Weekly Wish List

When I was college I took a graphic design class. I eagerly enrolled encouraged by the 100 level of the class but possessing no artistic talent. I dreamed of prismacolor markers, art bins and black bound sketch books. I fantasized about being locked in an art store and sleeping on a bed made entirely of Faber-Castell sketching pens.

I sat behind a woman who possessed incredible artist talent and wonderful discipline. However, she was not strong in the theory as I was. We both came to the first class with decidedly lopsided skills.

If you’re waiting for the part of the story where we combine our powers like The Wonder Twins, well you can exhale. We didn’t. In fact I never actually had a conversation with her deciding instead it was much more useful to be bitter and envious.

But what if we had? I would have developed my meager drawing skills and she’d know Gropius from Albers.

Each Sunday night I pull out index cards and write my weekly wish list. My weekly wish list doesn’t merely contain tangibles like “Get season three cast of Homicide: Life on The Street to perform top five episodes in my living room.” though it probably should!

It usually starts with one wish:

  • Replace judgement with curiosity.

That initial wish informs the rest. Sometimes I make big, loud wishes like, “Stop calling self Dr. Schadenfreude” (that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.) Other times it’s something like, “Find one good thing about each day”

When I started doing these I was skeptical. I do not always believe in the magical. I go to the puppet show and look for the strings. But I have to tell you these 3 x 5 index cards of wishes transformed what was once a relationship to my body to something that is starting to approximate a relationship with my body.

Y’all are smart cookies. Smart, delicious cookies…wait, where was I? You can connect these two stories. The way you feel about yourself informs what gifts from others you allow yourself to accept. And I say “allow” not because SP is going LOA, but because new shit is coming to light daily and you have to be outside your head to notice it.

Sometimes we are so defeated by our -isms we forget to wish for something beautiful. We forget we’re more than our bodies or our -isms. We are more concerned with pain avoidance and less concerned with pleasure seeking.

Flip that script. Make some wishes for yourself today.

85 thoughts on “Weekly Wish List

  1. “Replace judgment with curiosity.”

    I know exactly how this applies to my take on the world (which tends to be a bit cynical)–seriously wise words. Thanks for this post!

  2. I love you, Dr. Schadenfreude.

    Must. resist. shameful joy.

    @Caroline – I tend towards flaming cynicism and I find this statement helps me put the brakes on really egregious acts of cynicism.

  3. Wow. Awesome. Replace judgment with curiousity I’ve got a new FB quote. Cited, of course.

    I wish…frankly, I wish I could get over this awful hope that a sleep study and CPAP are going to be the answer to my weight loss wishes. I don’t want weight loss wishes. I wish I didn’t have weight loss wishes! The doctor raised my hopes and I’m terribly ashamed of that. *sigh* I guess I still have a bit of the FoBT.

  4. Some wishes for this week:
    Regard the difficult with a spirit of adventure and learning
    (this is one of my gifts, albeit an annoying one for those along for the ride)

    Patience

    Dear whatever force in the universe can help me with this one:
    I wish that my shoulders were not irresistibly attracted to my earlobes, reaching higher with each minor tense moment and major life headache, until I achieve new levels of upper back pain at the end of each day. I wish that angels — fat, heavy cherubic* ones, with hefty, strong thighs — would sit, invisible, on each shoulder, weighing them down, pushing them toward my shoulder blades. If I receive said angels, even for a little while, I will treat them well and compliment them on their adorable dimples. I will feed them fat-positive thoughts, and when no one is looking, turn my (now painless) neck to the side to kiss their pudgy cheeks, until they fly off to sit on the shoulders of another woman desperately trying to avoid a mid-life crisis.

    *Maybe it’s the seraphim, not the cherubim, I need. I really don’t know from angels.

  5. Dear lord, snarkysm’, how did you know this issue became a hot-button issue for me yesterday? Srsly, I don’t believe in the magical for myself—in fact, I don’t believe in much of anything for myself—but it sure was good to read this and think about wishing.

