Author Topic: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing  (Read 1994 times)

youngwildandfree

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Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« on: August 26, 2021, 05:43:59 AM »
I've made some real strides lately,  both at work and in my personal life. I was finally trusted with a major contributor role on a couple of projects that I really enjoy. Deadlines are looming, and I have been knocking out tasks and thinking of creative solutions daily. I've been eating healthier and (carefully) started a new exercise routine that I was loving.

Then earlier this week I had a medical emergency that landed me in the hospital and then in bed for a few days. I'm so frustrated. I want to punch a wall. I feel like I've been working so hard to optimize stress/happiness/goals and life keeps giving me the middle finger.

Trying to remember that happiness isn't the absence of difficulties.

Specific Question:
1) I'm struggling with guilt from "failing" to meet the deadlines and metrics I set for myself. I logically realize this is ridiculous. Anyone have tips for reasoning with your brain in situations were you just can't meet your goals?

chemistk

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2021, 06:10:48 AM »
It really sounds like you could use a professional to help you sort these things out.

You're setting expectations for yourself while forgetting about the big picture. Worse, you're blaming yourself for things that are probably more out of your control than you realize.

I get it - it's an uphill battle toward earning what you want for yourself and every misstep is most easily characterized as a character flaw rather than recognizing it as an inevitable part of life. Insurance companies know that for every X,000 miles you drive, you have a y% likelihood of getting into an accident - it's exactly the same for everything else you do. Go on long enough and statistically you're likely to encounter a setback.

I fall into these traps, too, and although it's not the healthiest thing to assign blame for them I do have to give a lot of credit to modern society and social media for helping us adopt a mentality that one must live the most ideal version of her or his life all the time every day.

When you're working toward a goal, the margins for error always feel razor thin. Missteps are perceived to be much more costly than they actually are. We also tend to lament the loss of something we never have (your goal falling out of reach by your own standards) rather than accept and embrace that a setback can lead to new opportunity. The cycles of change and loss are a real mental drag, and I've learned the hard way that the only time and experience teach me how to better adapt to them.

So:

1) Talk to a pro.

2) Don't be so hard on yourself.

3) Take this as an opportunity to reset your own expectations of what you want to do in the project (and your life in general).   

ETA: Your post is not oversharing - I and others have spilled much more digital life vomit on this forum.

Beardog

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2021, 06:49:51 AM »
The more you can avoid getting mired down in negativity, the greater your chances of coming up with creative ways to salvage the situation in the best possible way, win the respect of your colleagues, and increase your own self-respect.

I imagine you have health insurance, you had access to medical care at a hospital, and you probably have paid time off for illness from your work.  You may have people in your life who care about your well-being and were supportive of you during your medical emergency.  What you are experiencing is a temporary setback.  You can do your best to focus on your physical recovery so you can quickly jump back on your success streak at work and your new eating and exercise habits.  If you do that, in a year from now this will likely be an insignificant blip. 

I've been reading a great book called 'A Stoic Challenge A Philosophers Guide to Becoming Tougher Calmer and More Resilient' by William B Irvine.  One of the approaches that he suggests is a mind game in which you think of setbacks as challenges contrived by imaginary 'stoic Gods' to help us become stronger.  He breaks down the challenge of a setback into two parts; one - the challenge of coming up with an approach to get around the setback, and two - the challenge of managing your emotions.  He views the challenge of dealing with your emotions as even more difficult than coming up with a creative approach to dealing with the actual setback.

Good luck and I hope you feel better as soon as possible!

ChpBstrd

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Malcat

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2021, 07:53:28 AM »
I strongly recommend therapy.

ETA: sorry, got pulled away before I could really finish my thought.

The thing with guilt with self imposed expectations, is that you have made it all up for yourself, and can choose to apply completely different metrics to yourself if you want to.

