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Day 52: A personal reflection

December 5, 2023

On the days when I’m embarrassed about what I’ve written, I don’t share the link.

I get embarrassed about it for all kinds of reasons – sometimes the quality of the writing, sometimes the content. I imagine particular people reading what I’ve written and rolling their eyes.

“What a load of shit,” I imagine them thinking.

“Did you read Natalie’s blog yesterday?” I hear them saying to each other. “God! She’s ridiculous. What is she on about? Trust her to create drama.” They laugh. “I know. It’s a bit pathetic really. She can’t help herself. Why can’t she just get on with her life like a normal person?”

What does this have to do with Joy?

Yesterday I wrote about how I can be my own worst enemy – how, without anything being “wrong”, I can create a little prison for myself, made of nothing more than my thoughts.

Today it occurs to me that I’m doing it even as I write this blog. When I first started writing, it connected me to people. Friends and relatives reached out to say how things resonated with them and made them think differently.

Despite that, each day, I focus only on how I might be judged. Yet every one of these imagined judgements is just that – imagined. Not one person has said something negative to me about what I’ve written. The only comments I’ve received are ones of support, thanks and agreement. I have the choice to allow this whole thing to be joyful but I go the other way, blocking it and turning the experience into something I should be embarrassed about.

This pattern of thinking has shaped my choices for much of my life. It has kept me from taking the risks necessary to achieve my dreams. It has brought anxiety and fear into situations where joy, connection and fun were available. And it has led me to retreat, reject or become defensive in situations where I might otherwise have learned something valuable.

When my clients find themselves in similar prisons of their own making, I work with them to release the judgements – starting with the judgements of the prisons themselves. That’s the funny thing about these prisons. When you become fully aware of their presence, are ok with the fact that they exist and forgive yourself for creating them, the can dissolve on their own. Once the prison dissolves, other judgements become easier to release too and the judgements can be replaced with greater curiosity, compassion and acceptance.

I’ve experienced this many times. What I have yet to learn is acceptance, curiosity and compassion for the fact that I keep rebuilding the prisons and throwing away the keys.

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