Saturday, April 9, 2016

Hey Questioner Artists! Perfect is the Enemy of Good:
When Self-Doubt & Perfectionism get in the way of Creating

If you read back in my blog even a little bit, you'd notice many times where I allude to writing more from then on and then stopping after a couple weeks of doing so.

I get cold feet when I start writing, and I'm always trying to fight against it but it seems that I always know the perfect thing to say to stop myself from making progress:

The information is probably going to be inaccurate. I'll miss some important detail and fail to get my point across. Why bother?

Oh it's a sensitive issue, I don't want to offend anybody.

There is no way anybody's going to find this interesting enough to read.

I'm pretty sure I've said this before in one way or another. It's too redundant.

I don't know what to write right now so instead of staying on the page to figure that out I'll go and watch/read something to occupy that void I feel that could really only be filled by me writing and not this thing I'm about to watch/read.

I'm not in the zone just yet so I'm going to passively wait for the zone to come to me while distracting myself from the zone instead of staying in this blank page a.k.a. just putting myself in the zone like seriously it's so simple why do I keep doing this....

I've been catching up on Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast because I finally stumbled on a note I wrote a while ago (I'm really bad at actually reading my notes-to-self as much as I keep writing new ones) to watch out for her episode on Questioners - the type I identify with within her Four Tendencies framework, which attempts to categorize people based on how they respond to things they are expected to do. Here is the basic summary of it on her site:

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike

For a while I started doubting if I was indeed a Questioner and not a Rebel instead, because I seem to keep failing to follow my own expectations even after I've convinced myself about why I'm doing them the first time (read: previous parenthesis!). I sleep, wake up, then poof! My mood is the captain of the ship again.

But now I realise that it's not because I want to be disobedient to myself, or that I want to be in charge of each moment as they come - it's because for some strange reason, I somehow lose touch of my reasoning very easily in the face of more immediate concerns, often fear and anxiety. Honestly, I'm hoping it's just a case of me having established bad habits so strongly that it's hard to start new ones without having a strong external reset signal for them, like a renovation, a new house, a near-death experience (please don't let it get to that Bea!) ?!?!

Anyway, the conclusion that seems to make sense to my questioning self after having listened to the podcast is that I can combat these unhelpful rationalizations with some helpful ones! Here are some I've compiled:

  1. When speaking about something I care about and I'm doubting the thoroughness and carefulness of my work- This whole thing does not rely on me, I am just one person speaking their mind who might touch just a couple of others. Inaccuracies, or left-out sentiments are just an edit or a comment away should they arise.
  2. When I irrationally fear a backlash in spite of not having enough readers for that to happen anyway- It's highly unlikely, and if it even happens, that's a good thing! That means you have readers who are engaged enough to respond. And you can always respond back, and you've grown in such a way where you are able to argue amicably. Use that skill, trust it, develop it! Use it or lose it! That's the point of social media anyway.
  3. When I am tempted to forgo talking about my own very messy experiences, and attempt to just relay good advice instead of talking about my own journey - Being honest and genuine is more important than being correct, because there are a lot of people far more qualified to speak to specialized information than me. That's not my job here. My job here is to be me and to speak about what I experience, and yes I can sprinkle my theories here and there, but I have to show my flaws too. I need to be open about how messy the journey is for people who might have the same problems. Showing my weaknesses and vulnerability in light of what I am trying to change will be more helpful and insightful than purified advice that has been heard many times. That's how I learn, through watching other flawed people overcome things, and that's how I can most effectively teach anything, too, if at all.
These are the things that apply to me for my internet spaces (YouTube and this blog) where I'm attempting to both document and make sense of my own life. If it does not apply to what you're trying to do, the guidelines in making counter-rationalizations is to lay everything out when you're in a state of analysis paralysis, and take only the parts that stir you to action, and focus on those. And if you're as forgetful as me, make a system where you are reminded of those helpful, actionable rationalizations when you need them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Post-LDR Weirdnesses

Raise your hand if, like me, you're in complete disbelief that it's already friggin' April.

This message Emmy left on the bathroom mirror is a month old now 0.o

That means I met him sixty-five months ago now, and he's been living ~on shore~ (lol) for nine months by next week!

That's four (and a half) times as long as any other time that we've been together in our five year long relationship.

Life has been tough and it hasn't been all butterflies and rainbows, but the thing is, it doesn't have to be for love to be awesome. In fact, that's how it gets a chance to prove its awesomeness - when life gets tough around you, and your love, instead of crumbling in the pressure, just gets tougher and denser in the thick of it all too.

*cue cheesy picture with light effects pa*

But check yourself if you imagined the process to be a dramatic one - heroic struggles with knights, villains, and romantic suffering. If there's anything I've learned about love standing the test of time, it's that it does so through ease and lightheartedness, in moments of silliness and laughing at the same things. In being very good in talking, experiencing little moments together, and being each other's best friend.

I don't know why but I just felt like this picture of a cute potato seal we found while grocery shopping together belonged here.
 Over time, I found that in the imaginary venn diagram of things we find funny, Beardy's circle and my circle have progressively converged more and more, and for the areas where they couldn't, our circles made up for it by straining new space in the middle for things that shouldn't even be considered as funny to make way for gems including:
  • horrible, HORRIBLE puns in all languages possible
  • intendedly incorrect exchanges that we do for fun/out of habit (ex: "i love you so much!" "I love you too, so much!" ; "thank you, please" "thank you too, please." -maybe these don't seem too strange, but we have a special accent for them that I noticed we use on each other a lot)
  • etc (that's all I'm going to say because I don't think it's proper to elaborate on how much we talk about poop)

this pun, not intended. i just think this, too, belongs here somehow.

So yeah. Overall, we might be struggling on the life front, but I'm happily learning that even though life can give you many reasons to be dramatic, love doesn't have to be one of those things. I wish I could reach out to my younger self to tell her this, because I could have saved myself so many tears, insecurity, and time spent yearning for a perfect romantic scenario, which, to be honest, as I see it now, doesn't look at all that fun in the end.

You don't have to be each other's everything, but you can be each other's person-to-share-everything-with. You don't have to fight about differences or ignore them altogether but instead develop a healthy habit of talking and arguing constructively. You don't have to figure everything else in your life out before being together. Just be responsible, and encourage each other to do be better and to pursue what's fulfilling and makes each other happy. It might be near impossible to get a perfect scenario, but keep looking to work on a better scenario each and every time.

What you lack in natural attitude tendencies, make up for with a willingness to understand and accommodate each other's shortcomings. Keep working on your communication skills.

And lastly, instead of trying to be perfect for one another, just choose to be the unconditional, lucky witness and celebrator of each other's type of weird.