It's simple, but unless you have the skills to do so, it's difficult to impossible. This is why I strongly recommend therapy, because this is a very learnable skill.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2021, 08:17:47 AM by Malcat »

Metta

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2021, 08:13:19 AM »
I've made some real strides lately,  both at work and in my personal life. I was finally trusted with a major contributor role on a couple of projects that I really enjoy. Deadlines are looming, and I have been knocking out tasks and thinking of creative solutions daily. I've been eating healthier and (carefully) started a new exercise routine that I was loving.

Then earlier this week I had a medical emergency that landed me in the hospital and then in bed for a few days. I'm so frustrated. I want to punch a wall. I feel like I've been working so hard to optimize stress/happiness/goals and life keeps giving me the middle finger.

Trying to remember that happiness isn't the absence of difficulties.

Specific Question:
1) I'm struggling with guilt from "failing" to meet the deadlines and metrics I set for myself. I logically realize this is ridiculous. Anyone have tips for reasoning with your brain in situations were you just can't meet your goals?

My compassion to you for your illness and setbacks. What I eventually figured out was that my goals (and more critically the dates I set for them) were not realistic because I hadn't added in buffers for times of illness, family illness, disasters of one sort or another, and so forth. At the time I was working as a project manager and was used to doing that for project schedules, but for some reason I had a blind spot when it came to my own life.

It may be something as simple as that: re-examining your goals and timelines with the understanding that none of us get through life without problems. A good plan isn't so tight that it ignores potential disasters.

Rusted Rose

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2021, 08:36:05 AM »
ETA: A couple of posts were added and edited above while I was writing this, and they say some similar things.

Trying to remember that happiness isn't the absence of difficulties.

[...] guilt from "failing" to meet the deadlines and metrics I set for myself. I logically realize this is ridiculous.

Because you do see these things, you are already on your way to reframing and overcoming the thoughts that are bothering you. It just takes a little time and I think the suggestions of talking it out with a counselor could be good, to help release the energy around it and not hold it in the body.

It isn't totally clear to me whether this thing -- which was completely out of your control and therefore the responsibility and guilt for it is not yours -- had you *actually* miss deadlines and goals, but such metrics are only choices, and they can be changed. And, how you value them can be shifted.

I also agree with the point that any of these kinds of shortfalls, though they feel sharp when they happen, really will fade and matter less pretty quickly.

As an aside, I was shocked to see the MMM post on Stoicism recommending "eliminating negative emotions"! Wowwww, I am very much not a fan of that idea. There are some mechanics of Stoicism that I can see being helpful, but our society has suffered hugely from misguided attempts to dominate and control emotions. Fortunately there are more voices who recognize this these days and we can learn better how to work within our natural and necessary emotional ecosystem/s.

Anyway ...

Tester

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2021, 10:10:54 AM »
I would say I am the same, I am imposing high standards on me and then feel bad when I fail to achieve them.

What worked for me up to a point was becoming "comfortably numb".
Just deciding I don't care about this, I don't care about that, I will do my best and that is it, sleep well.
I am sometimes thinking I am becoming less human by doing this but this was my way of "resolving" this.
So I am now trying to get a balance with this, I don't want to ignore the important things, I only want to ignore the not important ones.
Important/not important depends on each person, lately I kind of don't care about anything except my family and getting more quality time in my family and friends.


And I can't write this without sharing the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FrOQC-zEog


EDIT: I am not saying you should do this, I am just saying what seemed to work for me up to a point.
I think I need to think more about my way and to talk about this with my therapeut.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2021, 10:21:02 AM by Tester »

ChpBstrd

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2021, 10:37:16 AM »
As an aside, I was shocked to see the MMM post on Stoicism recommending "eliminating negative emotions"! Wowwww, I am very much not a fan of that idea. There are some mechanics of Stoicism that I can see being helpful, but our society has suffered hugely from misguided attempts to dominate and control emotions. Fortunately there are more voices who recognize this these days and we can learn better how to work within our natural and necessary emotional ecosystem/s.

This is an interesting debate I'd like to learn more about.

