Notes to Self

All those people out there are just as afraid of you as you are of them.  Unless they are saints, which means that they have been able to let go of their fear because they don't need it anymore.  That's what it means to say, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself."  Fear is what blocks you from being able to see other human beings for what they are--not enemies, but frightened children, all worried about what the other kids are going to think.  (Hat tip to my sister for helping me see this more clearly.)

You're not crazy if you think that some of the kids, particularly the boys, are making faces at you and then denying it meant anything when you "overreact."  Maybe they meant to get at you, maybe they were just being kids themselves, unable to sit with their own feelings long enough to understand why they said what they did.  But the ugly face was really an ugly face, the cutting remark was really a cutting remark, the emotional manipulation (or attempt thereat) was really there--and you are not crazy to pick up on it.  Neither do you have to do or say anything in response other than refuse to allow their manipulation to affect you.  They are trying to make you afraid of your own judgment, but the only power that they have is what you give them.  Alpha Bitches trust themselves!  (Hat tip to Badger for the link to Yarshar Ali's essay.)

There is no such thing as failure, only opportunities to learn.  Criticism is a gift (provided it is not "gaslighting"--see above).  There is no need to be afraid if someone gives you feedback about your work.  Even if--perhaps, especially if--it is negative, it is still an opportunity to learn.  Perhaps something about your readers and their capacity to understand, but always, and more important, about how well you have gotten your point across.  My sister also had a good insight about this.  "Those of us who grew up getting As on our school work never got enough practice getting feedback," she said.  "We grew up thinking that anything other than an A was bad; worse, if we hear anything other than, 'This was great,' we don't know what to do with the information.  The kids who got Cs learned to learn from their mistakes; all we learned was to be afraid of making mistakes."  Or something like that (she said it better when we were talking on the phone). 


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