Social Certainty

Veronica has been telling me lately that her school is full of enemies.

Apparently she takes it quite personally when people tell her to stop it. Or that she is wrong.

“They are my enemies when they don’t let me be who I am.”

I see her point. Choking back the laughter, I try to find a way to tell her that other people opinions are not as important as her own opinion of herself. And she doesn’t have to take other people’s words so seriously.

“Veronica, you tell the kitty to stop it sometimes, and the doesn’t mean you don’t love him…”

She does not look convinced.

“…the most important thing for you to remember is that you don’t have to agree with everyone. If someone doesn’t like your joke, you can know inside your heart that you don’t agree. But you can also know inside your heart that you are a lovable wonderful person.”

This is a tricky conversation. It is only rather recently that I’ve started to understand this concept. I can have a solid sense of self and have a bulwark against other’s opinions of me.

Self-esteem, self-compassion, self-love: these are some names for this idea. There are a lot of TED talks about it. Certainly I am not alone in my tendency to let other people’s remarks dictate my opinion of myself.

So, yeah. Cast off this burden of caring what other people think! Be satisfied, be glorious in my own self approval!


We humans are social animals. We suffer if we are entirely alone.

What can we do then? Is it possible to cloister ourselves with only the dearest friends and avoid all the rejection that “enemies” push on us?

Even the dearest friends will sometimes be in a bad mood.


sometimes we SHOULD stop it.

Here’s one metaphor I find helpful. Think of a kitten’s social certitude.

My kitten is sure of his right to my attention at any moment he demands it.

Such confidence. Such unrelenting self-esteem from my little cat! When we yell at him, it rolls off as if it never happened.

Nothing shakes his belief in his right to be played with or given treats.

For me, he is a magnificent example of unrelenting focus on his desires.

What if I could be that sure of my needs and my desires? What if any rejection or setback were such an abberation, that I almost couldn’t see it?

I could ask like that.

I have greater nuance than a cat, which would help. But the confidence is worth emulating.

So much self-esteem, confidence and persistence. And I love him for it.

As I give this a try, asking for what I want, I realize I want something from you.

Yes, you, dear reader.

Help me out. As I am growing my audience I would like to understand what my present readers appreciate about me.

Please follow the link and share with me 3 good qualities you believe I have. Click here

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I love sharing my thoughts with you, and being part of this adventure together. Thanks for your help!

Oh, This Old Thing?

We bought a new couch. That meant re-arranging our living room. And when we put all our electronics in their new home, our TiVo would not boot.

WHAT?! All we did was move it. How could this device betray us so?

Humph. Maybe we didn’t even NEED TV anymore after all. Everyone is talking about cutting the cable. Maybe it’s time.

But…the reason we bought the couch is because I really wanted to relax on the couch and watch TV with my husband. And the TiVo was part of that dream.

A little research later uncovered that our TiVo was 8 years old.


That’s pretty old for technology. Even though it’s still fantastic that this technology does something that was unimaginable 15 years ago, this unit is old and broken.

We have gotten to the point where the unimaginable is outdated and surpassed.

We got a new TiVo, and it is much fancier. Which makes me realize the Wi-Fi signal in my bedroom is tired and needs a boost.

And there are fixes for that. Not ever that hard to implement.

My new job is going well, so I’m also buying a new car. It’s and electric car, the BMW i3. I love this car because the technology is beautiful and elegant.

Chris and I were watching a documentary of how the car is made. While the first part–which talks about how the carbon fiber is made–has a little narration, the second part has no human voices at all.

There are hardly any humans in this movie. Just these precise elegant and fluid robot machines that do exactly the same thing again and again and again.

I was mesmerized.

These grabby bits and welding bits, raising the body sections and twisting them into their new position for the next robot arm to do its operation.

These are real machines. They are doing a real thing. Those robots are making the car that I am going to drive.

I had a flash back to the huge robot transports in Star Wars. And al the droids. Those robot machines looked dirty and tired, and amazing.

We have surpassed science fiction now. Now a fully electric powered car is assembled by clean precise and elegant robot androids.

These are the droids you are looking for.

Until the next model comes out. And it will be even better.

On a celestial seasonings tea tag I saw this quote:
What the mind can conceive, it must also therefore achieve
– Margaret Fuller

I am beginning to rethink my amazedness at all the new technologies and possibilities, honestly. It’s a cliché to say, “It’s all so amazing!”

So I am looking at it even differently.
If what we conceive we achieve….
If the stuff of science fiction is become reality…

We need to imagine even harder!
I am earnestly working to expand my horizons of imagination.

I plan to achieve a bigger and broader vision every day. Just imagine.

What if I just Stopped?

It’s been a crazy couple of years. Life just keeps coming at you, you know? It’s really relentless.

But I’ve been trying on a new philosophy that’s been helping. Let me tell a story that explains it.