I am intuitively attracted to the Stoic process, which involves use of the cognitive brain to productively redirect the emotional brain for the purpose of maintaining rationality and positivity through hardships. But I also see a lot of the opposite message - that sometimes the cognitive brain needs to listen to the emotional brain so that we can understand our own behaviors, reactions, and tendencies. Through a focus on our emotions, we can better understand ourselves as emotional thinking things, and better maintain rationality and self-control that way. I don't know that "big S" Stoicism contained this distinction, even if our cultural concepts of "small S" stoicism are about emotional repression. Here's an article I found interesting.

https://medium.com/stoicism-philosophy-as-a-way-of-life/stoic-philosophy-as-a-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-597fbeba786a


youngwildandfree

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2021, 10:40:08 AM »
Thank you to all of you for the kind thoughts.

I need a new therapist. My old one was not working for me. I will move this up on my priority list.

I did miss a work deadline, but it was a soft deadline and can realistically not impact the project if I make the work up later or if I can rely on my coworkers to pick up the slack.

"Don't be so hard on yourself" is something I hear often these days. Maybe it's ego, thinking I can do it all. Maybe my parents gave me a messed up sense of drive. We are very close and they called after the emergency to ask if I had considered "working from home" for the next couple of days. They meant well.

Some of the thoughts on stoicism and/or reducing negative thoughts seem out of reach for me. Community/empathy/being in touch with the emotions of others is one of my strongest skillsets/sources of energy and the thought of being numb or out of touch is mildly terrifying. But I do think some of the mechanics or mind games could be worth a closer look.

Malcat

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2021, 10:51:54 AM »
Thank you to all of you for the kind thoughts.

I need a new therapist. My old one was not working for me. I will move this up on my priority list.

I did miss a work deadline, but it was a soft deadline and can realistically not impact the project if I make the work up later or if I can rely on my coworkers to pick up the slack.

"Don't be so hard on yourself" is something I hear often these days. Maybe it's ego, thinking I can do it all. Maybe my parents gave me a messed up sense of drive. We are very close and they called after the emergency to ask if I had considered "working from home" for the next couple of days. They meant well.

Some of the thoughts on stoicism and/or reducing negative thoughts seem out of reach for me. Community/empathy/being in touch with the emotions of others is one of my strongest skillsets/sources of energy and the thought of being numb or out of touch is mildly terrifying. But I do think some of the mechanics or mind games could be worth a closer look.

Often people reach the therapeutic limit of a given therapist, it's not unusual to need to find a new one. Definitely make this a priority.

If something is a thought pattern that you picked up from your parents, then by definition, it isn't coming from yourself, it just feels like it's fundamentally to *who you are* because it's been there for a very long time. I run into this with a lot of the people I advise, they carry artifacts from their parents into their adulthood that simply don't fit with their actual needs, but they are 100% convinced that these beliefs and thought patterns are part of their identity.

It's a bit of a slog to unwind and deconstruct them, but it's very worth doing.

Once you learn that you actually have the capacity to completely deconstruct and reconstruct a belief system and pattern of thinking and behaviour to actually suit what you need, it's incredibly useful and empowering.

Basically, if it's not working for you to continue with this pressure to be the way your parents told you to be, you can just change that. It's not easy, but it's very simple. You just don't have to keep being that way if you don't want to. These are all changeable things.

I STRONGLY encourage anyone who can pinpoint a behaviour back to their parental influence to look at that behaviour with a strong sense of suspicion as to whether it's actually valuable to you. Habits and patterns of self talk are like friends, don't let how long they've been in your life fool you into exaggerating their value if they aren't actually enriching your life. And don't assume that you don't have the option to get rid of them.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2021, 10:54:38 AM »
Personality could be a factor in which methods/therapists work for us. As an INTP / almost-INTJ personality, I'm an analytical type, disposed to look for a logical solution and seek out ways to diagnose issues and design solutions. My approach to problem solving is bound to leave certain other personality types feeling cold, ignored, or even conned by an aloof egghead who is detached from human realities. The theories and propositions that I latch onto as exciting points on the way to a conclusion seem uninteresting to others.

