Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Not stupid

OK, not quite weekly posts :)

I'm still missing my mojo, but I've at least got to the point where I am not on pills every day to take the edge off of life. I view that as progress.

There is already somthing that has come out of therapy that has helped though. Something that I have tried to put into action daily, and so far has had a somewhat positive impact. A long, long way to go yet, but any progress is good.

One of the biggest issues that I have is assuming that everyone things I am stupid. Before they speak to me, whilst they are speaking to me, anytime they look at my code and most certainly after our communication has ended.

Having a 5 minute conversation can lead to weeks or months (or years) of stress for me. Or writing a blog post - the amount of posts that I have discarded over the years before saving is not insignificant!

Yes it's wrong to think that way, yes it is irrational. No, knowing those things doesn't help.

So... For the last few weeks what I have tried to stop is calling myself stupid. I used to do it probably 10 times a day or more.

Make a mistake: 'Sorry guys, I've been stupid'
Knocked something over: 'Yeah, that was stupid of me'
Forgotten something: 'Yeah, I was stupid and it slipped my mind.'

No more.

'Sorry guys, I pushed the branch without the last change as I forgot I was using code and that doesn't save on committing changes like Visual Studio does. Give me a minute and I'll push the last change as well.'

This was such a simple change, not easy, but simple, and yet the impact has been huge already. Because I am not stupid. And I need to stop telling others that I am. And I need to stop telling myself that I am. I make mistakes, sometimes too often, sometimes caused by stress, sometimes caused by haste. Sometimes caused by severe tiredness :) But, that is all that they are. Mistakes. Which can be made by everyone.

I can learn from them.

I can analyse the ones that you don't want to repeat.

I can't stop worrying that everyone else in the world thinks I'm stupid overnight. That is what the therapy is supposed to help.

I can stop calling myself stupid and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.


  1. "To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognising my mistakes is a source of pride. Once we realise that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes." George Soros

    Not that a quote makes it all okay :-) For weary it's worth, I've never thought of you as stupid. I don't see how many posts you dismiss, so I just assumed (whoops! :-) ) that you'd write like other bloggers of spoken to. You learn something new reach day, eh? :-)

    Good luck with changing your behaviour. It sounds like you're making process and that you're letting yourself off the hook. I think that can only be a good thing. Sometimes, I think we're our own worst critics and run that inner monologue far nastier than we'd ever say to a friend.

    1. I can handle self-reflection. I can handle knowing that I need to improve things, and actually don't mind that as long as I can give myself a target.

      It's more that my self-depreciating quips may have been having the opposite effect on me than: there is something I need to learn. When I call myself stupid I am saying that I cannot learn the new thing or improve.

      So far the effect has been good. There have been downs, but that is for another post I think, but the trend is good.

      And thanks, it's nice to know that it's just in my head. Now to try and get it out! For the record: this is about the 10th time I have written this reply...

      And yes, I am far nastier to myself than I ever would be to someone else...

  2. In therapy, I discovered not only the sort of things that I was doing that were self-destructive, but as well, the likely source of those behaviours. That made such a difference in the process of changing how I reacted to stressful situations.

    I hope you are able to find your way through the web of connections that have made you feel stupid in situations where what is more appropriate is some sort of moving along to the next challenge better prepared.

    Oh, and for me, it was mostly about realizing that I cannot know what other are thinking about me, and more, that what they think has no power to make me do anything. I have the power and the choice.

    1. So far I have discovered many things in my life where my therapist has gone over things which have happened just to check that what he understood is what I said. Apparently there have been some great things. As Ollivander says, 'Terrible, yes, but great'. And all things that were just so normalised to me that I never took into account just how bad they were.

      Now it's down to letting the last be the past and figuring out how to let internal positive feedback take over from the negative internal feedback.

      It's going to be a tough journey (I left the last session feeling like a failure as I hadn't managed to think of a single positive from the last week and I need to recognise them in order to move forward), and I guess not always a fun one. But the end point should be worth it...

  3. Glad you're feeling better, Stace. Those inner monologues can be incredibly destructive. The good news is that by being aware of them you can change them. It takes time, but it can be done. I'm proof. :c)

    As always, I'm here if you ever want to talk about anything, hon. :D


    P.S. New Muse album on the way later this year, I'm hearing! Will the little man be attending his first live show? ;c)

    1. Yup, swirling impostor syndrome thoughts about your entire life (Partner, mother, friend, developer, driver, person in general) just drag you down, down, down.

      I'm not going to lie, I wish that there was a fast forward button to get me to the end of my journey without taking it. But I know that isn't how it works :)

      And thanks!

      As to the new album. Little man will be listening, without a doubt, but maybe not yet going to his first concert :)