Tag Archives: ego

Curiosity Never Killed this Cat

curious

“Don’t feel pressured to make firm plans for the person you think you are now and will be years hence. They will box you in. You will wake up decades from now wondering how you are living a life decided on by who you believed you truly were when you were 21 years old. Instead, keep living life for the as-yet unknown person you will keep on morphing into; keep the possibilities open.”

I read this little nugget of wisdom in an article that popped in my inbox from LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-breaking-free-yourself-michael-puett?trk=eml-b2_content_ecosystem_digest-hero-14-null&midToken=AQH4GcXhGvSdHw&fromEmail=fromEmail&ut=1XGEoVENy1ang1.

When I feel overwhelmed at work or I’m entering situations/conversations I know I’m ill-equipped for, I take a step back and remind myself to stay curious.  I learned this as I was pounding the pavement in dental sales for Henry Schein, Inc.  I didn’t know my catalog.  I didn’t know what mattered to dentists.  I knew my products typically sold at a higher price than my competitors.  When I started to approach my days and my customers with curiosity I began listening more.  I was paying attention to things that really mattered and not my own agenda.  I was a better person for it and my sales numbers grew.  Whenever I interview for a new job, I stay curious.  When I encounter a difficult resident, I stay curious.  When something doesn’t feel right with my life, I stay curious.  When you approach ANYTHING with an open mind and with the expectation that you’re going to learn something, you can’t lose.

Staying curious grounds me and allows me the freedom to not get caught up in my own head.  It connects me to all living things and has afforded me the opportunity to learn on a daily basis.

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I am not perfect.

It doesn’t happen often but I guess it happens often enough for me to keep doing it.  My journal reads just like my 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th (you get the point) grade journals.  The same themes and issues pop up and really it’s where my thoughts on boys and the daily grind of life go to die.  But I keep at it, trudge through, because every now and then I have wonderful insights… this happened just this past Saturday night.

I was enjoying a fabulous single-mom night in and I took to the page and scribbled a ton of ink down. I was borderline manic.  I penned the line, “I am not perfect,” and was like an epiphany.  Simple, right?  I don’t think anyone believes they are perfect.  I certainly don’t.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still judge and hold myself to the standards of perfection.  I think that’s part of the guilt I wrote about recently and the standards we hold ourselves to as humans.  I don’t spend a lot of time admitting to my downfalls though and it’s not the most comfortable thing to lay down on paper–I can assure you that.

But that one line hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am not perfect.  In that one line I found myself holding myself in a place of tenderness.  I don’t do that very often.  I saw myself as a work in progress.  From there I could forgive and move past a few things.  I didn’t have all the answers and it was okay because I’m not perfect.  I wanted to run to the mirror and tell the girl in it that she was more than okay, that she was good.  I chickened out of the mirror part but I need to do that.  Saying things to yourself in the mirror is frightening but so f’n worth it.

That one sentence saved me in ways.  I combed through the past year.  It was a really tough year.  I walked away from a relationship that hurt me.  Sure, I told myself not to blame myself but I held some blame.  I was lied to, betrayed to in major ways, and found myself living a life of pure worry and anxiety.  I’m not perfect though and either is my journey.  It’s been that way for a long time but I’m okay.  So the revised sentence because, I’m not perfect and that’s okay.  My journey will never be perfect.  I was able to then look back at my life and celebrate my successes.  And giving myself some breathing room will allow me the space to cultivate more successes.  I can taste it.

I can’t control everything.  Now that I don’t have the worry of my past relationship I need a new way of building.  That got me thinking.  I’ve spent  a few years reacting and making decisions because I needed to make them.  I lost focus while on the defense.  That’s not what life should feel like, right?  So, it’s time to climb back into my imperfect skin and get down to Britta Business!  Let’s look at life through the Britta lens and make decisions from there.  I won’t be perfect.  Life will send me obstacles.  I will be hurt again.  I might fail.  But if I’m always perfectly Britta, I’ll be a better person because of those trials.

With fall comes Homecoming, right?  Fitting.

Morrissey is okay, but am I?

I love the song “Okay By Myself” by Morrissey…

Click to watch Morrissey perform it live!