I've found this site offers a lot of value for the time invested. Their free analysis is sufficient to blow your mind.
https://www.16personalities.com

CNM

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2021, 11:01:21 AM »
I relate to your post a lot.  I'm a goal-setter and I get frustrated when things derail achieving my goal. I often heard that I was "too hard on myself." 

In recent years, I've tried making less hard-core SMART goals (the ones that have deadlines and numbers) and more process-driven or value-driven goals.  Instead of "Did I do X within Y timeframe?" it's more like "What are my values and in what ways have I been following them?"

So, in addition to all the good advice you've already gotten, modifying the way you think about goals in general can help ease the exasperation when a certain benchmark isn't hit.

Rusted Rose

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2021, 12:40:46 PM »
As an aside, I was shocked to see the MMM post on Stoicism recommending "eliminating negative emotions"! Wowwww, I am very much not a fan of that idea. There are some mechanics of Stoicism that I can see being helpful, but our society has suffered hugely from misguided attempts to dominate and control emotions. Fortunately there are more voices who recognize this these days and we can learn better how to work within our natural and necessary emotional ecosystem/s.

This is an interesting debate I'd like to learn more about.

I am intuitively attracted to the Stoic process, which involves use of the cognitive brain to productively redirect the emotional brain for the purpose of maintaining rationality and positivity through hardships. But I also see a lot of the opposite message - that sometimes the cognitive brain needs to listen to the emotional brain so that we can understand our own behaviors, reactions, and tendencies. Through a focus on our emotions, we can better understand ourselves as emotional thinking things, and better maintain rationality and self-control that way. I don't know that "big S" Stoicism contained this distinction, even if our cultural concepts of "small S" stoicism are about emotional repression. Here's an article I found interesting.

https://medium.com/stoicism-philosophy-as-a-way-of-life/stoic-philosophy-as-a-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-597fbeba786a

I haven't read the above article yet, but I will. I don't have a deep knowledge of Stoicism but what I have briefly gleaned seems to track closer to the school of wrestling of emotions into submission that I would associate with the way men are socialized (with concomitant assignation of the devalued emotions to the devalued gender). And there is plenty of psychological understanding that cutting off, suppressing, or denying emotions leads to a host of troubles (Jung was on to something with the concept of the shadow). Terms like "toxic positivity" or "spiritual bypassing" point to the quest to remove "negative" emotions, for example. That's only one way to do emotions kind of wrong (IMO) though. Again I don't know if Stoicism really recommends this, but that is what MMM said in that post linked upthread.

Further, I recently started to see the punitive social pressure in the workplace to control emotion and keep anything but "positive" ones out of sight as a brand of the same set of behavior preferences. This book, The Power of Emotions at Work: Accessing the Vital Intelligence in Your Workplace, just came out and I haven't read it yet, and apparently there have been others; I don't know if they bear out my feeling about this.

I thought of the toxic workplaces I experienced early on as dysfunctional families, but I didn't really think about until recently how truly apt that description can be -- trying to please bosses and parents can look very, very similar, and crummy authority figures can use the same handles to push people around. Playing favorites with emotions makes exploitation easier, IMO. Most women for example are pretty well versed in the script that tells us we'd better not show our anger, indignation, distress, and so on at ill treatment, OR ELSE. Of course, this directive is applied to us outside the workplace too.

Oh, and related to this is the insistence that "rationality" and "objectivity" are of the highest value. I'm an INTP as well, logical and analytical as hell, but it turns out I am just about equally right-brained, so I don't tend to overvalue the other side. And though I got just about NO emotional education or support growing up, I must recognize (logically, ha) that this realm is vital to individual wholeness. Yeah, I still suck at it. But I want to be better.

