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lighten up

Oof, forgot today was my long day. Only about an hour to go …

orange In between bashing my sleepy noggin against a free trial of, I’ve been considering where the disconnect is between what I feel and how I express it, and I think I’ve pinpointed it: before I say what I feel, I am overwhelmingly aware of the thirty different ways in which it might be received. My base assumption is that whatever I say is going to be dismissed out of hand or even rejected, so I’m already on the defensive before the words are out. If, then, the response is not 100% positive, that’s it. I’m upset. Because obviously these expressions of mine are Real and True and Important, to me and to everyone else.

Gah, how scary is that? I don’t want to be that person, always upset and torn up inside about potential rejection, always so dogmatic and self-absorbed!

So here is the new tool for my toolbox: the IMHO. I always found the phrase “in my humble opinion” to be rather precious, but I think it’s useful in this application. If I can keep the IMHO in my mind as I tag my thoughts and emotions with “I think [x]” or “I feel [y]“, then I can be more objective, giving these thoughts an emotions their proper weight as observations and not as some objective truth about the universe, and in turn be less defensive about how they are received. I need to place as little weight on divulging my emotional self as I do on book and movie recommendations; if I recommend a book that I’ve loved to someone and they hate it, I don’t feel slighted. Detachment is what I think I’m getting at here.

And of course, it always helps to repeat the oft-forgotten mantra: Lighten up. (What’s frightening is that I’m positively carefree compared to the me of three years ago. Thank goodness those days are over.)

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