Seeking Higher Self Worth
Through Better Communication
George Carlin once wrote or said. That one of the primary things that motivates people is the desire not to be labeled a ‘No Good Shit!’ He’s a major influence on me in terms of using humor to help people see new truths. Don’t worry, there will be no humor in the words that follow!
Today my office is somewhere extra beautiful. I am sitting on a cement slab with fading black paint on it outside my apartment complex which is near a swampy area of the South Fork River.
It’s beautiful because this is one of the local kids favorite places to play. At least its one of their favorite places to play where about a dozen different parents can all simultaneously keep an eye on their kids while they play. We are helicopter pros!
I’m sitting next to my youngest daughter who is playing with physical Minecraft toys instead of the digital ones on her iPad. There is irony in this as I often encourage her to play outside with kids, and now I’m sitting next to her typing on my iPad while she plays. We are talking up a storm!
That’s my office setting today, but today will not be all about work. In a bit, we are headed out to fly a kite at a larger park
There is something grounding about shucking your shoes and sitting on a cement slab. Its not the most natural of environments, but we people sometimes make our own environment and there is beauty in that too. I enjoy nature to a great extent, but I can enjoy an ‘urban playground’ of buildings and sidewalks and more just as much.
We can find beauty anywhere if we just look for it. There is a peculiarly extravagant fire hydrant near me that is extra interesting for example.
So beauty is definitely something that is important to me. I need to be surrounded by beauty and need to focus to draw it in and help shape my view of the world and of myself.
There are other things though that we take into ourselves, into our minds that are not visual. Words in particular are things that we take in all the time and they can have as big an impact on us as a visual setting.
My daughter and I are having a hypotehtical conversation as I type this about the bnenefits or lack there of of putting imaginary children in time outs for being bad.
I’m trying to do a forward fold at the same time. Its been too lng since I have made it to yoga in the studio. Cash flow is something that is not flowing very well for me at the moment.
I’m working on fixing that… 🙂
Back to my lesson
This week I experienced three very emotionally turbulent scenarios that all stemmed from miscommunications with other people. They were turbulent for me and for the people involved. In each of the scenarios, I was unaware of the miscommunication initially.
All I knew is that someone had suddenly taken a very dim view of yours truly. I could not understand why as I felt that I had done nothing to deserve the sudden change in perspective. In one case, it was a person that used to think a great deal of me for a long time (ex-wife) and who has not thought much of me for a few years now. That wasn’t too surprising, but her view of me in the specific situation was extreme and bizarre and far from any type of behavior I have ever engaged in.
It was not real, it was not true. She allowed an incomplete communication to sway her thinking and did not take the opportunity to address it with me. I was responsible for the incomplete communication. It takes two people to miscommunicate!
In the other two situations the miscommunication triggered someone who thinks a great deal of me currently. Two emails were lost due to a tech problem, and a bit of a user error, and the lack of response resulted in her thinking that I suddenly felt less for her than I did. We identified the miscommunication and repaired things quickly. We did a great job of looking at the miscommunication, sharing and figuring out our feelings and healing the temporary wounds resulting from it.
But then we repeated it the next day with a different miscommunication resulting from a single world that confused the context of the rest of a different email message. This too we were able to work through, but it triggered problems all over again.
The actual emails and the miscommunication are not the focus of my lesson and epiphany.
What I learned related to my feelings and how they had an impact on my life and my actions.
In all three of these scenarios, I felt that I was judged based on bad information from the miscommunication. People started to question me and jump to incorrect conclusions about my motivations without asking me about them or seeking clarification or asking me to confirm that I really meant what they thought I meant based on the miscommunication or the absence of communication.
As they questioned my motivation, I empathized with their feelings. I started to ask, what are they feeling. Do they have cause to feel bad? Was there anything in what I said or did that could have been misconstrued? Did I actually say something negative? Did I say something intentionally that was taken out of context? Did I have a typo or an autocorrect moment that totally shifted the intent of my words? I tried to put myself in their shoes and see if their new negative view of me might have some legitimacy. They were questioning my motives, my worth to them.
I questioned my worth.
Even after we worked out the miscommunication itself, the situation continued to evolve in my head. At this point, anxiety is the culprit. I started considering how I could have handled the situation better and that led to considering how it could have gone worse as well.
As I replayed this my feelings for my own self worth gradually took a dive. This is a codependent reaction. Sudden changes in feelings of low self worth is or can be a codependent expression. In case I haven’t mentioned it, I am a codependent in recovery. I normally tend to express with caretaking expressions, trying to make life easier for the person that is triggering me.
Low self worth feelings are apparently coupled with this expression and I was not aware of that until now. Normally, I am very confident in my abilities, my individual abilities. The last few years I have had less confidence in my ability to achieve large goals or results. I have been very codependent over the last few years and only entered into recovery last summer.
I have learned how to rebuild my energy and to maintain it, but triggers sap that quickly, especially when I am not prepared for them with newly established boundariews to protect myself.
So this week was a great opportunity to identify a new manifestation and now I am working on trying to figure out the appropriate boundary to protect myself.
I am new at establishing boundaries in general. In this case, I think I need to establish a boundary that asks or maybe requires people to simply seek clarification from me when they think they need to question my motives or when they are thinking about resetting their perspective of me into something that is negative.
The thing is that type of boundary feels ‘controlling’ to me. I’m asking them to do something to control their perspective, their judgment of me. Or at least give me the opportunity to either clarify something, correct something if I mis-spoke, fix something if I chose something poorly and didn’t understand the ramifications of my choice or whatever.
Give me the benefit of the doubt. I am human. I will make human mistakes.
This boundary feels nebulous to me at the moment. Its why I am writing this. I am writing to seek clarity for myself, perspective, preferably diverse perspective from those of you whom might read this and feel inspired to share ideas
I am open to anything, to consider anything. There are no right or wrong suggestions. At this moment, I am brainstorming. Later, after I have gathered lots of diverse ideas, I’ll weigh those that might be the best fit for me to try next. If they work, great. If not, I may refine or replace them.
But I would like more ideas about how I can set a better boundary here.
On a related note, i am already working to try and improve communications such that miscommunications do not surface as much in the future.
That includes opening up even more and working to be less aloof. In my first example, that is difficult as my ex-wife and I do not enjoy speaking with each other much, and extended communication is something that is not welcome from me, and it is not something I welcome from her much either. There are other things that need to heal between us before that will change and we are working through that.
I’ve also learned a technical thing with email via ipads. nested email replies do not always generate a new notification that is obvious. So sometimes when I receive a reply, I cannot see it. I’m going to try and capture that in a screencast video tutorial in the future and share that with others so that they do not suffer the same snafu, and maybe some bright Apple software engineer or UI designer will find a better way to manage notifications.
Then we all win.
But my immediate challenge stems from my lack of experience with setting boundaries. How to set them, when to set them, how to set one in this case to protect myself from judgment.
Thoughts? Ideas? Books? Articles? Memes? Similar experiences?
Would love it if you can share whatever comes to mind!