I don't know if I'm adding anything here. But as a voracious reader I sometimes point at books that might be relevant. One is Whole-Brained Living, by a neuroscientist who recovered from a stroke and what she now sees about different modalities our brains can work in, recommending that we become better at all of them; and an earlier book by the author of the new one I noted, called The Language of Emotions. As a disclaimer, I don't necessarily cleave to every nuance of what these authors say, but I learned a lot from both of them.

Sorry if anyone is like, TL;DR!

chemistk

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2021, 12:53:05 PM »
Thank you to all of you for the kind thoughts.

I need a new therapist. My old one was not working for me. I will move this up on my priority list.

I did miss a work deadline, but it was a soft deadline and can realistically not impact the project if I make the work up later or if I can rely on my coworkers to pick up the slack.

"Don't be so hard on yourself" is something I hear often these days. Maybe it's ego, thinking I can do it all. Maybe my parents gave me a messed up sense of drive. We are very close and they called after the emergency to ask if I had considered "working from home" for the next couple of days. They meant well.

Some of the thoughts on stoicism and/or reducing negative thoughts seem out of reach for me. Community/empathy/being in touch with the emotions of others is one of my strongest skillsets/sources of energy and the thought of being numb or out of touch is mildly terrifying. But I do think some of the mechanics or mind games could be worth a closer look.

I get it, everyone says to not be hard on yourself - but you just feel like you have to be. If you're not going to be hard on yourself, then who is? How the hell is anything going to get done, let alone done right, if you don't have a hand in it if not outright doing it yourself.

I get it because I struggle with it daily. You feel like, because you perceive yourself to somehow always have the capacity to do something, that you should do something. Letting something fall apart when you see that there's something that you could have done is downright unacceptable.

I've been working on allowing myself to cede control to the situation. I can't do it for an extended time yet, but in those incredibly uncomfortable moments when I just watch things happen around me, it gives me enough clarity to break the task apart into smaller jobs that are super easy for me to do.

More importantly - I offer one of my favorite quotes (from Thinking, Fast and Slow [ I paraphrase slightly]): Whatever you're thinking about is not as important as you think it is in the moment you're thinking about it.

Malcat

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2021, 12:53:23 PM »
A lot of people when seeking self help without professional guidance tend to misinterpret the concepts of managing and redirecting negative thoughts and feelings as meaning they need to  suppress emotions.

It's easy to interpret these ways, but no qualified mental health professional would promote that kind of thinking.

Emotions are always valid and must be validated, but thoughts are not emotions, and can be redirected and managed. The key is learning the difference between an emotion and the reaction to the emotion, which is the thought/behaviour.

Emotions are never wrong, but reactions (thoughts and behaviours), can be highly maladaptive and critical to manage.

So feeling fear is normal, reacting with a thought of feeling threatened, and then behaviourally reacting with anger can be destructive.

Fear can be recognized, validated, and valued, and one can learn to respond to fear in healthy ways that serve your mental health and overall capacity to thrive.

Assuming a neurotypical brain, the emotion is never the problem. Only the reactions you respond to them with, which are just conditioned patterns established over time, and very modifiable.

Malcat

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2021, 12:55:03 PM »
Thank you to all of you for the kind thoughts.

I need a new therapist. My old one was not working for me. I will move this up on my priority list.

I did miss a work deadline, but it was a soft deadline and can realistically not impact the project if I make the work up later or if I can rely on my coworkers to pick up the slack.

"Don't be so hard on yourself" is something I hear often these days. Maybe it's ego, thinking I can do it all. Maybe my parents gave me a messed up sense of drive. We are very close and they called after the emergency to ask if I had considered "working from home" for the next couple of days. They meant well.

Some of the thoughts on stoicism and/or reducing negative thoughts seem out of reach for me. Community/empathy/being in touch with the emotions of others is one of my strongest skillsets/sources of energy and the thought of being numb or out of touch is mildly terrifying. But I do think some of the mechanics or mind games could be worth a closer look.

