Sometimes, resistance and revelations come from unexpected sources…
It can be anything that shakes us up enough to make us question our assumptions,dig in our heels to keep things feeling safe and comfortable, that makes us vulnerable enough to see and experience things in a new way, or that makes it impossible to experience things in the same old way. Sometimes, it’s the huge changes: births and deaths, romances and breakups, life transitions….but, other times, it’s something far more mundane.
For me, most recently, it was editing a friend’s novel. I’m in the early stages of preparing my own works for publication, and I know I will be doing a lot of editing in the not too distant future, so I expected I would gain valuable experiences along the way.
I didn’t expect to trip headlong over my own inner editor duking it out with my sense of empathy. I expected the warm fuzzy feeling of helping a friend make an already exciting book better, and to glean learning from the experience.
Instead, from early on, I found myself questioning myself every time I pressed ‘highlight’ and ‘add note’.At first, I thought I was just doubting myself. Who am I, after all, to judge the work of someone else, someone who actually published her book? But I had been clear that I am an amateur; I offered my help as a friend, not a professional editor. So there was something more…
I became aware that, with every correction, I felt I was somehow “grading her paper”; that I was, in some sense, calling her wrong.
I was caught in a holdover from my own school days, where the red pen could cut down to my soul. Back then, that red pen was the judge of my value – as a student, as a daughter, and as a human being. It could mean the difference between privilege and punishment, praise and ridicule.
This subconscious baggage had me feeling I was criticizing rather than offering a fresh eye when it was needed. Once or twice, it drove me to take a day or two off. I could see that it might cripple my own editing efforts, too.
Being aware of this thought, this unwanted connection in my mind, is helping me to find ways to lessen it, and it’s also got me thinking….
How often are we thwarted by thoughts and patterns learned earlier in life; by obsolete ideas that we hang onto without realizing it?
Is this why some of us can’t seem to make the time we need to do the things we most want to do? Is it why some of us have talents and passions we’ve never shared? Is this why some of us never take the plunge that might make a dream come true?
Are we being hobbled by our early lives, and still living as though schoolroom rules, or the edicts of our parents, must be true, today?
I don’t know yet how to excise these thoughts. There is benefit, I think, in taking the time to hear and question them, and see what I learn can learn from them. When they crop up, I ask myself if they are really telling me the truth of the matter. Are they worth giving my energy or attention to? Do they serve my goals?
It’s possible that these limiting and outgrown thoughts will take me somewhere I need to go. Until then, though, questioning them, asking for their credentials, seems like a good way to make sure I give my honest – and not my frightened – best to everything I strive toward…
I’m very interested in what patterns others struggle with, and how they deal with them. To join the conversation, please leave your thoughts below!
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- Why I Love To Blog – Inspirational Thoughts (prefs.zemanta.com)
- Glossi – For the Magazine Editor in You (teksocial.com)
- Kate Bratskeir: 9 & 1/2 Things I’m Not Stressing Over Anymore (huffingtonpost.com)