Here are the lyrics:

Could this be an arm around my waist?
Well, surely the hand contains a knife?
It’s been so all of my life
Why change now? It hasn’t

Now this might surprise you but
I find I’m okay by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your morality to save me
No, no, no, no, no

Then came an arm around my shoulder
Well, surely the hand holds a revolver?
It’s been so all of my life
Why change now? It hasn’t

Now this might disturb you but
I find I’m okay by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your benevolence to make sense
No, no, no, no

After all these years
I find I’m okay by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your homespun philosophy
No, no, no, no

This might make you throw up in your bed
I’m okay by myself
And I don’t need you
And I never have, I never have
No, no, no, no

I struggle with the down time.  I always have.  Since high school I can remember cramming my schedule full of activities, clubs, groups, and friends.  And when I started dating, I never stopped, never took a break.  And now that I’m an adult (in some sense of the word) I’m the same exact way and I’m sick of it.  Why do I need so much attention?  So many distractions?  Why can’t I just be single?  Why can’t I put my stupid phone down and just relax?  Seriously, I feel like I’m facing a attention-starved, persistently lonely epidemic.  And what do I get from all that white noise?  What’s in it for me?  And is it causing more harm than good?

Every now and then I sit down to think about this but it’s like I’m an addict.  I can’t go a minute without some sort of stimulation (connecting, reaching out, etc.).  I seriously short-circuit when I don’t have my phone with me and I’m heating up a Hot Pocket in the microwave–it’s happened.  I respond immediately to social media, emails, text messages, snap chats, tweets, LinkedIn stuff, and whatever else can be schlepped onto this list.  I crave it.  I need it.

Lately I’ve been more hard on myself from the relationship point-of-view.  Why do I have to constantly be engaged with relationships?  I can’t wake up, get in the shower, get dressed, and go to work without checking in with a guy.  Why?  And I can’t move through my workday without the attention from someone.  Why?  Sure, it feels nice to be recognized and such but like why do I NEED that?  And aren’t I just setting up meaningless relationships?  OR, on the other side of the coin, maybe I’m creating unrealistically high expectations for anyone looking to take on the role of being my boyfriend full-time?  Probably.

What am I getting out of saturating my time with meaningless check-ins and attention?  I’m projecting.  I’m looking for praise in hollow spaces.  I have that problem.  What’s my weakness?  It’s sitting by myself with nothing but quiet.  TERRIFYING!  I’m not okay by myself.  I don’t even permit the time to be alone.  It’s been like this forever.  I can’t live life afraid of myself.  I’m better than that.  Therapy always helped block out time for introspection and quiet time. Maybe I need to get back to therapy.

Anyway…

I need to focus on what’s important.  I need more genuine interactions focused on growing.  Anything that is “filler” needs to be trimmed.

Line ‘Em Up: Back to the Basics

I thought I was past this point.  It’s like you learn these things, apply them, and then you think you’re “good”, right?  But that’s not how it works.  I occasionally leaf through my old journals and I’m blown away at how the same issues keep rearing their ugly heads.  It’s rare that I deal with anything new.

Recently I had a decent conversation about life, sex, relationships, etc.  He said that sex has become purely physical for him and that the emotional and psychological aspects have been missing.  I haven’t thought about those categories since college (yep, about 13+ years ago).  I decided to throw myself into therapy in college.  It didn’t last.  They assigned me to this young guy, most likely pursuing his next degree.  I hated him.  One day he was late to our 8am appointment.  I followed him up to his office.  His first question, “I know I was late, how did that make you feel?”  SERIOUSLY BUDDY?  Told him that his time with me is expendable and that I was hoping he didn’t show up so I could do school work and maybe grab breakfast.

But… he did help me in one way (just one). He told me that we have thoughts, feelings, and actions.  The psychological, emotional, and physical self.  The goal, he said, was to get all three moving in the same direction.  It made perfect sense then.  But it feels so foreign to me now though.  It’s something I should look at on the daily.  Like, maybe I’ll set an alarm or put a white board in the shower.  I think it’s that important.

I imagine most humans aren’t doing it right.  How do I know?  I know I’m not doing it right and I’ve seen first-hand how people are lying to one or more parts of themselves and the consequences that trickle out from there. I think the goal of getting them all focused and going in the same direction is a goal but one that needs to be set and reset and reset, etc.  But it’s not always easy to keep all of them in check.  The ego bubbles up.  Emotions run wild.  There are so many limitations, circumstances, and factors that come into play every minute of our lives.  Maybe it’s about taking control.  Maybe that’s it.