I get it, everyone says to not be hard on yourself - but you just feel like you have to be. If you're not going to be hard on yourself, then who is? How the hell is anything going to get done, let alone done right, if you don't have a hand in it if not outright doing it yourself.

I get it because I struggle with it daily. You feel like, because you perceive yourself to somehow always have the capacity to do something, that you should do something. Letting something fall apart when you see that there's something that you could have done is downright unacceptable.

I've been working on allowing myself to cede control to the situation. I can't do it for an extended time yet, but in those incredibly uncomfortable moments when I just watch things happen around me, it gives me enough clarity to break the task apart into smaller jobs that are super easy for me to do.

More importantly - I offer one of my favorite quotes (from Thinking, Fast and Slow [ I paraphrase slightly]): Whatever you're thinking about is not as important as you think it is in the moment you're thinking about it.

If you're not going to protect your mental and physical health, then who is?

It's no one's job but yours to make sure that your life is good. If you don't do it, it won't happen.

chemistk

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2021, 01:01:08 PM »
Thank you to all of you for the kind thoughts.

I need a new therapist. My old one was not working for me. I will move this up on my priority list.

I did miss a work deadline, but it was a soft deadline and can realistically not impact the project if I make the work up later or if I can rely on my coworkers to pick up the slack.

"Don't be so hard on yourself" is something I hear often these days. Maybe it's ego, thinking I can do it all. Maybe my parents gave me a messed up sense of drive. We are very close and they called after the emergency to ask if I had considered "working from home" for the next couple of days. They meant well.

Some of the thoughts on stoicism and/or reducing negative thoughts seem out of reach for me. Community/empathy/being in touch with the emotions of others is one of my strongest skillsets/sources of energy and the thought of being numb or out of touch is mildly terrifying. But I do think some of the mechanics or mind games could be worth a closer look.

I get it, everyone says to not be hard on yourself - but you just feel like you have to be. If you're not going to be hard on yourself, then who is? How the hell is anything going to get done, let alone done right, if you don't have a hand in it if not outright doing it yourself.

I get it because I struggle with it daily. You feel like, because you perceive yourself to somehow always have the capacity to do something, that you should do something. Letting something fall apart when you see that there's something that you could have done is downright unacceptable.

I've been working on allowing myself to cede control to the situation. I can't do it for an extended time yet, but in those incredibly uncomfortable moments when I just watch things happen around me, it gives me enough clarity to break the task apart into smaller jobs that are super easy for me to do.

More importantly - I offer one of my favorite quotes (from Thinking, Fast and Slow [ I paraphrase slightly]): Whatever you're thinking about is not as important as you think it is in the moment you're thinking about it.

If you're not going to protect your mental and physical health, then who is?

It's no one's job but yours to make sure that your life is good. If you don't do it, it won't happen.

It took me a very long time to understand this, and I still know so many people who just can't see past it. When we are the center of our own universe, why shouldn't we rely solely on others to make our lives what we want them to be? Sure seems way easier than having to do it on your own.

Malcat

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2021, 01:24:44 PM »
It took me a very long time to understand this, and I still know so many people who just can't see past it. When we are the center of our own universe, why shouldn't we rely solely on others to make our lives what we want them to be? Sure seems way easier than having to do it on your own.

But if you are the center of your own universe, then you are the one in charge. The boss of a company has the most responsibility.

youngwildandfree

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2021, 09:13:34 AM »
Personality could be a factor in which methods/therapists work for us. As an INTP / almost-INTJ personality, I'm an analytical type, disposed to look for a logical solution and seek out ways to diagnose issues and design solutions. My approach to problem solving is bound to leave certain other personality types feeling cold, ignored, or even conned by an aloof egghead who is detached from human realities. The theories and propositions that I latch onto as exciting points on the way to a conclusion seem uninteresting to others.