  6. You can connect these two stories. The way you feel about yourself informs what gifts from others you allow yourself to accept.

    Snarkys, how do you manage to be inside so many Shapelings’ heads at the same time? Are you a BILOCATOR? Really, though, I needed that today. Thank you.

  7. “The way you feel about yourself informs what gifts from others you allow yourself to accept. ”

    Love this. I may tattoo it on my forehead.

  8. I start each day with one goal: “Be kind to yourself.” I don’t always succeed, but it helps to remind myself all the same.

  9. You can connect these two stories. The way you feel about yourself informs what gifts from others you allow yourself to accept.

    This is one of the most profound statements I’ve ever heard.

    I often feel as if my identity can be summed up as “the girl who isn’t noticed.” Lately, it has bothered me…no, scratch that, it has always bothered me, but lately I have wanted to demand more. And that can be so fucking scary, because what if I become open to accepting the attention (friendship/comradery/praise/what have you) only to find out that no one actually wants to give it? Then I will be embarrassed and the world will be horrible and nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I might as well eat worms…

    But maybe I just need to be open to accepting these things from myself and putting these things out in the world.

    Thanks for making me think!

  10. Wow, I really needed this today so thank you. My wishes may not go on a three by five card, but they are going in my journal. The weather is beautiful in my neck of the woods today so I may just go grab myself some lunch, sit in the sun and contemplate my wishes for my self. Sounds like a good hour to me.

  11. Jae, I hear you. It’s a vicious cycle, and, for me, I’m not sure what will work to fix it. I’ve spent my life alternately 1) waiting for proof that the universe wants me here and that I deserve to be happy and 2) actively seeking out fulfillment as if it did, and I haven’t found that either one really works for me. (Clearly #1 is a losing proposition, but wouldn’t you think that #2 is the answer? All those “think positive” bootstrapping advocates certainly think so.) The problem is within, and affirmative thinking won’t work if there’s not enough fertile ground for it in your inner world. But clearly it can’t hurt! Index cards, here I come. ;-)

    P.S. Don’t let anyone sell you the business that “you’re just feeling sorry for yourself” (eating worms) thing. I was just thinking this morning about how a friend publicly and jokingly characterized me as “a glass-half-full kind of person,” and how incredibly insulting it is. I wanted to say, “Sister, you have no idea what I deal with, so just eff off with your facile observation.” Pretending to be big and brave is hard.

  12. Replace judgment with curiosity.

    SO much better than the motto I was following today: “the to-do pile will eat you if you ignore it for five seconds.”

    …Clearly, not true.

  13. Indulging my curiosity, in a most non-judgmental manner:

    “…not because SP is going LOA…”

    LOA? Late Onset Asthma? Letter of Agreement? Library of America? Locus of Adipositivity?

  14. LOA = Law of Attraction.

    While the idea in and of itself isn’t totally horrible, the way in which it’s often attached to things like weight loss and getting rich quick causes folks to have some problems with it.

    And by folks, I mean, me!

  15. Thanks, Lu!

    I feel like I am in a similar cycle to the one you describe. I do find that positive thinking, for lack of a better term, helps…I think I was just expecting it to be more magic-bullety than it really is. I thought if I could just think positively, I would always feel positively and the world would reward me with more positivity and…it seems like I am caught up in The Fantasy of Thinking Positively. And of course, the flip side of that fantasy is that if I wasn’t thinking perfectly positively all the time, and something bad happens, then it must somehow be my fault.

    Also, what your friend did was out of line. I think that it takes a lot of bravery just to put ourselves out there and try, but the world, or well, at least the United States (though probably other places too), likes to pretend that is the simple part. With this mindset, everyone can get out there are make friends/try to advance their career/find personal fulfillment/go out on dates/try something new (and so on, and so on), so you only deserve to feel happy or accomplished if you do something more than that. Sometimes, as snarkysmachine so rightly expressed, just taking a little positive step is a huge deal and it sucks when people in our lives fail to see that.

