chapter, Mapping Your Success Route.

Saying What’s Real…

…7 Keys to Authentic Communication and Relationship Success, by Susan Campbell.

I just started reading this, not even out of the introductory matter.

So far I’ve learned the phrase, “When you say that, I feel…” and I’m going to apply that to a vague memory of my daddy’s irritability towards me when I was a kid and trying to help him with something.

The Incident

All I remember is that it involved me holding a flashlight and that I wasn’t holding it to his satisfaction.  That doesn’t really matter though, because this scenario happened over and over between either me and him, my mom and him, or a sibling and him.

So, I’m a kid and stuck holding a flashlight for my dad.  My dad typically doesn’t explain what he wants, such as “Ok – shine the light here so that I can see in this area.”  Not only that, but when you don’t do it right he won’t correct in a friendly way.  You are just supposed to KNOW what he wants.

I don’t remember the words in any detail, just the basic message and my feelings.  Dad says something like, “No, don’t shine over there.  That is blinding me.  Can’t you see that I need the light over here?”  His tone is dripping with irritation and I’m hearing, “God, you’re such a stupid kid.  Can’t get anything right.”  I can’t be sure, but I think he may have even said those words to me at some point in time. If not me, probably at least to someone else in the family within my hearing distance.

The Impact

Ask anyone who knows me well, a HUGE button for me is when I feel like someone is implying I’m stupid or didn’t do something right or do something fast enough or good enough.

I still don’t have a clear picture of how Susan would recommend handling this situation, because I’ve just started the book.  But I feel that I need to start getting closure on this and so I’m going to say to my dad, “When you say that I feel stupid.”

Left Out

Happy people surrounding a person feeling left out.Every week in staff meeting at work we take a few moments to thank team members.  Most of it is in the form of, “I thank X for helping me to finish Y on time” or “I thank G for helping me figure out what to do about Z.”  But once in awhile a team mate offers extra thanks in the form of “pride award points” that can be spent on gifts through our gift store, or even transitioned to real $$$ to spend on Amazon.com.

Yesterday several people who worked on a project that I was involved in received pride awards.  I didn’t get one.

I don’t expect recognition.  I like recognition though.

And when everyone else on the team gets recognized and I don’t – well – it makes me wonder why.

Was I forgotten?  I don’t like that idea.  I don’t need to be popular, but certainly don’t want to be forgotten.

Did I do something wrong?  If I did, I sure would like someone to share that with me so that I can learn from it.

Did I not put enough effort into it?

Why, why, why???  It makes me feel deflated, demotivated.

Know Thy Self

You would think that this would be easy for the vast majority of people.  Who could know us any better?  After all, we have access to all of our own thoughts, fears, desires, etc – like no other person does.  So why do I have such a hard time knowing myself (like so many other people)?  In early May, I went through a period of “funk.”  I wrote about it, which helps me to analyze myself and hopefully learn from it so that I can improve my interactions with important people in my life.

I have vague ideas on what my needs are, but I’m still not quite sure, or at least not sure how to recognize when they’re not being met and use good interpersonal skills to increase chances of them being met in the future.  And if I’m not sure, how can my hubby be sure?  During my “funk” I could not determine specifically why I was feeling that way.  I wanted to understand myself better so that I could make a plan for getting my emotional needs better met – at home AND at work (which was NOT happening).

In psychology, some people are referred to as “chameleons.”  This entails being someone that you think others feel you should be.  I think that is me.  Deep down, I’m terrified of rejection.  If I reveal that I’m irritated, sad, weak, or in disagreement – you’ll leave me.  That might be a bit too strong for most of my relationships, but I believe there may at least be a temporary withdrawal and the potential for further withdrawing each time I reveal these parts of myself.  So I pretend to be happy – or at least happier than I really feel, motivated (mostly regarding my work situation), and agreeable – to some extent.  And when I do express discontent, I minimize it or state it in a vague way.

A blogger I frequently read challenges her readers to think about things they like and don’t like, in an effort to get to know their “self” better.  In my relationships, I like (in no order): conversation, being made aware of my importance (recognition), being involved in activities together (doesn’t even matter WHAT activities), being accepted for my quirks – but encouraged – not criticized regarding them, and feeling loved (deep hugs, tender caresses, nice snuggling with legs intertwined).  I don’t like: being criticized, lack of recognition for my efforts, being guilted or pressured into something, being the only housekeeper, being the primary parent by a vast margin (I’m ok being primary by a smaller margin), refusal of participation in my recreational ideas.  I’m sure there’s more for me in each category, but these are the ones that come to mind with minimal thought.

Now, back to my being in a funk recently.  I bolded a few statements above that may have contributed to my funk.  Hubby and I have been in the process of learning to know ourselves and each other better.  In the day-to-day grind there may be several days where a couple may not have much content for discussion, and that was happening at the time.  And there also may not be much opportunity for doing activities together, yep – applied to that time frame.  Then you have to add in that I’m still learning how to trust my instincts about how another person feels and to discuss difficult feelings / topics to get clarification & understanding.  Mash that mess up with tiny critical statements (even if not really meant to be critical – because we all know that I feel criticism where none was intended) and continual frustration on the job – and you get ME in a funk!

I am learning how to communicate more clearly about my feelings and needs.  I hesitate to discuss them because sometimes I’m not really clear on them myself.  So during my funk, I implied to hubby that I was feeling off.  He took it as feeling off physically and I didn’t correct his assumption because I didn’t know HOW to correct it.  Shortly after that we were experiencing a stressful incident together and it became clear that I had not sufficiently communicated my mood.  A couple of days later we both had the opportunity to work from home and it was a light work day for both of us.  Even though we didn’t devote the whole day to gazing into each others eyes – we were able to reconnect without interference from kids and minimal interference from work.  And then we followed it up with a nice motorcycle ride and motorcycle gear shopping for youngest son.

Writing about the event helped me to organize my thoughts, analyze my feelings, and formulate a plan for how to cope better in the future.  I has also helped me to build my confidence in myself.