I've found this site offers a lot of value for the time invested. Their free analysis is sufficient to blow your mind.
https://www.16personalities.com

I've taken these in the past, but did so again just for fun. While I always end up with an extraverted classification (96% today), I've found that the other categories depend a bit on my mood/the day I took the test, and are typically right on the edge.

There is zero doubt that I get my energy from being around people, work best in collaborative group environments, and can easily pick up on others feelings/what is important to them. Using these traits for good and being careful not to hurt people or drowned in others needs is something I've worked hard at the last few years. Basically boundaries are a major struggle for me.

youngwildandfree

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2021, 02:48:53 AM »
Posting here again because I feel like processing/updating.

My physical health is better. New medication and some rest is working.

My mental health is still a shitshow. I did make progress in seeking a new therapist. I'm on the waiting list for some providers that will likely get in touch with me this week. @Malcat be proud. :)

I'm struggling with the concept of self imposed expectations/letting go/teamwork. For context, everyone on my team at work is SIGNIFICANTLY more experienced than I am. It's a small research based company and I have been here less than a year. We have several huge project deadlines coming up, and my health issues did impact my ability to complete all of my tasks.

But, several of my colleagues told me over the last week that I'm doing great, and they have been impressed by my contributions. So WHY am I still overwhelmed with guilt. Why am I constantly comparing the quality of my work to that of someone who has been in this field for 25 years? Self improvement and growth are important, but this seems unhealthy.

My spouse has been my biggest challenge/support on this topic. Always, but especially in the last couple of weeks. But then I'm worried about stress this could be putting on our marriage. Which comes full circle to feeling guilty for needing help.

former player

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2021, 03:29:09 AM »
One of the mindsets I do notice in people who have been following the way of the mustache for a while is that when a setback happens (and they happen to us all, it's called "life") their reaction is quite often "It's a setback but all the things I've been doing to get my life and finances in order mean that I'm in a much better position to deal with this shitty thing I've just been handed.  My finances are under control, I've got health insurance, I'm in a good job and doing a good job there, I'm communicating better with my partner/spouse because we've learnt to talk things through together, my plans for the future are still in place even if I've had to adjust them a little".  It's not quite a "it could be so much worse", it's a pat on the back that you've already done the work that puts you in a much better position to weather the storm.

I'm sorry you are still in the "worry" phase rather than the "we've got this sorted" phase.  It's good that you've made the necessary moves on finding a new therapist.  The other thing that might help is recognising that in both the situations you are worried about, your job and your marriage, the responsibility does not rest on you alone.  These are both team operations where everyone's contribution counts, and people make different amounts of contribution at different times according to their abilities.  As long as you are communicating with your colleagues at work and spouse at home about how the team effort is going (and that means the team as a whole not your effort alone, you do not need to hold the world up on your own) then you are doing all you need.

omachi

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2021, 10:06:53 AM »
Posting here again because I feel like processing/updating.

My physical health is better. New medication and some rest is working.

My mental health is still a shitshow. I did make progress in seeking a new therapist. I'm on the waiting list for some providers that will likely get in touch with me this week. @Malcat be proud. :)

I'm struggling with the concept of self imposed expectations/letting go/teamwork. For context, everyone on my team at work is SIGNIFICANTLY more experienced than I am. It's a small research based company and I have been here less than a year. We have several huge project deadlines coming up, and my health issues did impact my ability to complete all of my tasks.

But, several of my colleagues told me over the last week that I'm doing great, and they have been impressed by my contributions. So WHY am I still overwhelmed with guilt. Why am I constantly comparing the quality of my work to that of someone who has been in this field for 25 years? Self improvement and growth are important, but this seems unhealthy.

My spouse has been my biggest challenge/support on this topic. Always, but especially in the last couple of weeks. But then I'm worried about stress this could be putting on our marriage. Which comes full circle to feeling guilty for needing help.
Hey, I've been in the position of new to a small research company where everybody was a well recognized expert and I was starting out. Trying to keep up was impossible, but I tried anyway. A couple small shifts in perspective may help a ton. And I know a little bit of humility would have helped me greatly.

