10:03 am - Mon 9.18.2012
Talking to my friend Pat last night - we've started up a "Book Club" on Sunday nights, meeting at the Denny's near my apartment - I told him "not much is happening right now...which is always a dangerous time for me".
It's "a dangerous time" because I fill the "emptiness" with negative thoughts.
And as I believe I suggested in my last entry, I get frustrated about that, because I know it's not helpful and I don't want to be that way...but here I am, many years down the road, being that way.
Being angry at myself because I'm "the way I am", and assuming, at some level, I can't do anything about it - or, to refer to that last entry again, just "wishing" I were different, and didn't have to constantly "manage my thoughts" - clearly hasn't worked for me.
That's something we talked about last night, and it's something I've thought about a number of times before - The basic question to ask when your thinking takes a negative turn is, "Does thinking like this work? Is what I get from this line-of-thinking anything I really want?".
On some level, there's something about it that "works", or else I wouldn't do it.
I'd say, what "works" about it is that it supports/fulfills longstanding negative/dysfunctional thoughts I have about myself - thoughts that come from a difficult childhood, from bad chemicals, what-have-you.
So it "works" - as in "it has a function" - but it doesn't work, really, because I don't want to constantly be propping-up negative, dysfunctional beliefs about myself.
It doesn't get me what I really want, which is to feel fulfilled and happy.
(So now that I figured out this "negativity" thing, I don't have to do it anymore - Pretty cool, huh?)
The book we're reading right now is The Four Agreements.
Yesterday we talked over the first "Agreement", which is "Be Impeccable With Your Word".
At first, I thought it was going to be all about doing what you say you're going to do - The book's called "The Four Agreements", after all - but it was actually more about the power of your words.
That kind of goes back to where I started, with the negative things I say to myself - I am very unkind to myself, and always have been, and I think it's held me back in countless ways (It's certainly made day-to-day life more difficult and unpleasant than it needs to be).
Not really sure where all this unhappiness toward myself comes from - I have "theories", but that's really all they are - and I'm not really sure it matters; the point is that I want to feel better, and I want to work better (As in "being a higher-functioning, more creative, more loving, more fulfilled person"), and feeding myself a constant diet of negative/unkind/unhelpful words doesn't help.
Another part of "Be Impeccable With Your Word" that I've been thinking about a lot is gossip.
Gossip is "coin of the realm" at WW - Anytime two or more WW workers are in a room together, someone who isn't there is going to get talked about.
And 99-times-out-of-a-hundred, the "talk" isn't going to be positive.
It's tough not to get drawn-in, because it's "the coin of the realm" - You want to belong, to "fit in", and this is the thing we have in common.
It's "What people do".
But it doesn't feel good, it doesn't make me feel like a nice person (Maybe because I'm not being "a nice person"), and it doesn't really make me feel good about the other people who are participating - It certainly doesn't make me trust them, in any case (I gossip to "bond" with my coworkers, but let's be clear - When I'm not in the room, I'm as likely to end up on the "chopping block" as anyone else).
Like being negative/unkind with my words toward myself, I don't think I can really just "decide" I'll never gossip again and immediately make it stick - As much as I might not like being an imperfect person who doesn't always do the right thing, that's who I am, so I'll have to practice "catching myself" at it and doing what I need to do to "course-correct".
Then, hopefully, over time, it'll become a fleeting impulse that I can just laugh at, as I move on to other things.
The other area where I've been thinking about my "impeccable words" is on Facebook.
Most times, my status updates are about acting stuff - "Had this audition", "Booked that gig", etc - and are pretty innocuous.
But during this political season, I've felt myself get "fired up" over political issues, and the coming election - and the people on "the other side" of the political spectrum from me - and I can't say I've always been happy with the "tone" I've taken.
I think it has to be okay for me to have beliefs, and to express them - That's supposed to be one of the cool things about being an American after all - but I think it becomes...problematic when it goes from "I believe these things" to "I believe these things...and you're an idiot because you don't".
It goes back to "Does this work? Does it get me what I want?"
I'm thinking particularly right now of a woman I knew in high school - We became Facebook friends sometime back, and she's "on the other side of the fence" from me in every way (Hardcore Fundamentalist Christian, Right-Winger, buys into all the Obama "Birther" crap, etc).
I posted something recently - About a large number of Mitt Romney advisers being former Bush Jr. advisers (Which I think is a bad thing) - and she responded (With a crack about Obama's "Muslim brethren"), and some people responded to her, and she responded back.
And that's where it was left, with her last response.
It's been very, very difficult for me to leave it alone - In my opinion, she's wrong, and not just "wrong", but being really dumb about being wrong.
But what does posting some angry, sarcastic response to her do?
The short answer? Nothing worth doing.
It's not going to change her mind if I - in effect - tell her she's stupid, and try to beat her up with my big brain, and it's not going to make me feel good engaging with someone that way.
It "feeds" something in me that wants to be fed...but it's really something I should let starve.
So that's something I'm going to "work on" on Facebook.
I imagine there are situations where angry, passionate words are called for...but in my life, under daily circumstances, hardly ever.
I think I'm likely to go further, and certainly feel better, erring on the side of kindness.
And if it doesn't work?
I can always go back to being an asshole.
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