I had a memorable incident when I was doing my first master degree, back in Brazil. I had just returned from my first one year trip to Japan. I had lost the thread of my masters work, and was way behind schedule.
Because I had nothing to show for my one year exchange, I was avoiding meeting my advisor. I spent three months at home, afraid to meet him empty handed, but also somehow unable to get on to work.
Eventually, he sent me an e-mail asking me if I was still in Japan – he knew I wasn’t. We scheduled a meeting. I told him at the meeting that I was ashamed of meeting him empty handed. He told me that he understood that, but that not meeting him would not make the shame go away, and now that we were back together we could plan things up and get things done. And so we did.
Here I would like to say that I never forgot what he told me that time. But while I have certainly improved regarding facing people when my tasks are behind schedule, I nonetheless still hide from myself when I feel I am not living up to my own expectations… Up until now.
For the past few months I have been talking to a life coach – I have been particularly bothered with productivity issues in the past year, and was looking for help. Today she was telling me of the effects of a negative mindset – how we can get on a depressive feedback loop when we punish our failures while not rewarding our successes. It was a more “source level” version of the same talk I had with my advisor, all those years ago.
We discussed some strategies to deal with this problem. One of them was identifying my negative self assessments, and postfixing these thoughts with “up until now”. The idea here, l think, is to reshape your thought state from a judgemental, passive state, to a action-planning, active mode.
How that will work for me is anyone’s guess, but it is definitely worth a shot. I think one of the first steps is to make explicit the goal state that I want to reach – my current ideal self image. I have a good idea of what that is, but I have been rambly enough, so that will go on my next post.
I have left this blog/journal in a sad, semi-abandoned state… Up until now ;-)