Try to get into a learner's mindset. That's not bad advice for anybody anytime, but you need that now. You have a bunch of smart, talented people to learn from. That's ideal for growth, if only you have a little humility and put your competitiveness aside. Learn to love the process and not the output or praise for it, because you're going to be stuck in the process. And since output while learning is never the level of perfection you could achieve, there's no need to feel guilty about falling short of that. You know you're going to, but in exchange you get something more important, growth. With time, your falling short will be better than your previous best.

Learn to play as a team. Learn to trust these other people's judgment of your work. They have significantly more experience than you do. You aren't capable of judging your own work output as well as they can. When they say they're impressed by your contributions, it's highly unlikely they're lying. None of the skilled professionals I've met will praise mediocrity. I've developed my own ways of nicely saying I appreciate somebody's effort but it needs improvement, and you wouldn't confuse them for praise. I understand high personal standards, but it's more likely that your standard is wrong if it conflicts with the experts' standard here. I know that hurts to hear. Your standards will get more accurate with time.

Understand that these people hired you for a reason. Even if they could do your work faster and better, they can't do both their work and your work. You've taken tasks off their plate and are enabling them to do their own work to their own high degree of competence without being overworked even more than they likely are. That's important! There's no reason to feel guilt over being so helpful. In exchange, they'll help you grow. They want you to grow. As you grow, they'll give you more of the hard work that takes the high skills if you show any interest in it. They don't want all of it. They have too much as it is. Be patient and all the hard work requiring the highest standards you could ever want will be yours. Oh, also be careful what you wish for.

Playing as a team means making reasonable assessments of what you can commit to. That means reasonable assessments of any issues (uncertainty in the work, health, stress, family, etc.) that may reduce your output. It's far harder on your team to try to make up work they thought was covered and nobody has bandwidth for than it is to deal with you getting ahead of plan if everything goes perfectly. Be good to your team. And if the experts agree that what you commit to is sufficient, it's sufficient. They need a workable plan, not teammates over-committing and getting off schedule. This is part of your standards being off. You think you need to be a hero. You don't. Trust your team.

When you do compare your work to something, compare it to your own past work. Comparison with the experts is only useful for finding where you still fall short. You won't see your own growth there. I spent 10 years in a group of experts' shadows, thinking I was struggling and wondering why I wasn't making as much progress as I felt I should have been. Those experts aren't sitting still either, and while the gap narrows, you may never catch them. They did have a massive head start. Unsurprisingly, I wasn't able to catch up, despite burning myself out trying. Doing that helped nobody. Bad team play.

But a funny thing happened when I ended up at a different job after all that. People praised me for one of the skills I thought I'd been struggling with. So much so that I was really confused. Couldn't they see I wasn't very good at that? Turns out I'd improved a ton, but couldn't see it because I compared myself to those experts. I'd have seen things much more clearly if I'd compared myself to where I was a decade prior. That difference was clear as day. I had felt bad that I wasn't improving when I was improving by leaps and bounds. How's that for pointless? Perspective matters.

Finally, there's going to be repetition. Blood, sweat, and tears. Again, learn to enjoy the process. If you can't, you're still not going to enjoy it when you're a decade down the road and much more skilled. The work is likely to change with your skills. You'll get to be the expert and have the high expectations, but that means more of the same feelings you have now. That can be miserable if you focus on how much you could stand to improve. That can be great if you love the process of improving. Your choice.

youngwildandfree

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Re: Warning: Post may be considered oversharing
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2021, 02:42:09 PM »
Thank you both. I got a call back from a therapist today so that will move forward. You both make excellent points. I'm extremely fortunate. I have family support and financial security and a wonderful job where I can learn every day from people I would have been star-struck to drink a coffee with just 2 years ago. I'm truly not trying to feel sorry for myself. I logically know all of these things. I just have to keep working on my mindset.