Posts tagged inner critic
Pack order

If you have a dog in training, one of the first things a teacher will tell you is to establish yourself as the alpha dog or the pack leader. The alpha dog is the top dog and the one who sets the rules for the pack that all other dogs follow. The alpha dog gets to eat first and gets the best sleeping spot. Speaking of sleeping, the alpha dog sleeps higher than dogs lower in the pack. From a certain vantage point, they are on a pedestal.

I’ve started to notice that in almost everything in life, there is a person, consciously or not, trying to establish pack order.

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When you feel overwhelmed

You make thousands of micodecisions every day.  The time you get out of bed.  The amount of cream in your coffee.  The length of your shower.  Along with microdecisions are macrodecisions. Do you get your child a tutor? Do you tell your boss you are behind on a deadline?  Do you hire an expert to do your taxes?

The combination of thousands of microdecisions and proably dozens of macrodecisions each day can build up to feelings of overwhelm.  As you age, it gets worse.  You have to pay more attention to your health and food (or feel the side effects).  You have more assets and debts to manage.  You have increased caretaking responsibilities.

Sometimes I feel overhwhelmed to the point of mental paralyzation.

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With experience comes pessimism

One battle I wage everyday is to suppress my desire to assume the worst.  As an attorney, I am trained to look for every possible scenario which includes worse case scenarios.   On a personal level, my thought pattern of choice is "catastrophizing".  I shared this with a friend and she asked "is that even a word?"  I explained what it was and she couldn't believe I thought that way most of the time.  I couldn't believe that everyone doesn't think this way most of the time.  I think pessimissm comes from experience.  Life experience.

The longer you rotate around the sun, the more you are lied to, taken advantage of, experience loss, suffer grief, lose your religion, and feel pain.  It accumulates over time.   And it wears you down.  Why should you expect the best when it might not happen?  I've realized that negative thinking has got a tight grip on me right now. 

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I’m good enough. I’m smart enough.

People in their late 30s and in their 40s may remember a sketch on Saturday Night Live of a character named Stuart Smalley.  Smalley, played by Al Franken, read affirmations that always included “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” The content of the reoccurring sketch isn’t memorable but the underlying theme of affirmations comes to mind decades later.

I recently finished watching the 2015 miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”  I am in awe of how Marcia Clark managed to survive that trial.  It took place in 1992 and she was the lead prosecutor.  The news, her peers, and anyone looking for an easy target ruthlessly scrutinized everything she did, from her trial strategy to her haircut. 

As an attorney and a woman, it is second nature for me to compare myself to her situation.  In comparison, I didn’t think I could ever do what she did.  Why do I think that way? 

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