Monday, November 9, 2015

Assorted thoughts

Just finished a rough call weekend. It wasn't just the call that was rough, the kids were rough, I had 2 fights with my husband, L is sick and didn't sleep well, and I'm getting sick AGAIN. Even the most minor setbacks is throwing me off balance right now. I just wrote the strongest worded email I have ever written to someone who has completely failed to do their part in a major project. I have no patience for bullshit right now.  I really need a drink. 6 more hours.

I've been thinking about the balance between acceptance and growth. I continuously challenge myself to be better in many aspects of life---something I  believe is crucial to my happiness, because what is the point if I am not growing and learning? But I am also trying not to beat myself up for not always rising to the challenge. I'm sure there is something in there about the growth mindset and also about buddhism but I'm too tired to look into it right now.

On that note, I started reading "Mindset" last night & so far I am underwhelmed. Maybe because I already know the concept of the mindsets, and maybe because I've only read about about 15% of the book, but her "examples" are SO simplistic. CEO A has a fixed mindset and ran his company into the ground trying to appease Wall Street while CEO B has a growth mindset and said F you to Wall Street and now his company flourishes. Literally, there are at most 2 sentences about each "example"! There was a REALLY interesting paragraph about marriage between people with different Mindsets---I really really wanted to read more because that paragraph sounded really familiar. But that was it. A 4-sentence paragraph. Maybe she will expound on these in later chapters? The writing is also (as she admits!) a bit sloppy with grammar. Sort of like this blog, but I'm not getting paid for this ;)

Similar to the acceptance/growth juxtaposition is the issue of trying to be positive while still acknowledging that life sometimes sucks. Gwinne wrote about it here.  For me, the key is to not lie to myself or whitewash the truth about the hard stuff but also not to let it get me into a spiral of doom "everything is awful, its only getting worse, I can't deal with this, how am I going to deal with this" that ramps up my anxiety and is also pretty miserable. Really making a point of noticing the good things (which I have to do while I'm doing my "3 good things" journal, and sometimes, man I have to dig DEEP to find three things to write!) is helpful in this regard. Once I've managed some perspective, I can actually take a step back, figure out what isn't working, and actually try to implement strategies to make things better.

That leads me to the insight I had this weekend that just like my children (and my husband) I find that when I start to behave badly it just goes downhill and its hard to reset. I do/say something I am not proud of, and now I feel shame, and then I get a negative reaction from someone, and then the shame builds and maybe anger joins in, and the next thing you know I'm lashing out again even though what I really really want to do is act differently and make things better. The absolute best thing is to remove myself from the situation but that isn't always possible. I need to figure out a way to reset my emotional state in these instances so I don't continue to be a terrible wife/mother!

I am taking B to a therapy appointment this evening. G took him last week, it was just background stuff, more him talking to her, no insight or recommendations coming from her. the timing is pretty bad----I don't miss as much work, but we will both be tired & hungry, and its all the way across town from work & home. This is where splurging on uber becomes worth it.


  1. With the mindset book, you're probably good just reading the first couple of chapters because they are incredibly repetitive-- and the main points have been covered in other things you've read (like Nurtureshock maybe?). You might prefer reading her actual scholarly work, or you know, just the introduction. She's really an academic, not a popular author and probably should have paired up with a journalist.

    Re: resetting emotions-- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has some good tricks. One that I got some use out of was putting a rubber band around my wrist and snapping it really hard saying, "Stop!" And... somehow that kinda worked to reset things. There's probably other stuff in that literature you can try too. (And... I seriously doubt you are a terrible wife and mother!)

    Good luck!

    1. I doubt it too!

      I like the rubber band trick.

    2. ooh thanks for mentioning the rubber band trick. I'll look into other, similar CBT methods (my therapist didn't have any last time I asked). No I'm not ALWAYS a terrible wife & mother, but...I have my moments.

  2. Spiral of negativity is interesting....I probably have that too, but I hadn't really thought of it that way. Rubber bands...hmmm.

  3. Try book Celestine Prophecy. It is helpful to understand why we behave the way we behave. Each one of us has their own drama, and we repeat our drama, thus making it harder to achieve emotional balance. Sorry to hear you kid is going to therapy.

  4. I've been trying the 3 things gratitude list too (I have to write an article about it). I agree, some days it involves some deep digging. However, the upside of forcing myself to do it is that I often have a moment in the middle of the day where I go, hmm, what will I write on the list tonight? And if it's been a crappy day, I will figure out 3 things that might happen later that I will then engineer, in order to have something to write. So it's in theory a reflective exercise, but I find it more useful prospectively.


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