A few jobs ago I was responsible for a huge number of videoconference systems. I had to keep almost 200 of these systems spread over a 3000 square mile area working all the time.

Mostly, I asked the people nearest to the systems to go onsite and plug things in or reboot as needed. But sometimes there was nothing else to do but go there myself to fix a problem.

Almost all of the systems were one type. But there were 3 or 4 systems that were a different type, and I wasn’t so familiar with how to fix that different kind of system. My peers in the other region had dozens of this kind of system, and they were very good at fixing them.

Sometimes I would ask one of them for help. And sometimes my peers would sabotage me, by changing passwords and being unavailable to help me when I asked for help.

I had a lot of stress about what to do when THOSE systems broke. I just didn’t know how to fix them.

So one day, I was called to go fix the system there. I was so scared and nervous about how to fix it. I had no idea, and the people who I might call for help would just as likely lie to me as help me. I went into the system full of fear, with a customer leaning over me complaining about how it needed to work right now and it hadn’t worked for a long time.

I poked at it. I got to a certain level. Then I didn’t know what to do next.

I had been revving at the highest level, freaking myself out about how much I didn’t know these systems. I decided I needed a part from Radio Shack (remember those? They figured prominently in that particular job) and that was the only next step I could take.

I looked up what stores were in the area, and whether they would have the part I needed. I was very stressed about it, and was having some trouble finding a place that had it in stock.

And then I just got tired. I was so tired of drowning myself in panic over what might happen, I just decided that no matter what it would be ok.

I tried that on for a little bit. I drove to the first Radio Shack, and they had closed down. I held on to my peace–the idea that everything would be ok. I drove to the next Radio Shack, got there before they closed and bought the part.

I rode in the eye of a hurricane, with peace surrounding me because I just couldn’t sustain all that worry. The intimidation of the new technology; the hostile environment of my traitorous co-workers; the unreasonable expectation of the user on site–I let them all fall. I thought, “I am doing the best I can. There is nothing else I can do. If I stop freaking out, I will actually be able to think about solving the problem better. Let’s try that.”

So I did. And it wasn’t perfect, but I jerry-rigged the system into 99% functionality, got the users grudging approval and got the job done.

I’d like to say I changed my outlook after that. But really, for years to come I spent more time in the hurricane than the quiet eye.

Except for now. I’m trying it with more determination. What if I decisively choose to see the bright side?

It’s not like the dark side or the trouble isn’t’ there. But most of the troubles are in the future. What if I choose to imagine and see that things will work out?

I am trying it. I wake up every morning and write down the good things I want to have in my day. Things like peace, trust, playfulness, appreciation and accomplishment.

Then I look for it, and it seems to show up pretty often.

To be sure, when I woke up every morning and looked for frustration and failure I found that more reliably. Upon reflection, however, I would much rather have good things.

So I’m looking for those and I’m seldom disappointed.

Open fields

At that moment, it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. As a sheltered girl, I married at age 21 and I divorced him at age 26.

Every single thing in my life pointed toward me not divorcing. Everyday I pictured myself climbing a sheer cliff by myself, hanging on with my fingernails, wind howling and me desperate to get to safety.

I did get past it.

As real as that picture of myself clinging to the side of a cliff, a new picture emerged. I had crested the sheer rock cliff. I was on a flat grassy plain.

I remember lying flat on the grass too exhausted to move, grateful as big as the world that I made it. That I didn’t have to strive for the moment. I could rest.

As the weeks went by, I rolled over and looked up for a path.

It was an obstacle-free swatch of green inviting grass. I didn’t have to go anywhere. I didn’t have to be anywhere.

It was a return-to-Eden feeling of peace, possibility and rest.

My life began to enter time again. Slowly. It took a while.

And while I was recovering, I reveled in the freedom to choose anything.

But I began to choose goals. To have things I held up as requirements. And after time I got really attached to those definitions of security and success.

The mists of time have fogged my memory. I am not sure that time remains the hardest thing I’ve done. A lot of life has happened since.

But I’ve been thinking about that grassy swath at the top of the cliff. How I didn’t have to choose anything.

And whatever I did choose would be the right choice.

I’m coming up with a new idea. That it doesn’t really matter which I choose–in any choice or specialty in my life. The critical factor is to choose a thing and stick with it until it’s complete or it’s clear it is not what I want anymore. In the years that followed, I found myself clinging to sheer cliffs again. And it’s often because I was convinced that no other choice was possible.


The grassy swatch could maybe have been achieved faster in those times if I had stopped clinging to a choice like it was my only hope.

In retrospect, the peaceful place was more about limitless choice than almost any other characteristic.

If I’m looking for the one and only super specific answer or key, that door is going to stay locked

But if I turn around,

Look at the open field,

I can see I have all the options.

I like to keep my options open.