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Posting Dilemma



I know I have not been very active on this site lately.  There was some discussion of this in the Announcements thread introducing me as a new moderator, but I thought I would add more detail here. The blog feels like a more appropriate place for this, and that way I don't feel like I'm cluttering up an announcement thread with a whole wall of text.

I have made massive progress in the past year or two in learning to stop beating myself up.  I'm starting (just barely) to accept who and what I am, flaws and all. As a perfectionist, I find this to be a difficult thing to do, but I prefer it over the alternative, which is rejecting myself until I meet some artificial standard that I set up for myself in the hope of gaining approval from others.

I'm also experimenting with not giving a lot of weight to what others think of me. That does not imply that I reject social norms (I'm actually rather conventional from most points of view), but rather I am allowing myself to be me, rather than trying to make sure everyone likes me.  If someone dislikes me, at least the are disliking the genuine me, rather than being kind of meh with some fake version of myself.  This is so freeing, but nonetheless I still drop back into my comfort zone of being invisibly neutral whenever I forget to consciously work on it.

I wish I could share this with others, but I had to do a lot of hard work to get here. It took many months of practice and hours of sitting with discomfort, trying out new behaviors (along with new medications, yuck!), and disputing irrational thoughts. I am still not a master of this skill, but I am gradually learning to make friends with my own suffering, and not add to it by layering on additional meanings which are only projections of my reactions to past events I can't let go of.  I definitely have improved, but there is still more work to do.

I'm not a good enough writer to be able to package this up in a way that communicates to others how to do what I did. That's why I don't really post that much, which on reflection probably shows I've still got some perfectionism left to deal with. However, I don't want to say something that causes more harm than good. Given my personality quirks it is easy to take something I say the wrong way, and hear something unkind when I did not mean it that way. In 3d land, (aka IRL or "outside") I am also very quiet for the same reason.

OTOH I don't see how my silence helps others, so I could experiment with being more active. Just writing this out literally made me sweat, so this causes some degree of nervousness on my part. I could view this as a good thing, another opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.

If you have managed to read all this, thank you. I would love your input as to this dilemma. What would you rather see from me - more postings that potentially could be taken the wrong way, but potentially could offer support or understanding, vs being quiet and only stepping in to "referee"?


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It's really wonderful that you've made such great progress, Ralph.

I wonder if possibly you underestimate yourself? I recall your writings over the years and I have always thought your posts showed good awareness, insight, and intelligence. I think you have a lot to offer to the community. I would personally love to see you posting more. Fresh voices and new thoughts are very welcome. We all have different strengths to offer. 

I can understand it feels risky. I worry about potentially upsetting people as well and I dislike conflict, I lack assertiveness, I'm still working on my confidence etc... All of the same stuff I cope with in my day to day life offline. Meh, we're all human and imperfect. It can be something to learn from and potentially grow from too, I think.

Take care and thank you for your contributions. I hope things continue to improve for you.



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I'm sorry I don't have much time now, but I'd like at least to reply to your question:

For me, "more postings that potentially could be taken the wrong way" sounds much better. My experiences show that anything can be taken the wrong way (mainly by some people who are more prone to misunderstanding some kinds of "topics" due to their biases, emotions etc.). Here, it happens quite often, it seems to me. But the only realistic alternative would probably be not to communicate at all, thus loose also all the benefits (many/some people can potentially benefit from what you write even in case when the person you're writing for misunderstands you).

I think this option is also in line with what you wrote here: "I'm also experimenting with not giving a lot of weight to what others think of me. That does not imply that I reject social norms (I'm actually rather conventional from most points of view), but rather I am allowing myself to be me, rather than trying to make sure everyone likes me."

"I'm not a good enough writer to be able to package this up in a way that communicates to others how to do what I did." - First of all, in my eyes, you're a very good writer; I really admire how you can put ideas into words. But OK, that's subjective ;) . But what's important: There are many people who "communicated to others how to do what they did" but even if it's a good read, it can never (or very rarely?) really change somebody. It seems to me that you suppose there should be a "what to do list" that would enable others to get where/what you got. Personally, I saw many such "lists" that seemed suitable for my situation/problem and they didn't work, but... simply because of myself and of the fact that I wasn't "ready" to apply them properly, because everyone has to get to the point of change himself/herself; a text can be an inspiration and give some advise, but cannot do much more in practice. Moreover, there are too many things that can't possibly be included in those descriptions of change - nobody can include everything relevant, so if you follow someone's advises/experiences, you always miss something - it's like following a recipe with missing steps and ingredients. But this all doesn't mean all those texts are written in vain. They may make a difference, they may bring an important piece of puzzle for somebody out there. And that's what you've been doing here, too. I've read your recent posts and I really like them. It seems to me you have unrealistic ambitions for/about them - why else would you have such doubts about writing them?

OK, I should go... ;) 

Good luck on your journey, take care... :) 

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A value for anyone making contributions to the site is that you get to experience yourself doing so. You can hear yourself expressing what you feel at the time and see how that can change over time. You can hear yourself expressing genuine care to another. You can experience yourself using healthy boundaries. When we make mistakes, we experience ourselves learning from them. We are social animals and building the capacity for healthy relating helps us feel better and gives us a blueprint for how to do it with ourselves too.

Ralph thank you for your courage to post over the years. I have always valued your genuineness.

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Literally anything could be taken the wrong way.  {Including this.}  People are extremely contrary, {including me}, and tend to misunderstand rather often.  This is because people often project attitudes onto others that aren't really there, if only because that's easier than admitting that the attitude is their own.

On the bright side, if your words are taken the wrong way, you actually get to interact with the person more, and possibly help them separate who they thought you were, that is, what they were projecting into your words, from who you really are.  If, and sometimes that's a big if, but if they succeed in hearing that you are not in fact saying what they thought you were saying, then they get to wonder where that misinterpretation came from.  You never know, that might be the first step in them recognizing one of their projections and withdrawing it, which is basically how we grow.

On the other hand, if they don't succeed in understanding that you in fact had a genuine desire to help, it's okay to realize that that's their failure, not yours.  And in the meantime, as 'finding' said, you get to continue the trend of giving yourself permission to be you, that is, human.

Oh, and it takes more than a good writer to describe to others how to do what you have done.  For one thing, it differs too much from one person to the next for a 'how to' to work.  For another, people really suck at taking advice.  :-)

Heck, modeling an attitude toward the change that's necessary may be as useful as anything:  the change itself will have to come from inside them, after all.

{Here I am, modeling saying whatever comes to mind, as long as I can hope it's helpful.}  :-)

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