Saturday, July 21, 2012

Opinions. Judgement. Questionable Acceptance.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
~Eleanor Roosevelt 

Why do we put so much weight on what others think and say about us? I think it’s human nature to want to be accepted and loved by our own. But, at what cost?

In all types of relationships we look for approval. We want to know that we are doing the right thing. We want love, acceptance and kudos. Even from when we are very young, we try to please our parents. We try to pick up on cues of what is right and wrong. Cues of how they want us to behave. So we can please them.

We try to fit in with friends and school mates. We are constantly judging ourselves and making micro adjustments in our behavior to fit in. Then we grow up to be in the same situations with older friends and co-workers. Whatever circle of people we are in (or are trying to be in) we change. We mold. We conform. And, sometimes it isn’t for the better.

We may be on the outskirts wanting to be one of the group.

How many of us have been in relationships where we change to please the other person? From step parents to lovers to friends? We fight hard against some of what makes us “us” to be accepted. Yes, there is the need to be flexible, especially in a partnership relationship. But, to try to be who we aren’t, to change what makes us “us,” isn’t the way to go. We try to be too much of who they want us to be. We may try this for a while. Weeks, months, years. Thinking this will make the other person happy which will make us happy. Rarely have I seen this work. We are the only ones who can make us happy.

I have a friend who is hurting from an online dating experience. He opened up, showed his vulnerabilities. He was led along thinking this other person liked him for all that he was. But, in an instant, their opinion changed. They wanted more. They wanted him to be different. They didn’t like him for him. Their words cut him deep. And he’s left trying to pick up the pieces from that hurt. I think he’s better off knowing this now before things moved farther. How much would he have changed about himself to try to please this other person?

I’ve personally made concessions to be with others. I’ve tried to change the little things that make me “me” that they didn’t seem to like. I’ve even made big changes. And, I’ve felt the hurt too. I was looking for the approval of others when what I really needed was just to find someone who accepted me for me.

Trying to be something else?

Recently, I’ve even put a lot of weight behind what people have said while I’m dealing with this head injury. I look fine. I should be fine. They don’t know what goes on in my head or the constant physical pain that I’m in. I fight that every day. Why do I care what they think? Why do I put so much weight behind their words? They aren’t me. I’m trying to let that go. But, it’s years of conditioning and of trying to be accepted that makes it so hard.

It takes time to undo the hurt that comes from when we are dealing with what we perceive as rejection by those we can’t please. We have to re-find ourselves. We have to find our self-esteem again. We have to realize that they aren’t us. They don’t know who we are or what we’re going through. Most likely they have projected their own insecurities and problems on us to make themselves feel better. That hardly seems fair. Why can’t we all just be kind to each other? And accept others for who they truly are? It would then make it easier for us to accept ourselves. There would never even be that questioning. We would always be happy with who we are and celebrate daily in our uniqueness. In the end, that’s what’s really important.

Have you ever felt judged? Why did you care so much? How did it make you feel?


Saturday, July 7, 2012


Inspiration hits us from different places. And, for different reasons. As of late, with the way my head has been, I’ve felt less inspired to write than the old me had. Constant headaches and a short attention span keep me from thinking of much else besides the necessary daily functioning of things. But, I think some inspiration is finding its way back in. And, you want to know where it’s coming from? My Oldest. Yep. Kid inspired inspiration.

My girls came to spend the summer with me about two weeks ago. On Day One, my Oldest asked if I had any legal pads. I scrounged up the remains of one, though it was yellow, and she prefers white. She just started writing.

She filled up all the pages that were left and asked if I could read what she wrote. I was amazed. She had the beginnings of a novel with a Western flavor. It featured a strong, young female main character not much older than herself. Inspiration was tickling me.

Character drawings by Little One for the novel Oldest is working on.

We bought her a pack of white 8-1/2 x 11 legal style pads. She went into the reasoning of why she preferred those over spiral bound notebooks. No metal to dig into her or to catch on her if the spiral got caught on something. Nothing to get squished and keep the pages from turning. No looking at all those holes. The direction of flipping the paper and on and on. She really didn’t have to convince me. For less than four dollars, we can get her a six pack of her preferred note pads.

I know exactly how she feels to want to write on just the right kind of paper. I prefer a spiral bound myself; those half-sized ones with three sections and the thicker spiral wire so that it doesn’t squish and catch. And, I like the yellow legal style pads in the same size she prefers (vs. the actual longer legal size) for my character development and place description notes.

My notebooks. Smaller one has a few blogs written in my special chicken scratch.
Yellow legal pad has notes for novel #3. 

I’m like her, too, on writing a lot by hand. There’s just something in the way our brains work when we physically connect our pen to paper. She is also like me in that she prefers to write with blue pen (whereas Little One prefers black).

Oldest has almost forty pages chocked full of writing so far, not counting separate sheets with her notes and changes. She writes every moment she can. Writes when she first gets up. Brings her notepads to the waiting rooms of my appointments. Scratches things down on them while she’s riding in the car. And, most every night, she writes instead of reading when she climbs into bed.

A few days after she began writing, she asked me if it’s okay to write every other chapter from a different character’s point of view. Little One said she loved a book she recently read like that. I shared with them a few paragraphs from the first two chapters of my second novel, Identically Different. (It's still in the editing stages). It showed Oldest the differences between the ways the two identical twin sisters talk and think. Her eyes lit up. I had inspired her.

And, look. I’m writing. Even just a bit to start when I feel like I have more of a moment of clarity when my head pounds less. This is good. This is inspiration. And, I especially love where that inspiration comes from.

Where do you find inspiration?