  16. Great post, Snarkys!

    @Lu: thank you for that… I am in much of the same boat. I am “the nice one,” “the happy one,” “the optimistic one,” – even when things are hard and I’m actively expressing my difficulties, a lot of people in my life seem to have this view that things are just magically easy for me… I have been having a lot of aggressive-conversations-in-my-head with those people lately, so it’s nice to hear someone else describe the same thing. I AM glass-half-full, but it’s fucking hard work to be that way.

  17. Ok, look, I’m not a touchy-feely. I don’t do group hugs. I’m not about magical (except for my irrational fear of zombies), but this

    Replace judgement with curiosity.

    is a strategy I’d like to embrace. I have a post-it on my cube wall with a quote from the author David Rackoff. He was asked about mocking and snark and he responded, “I prefer the nuance of kindness.” It really rung a bell for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love sarcasm, and I appreciate a good snark, but I’m trying to be careful about being mean and harsh, both with others and myself. Seems to me curiosity is also much more nuanced (and interesting!) than judgement. New post-it!

  18. All those “think positive” bootstrapping advocates certainly think so.) The problem is within, and affirmative thinking won’t work if there’s not enough fertile ground for it in your inner world. But clearly it can’t hurt! Index cards, here I come. ;-)

    One of the reasons I remain skeptical about many aspects of LOA is the idea that acknowledging one’s starting point is akin to wallowing, thus “attracting” more negativity. I reject that. I believe there is real value in saying, “Okay, here’s where I am right now and that’s okay.” Particularly if this enables folks to move towards where they wish to go.

    It doesn’t feel authentic (to me anyway) to start with platitudes and affirmations if I don’t first acknowledge where I am at this very moment. I don’t think having valid criticisms of your process is going to bring on more bad juju.

    Maybe in its purest form LOA speaks to this, but certainly many LOA peddlers do not.

    In fat acceptance the first step isn’t wishing the body different, but accepting the body as is. End of story.

    It’s lot easier to bake cupcakes if you know what ingredients you need and acquire them. Or even deciding if cupcakes are actually what you want. Staring at pictures of cupcakes, alternating between lamenting about the sheer paucity of cupcakes in your life and feeling shame about lamenting is rather pointless. My reading of much of the pop psych feels very much like this.

  19. Oh my gosh, I said “glass-half-full” when I meant she said “glass-half-empty.” Thus changing my whole meaning! I meant, as Jae said in her subsequent comment, that what looks like habitual pessimism (and I will admit to some of that, btw) is more complicated than that, for the reason I said above. She shouldn’t have made fun of me for seeing the glass as half-empty, so flippantly, as if it’s a hilarious character flaw.

  20. @Jae, “With this mindset, everyone can get out there are make friends/try to advance their career/find personal fulfillment/go out on dates/try something new (and so on, and so on), so you only deserve to feel happy or accomplished if you do something more than that.” Right! I think some people start out with a kind of mood or character “disability,” if you will, and maybe they can’t do as much as other people or love themselves as much as other people think they should. Some things take more inner resources than we feel we have at times. Acknowledging that I might have been held back somewhat by something I’m still trying to overcome is the way I’m giving myself a break these days.

  21. “Replace judgement with curiosity”–this is something I’ve been working on, but I’ve never had it put in such clear words. I really needed this today. Thank you.

  22. @Lu: It’s funny how either way you say it, it’s still much deeper than other people assume, isn’t it? Half-full or half-empty, we’re more than just our outer appearances, and people seem to forget that on a regular basis (I’m guilty of this, too).

  23. snarkysmachine wrote:I believe there is real value in saying, “Okay, here’s where I am right now and that’s okay.” Particularly if this enables folks to move towards where they wish to go.

    I have never understood how you can map a course from Point A to Point B without knowing where Point A is. And that means acknowledging that yes, you are indeed at Point A (for some value of Point A). Just because you’re there now doesn’t mean you have to stay there.

  24. Some things take more inner resources than we feel we have at times. Acknowledging that I might have been held back somewhat by something I’m still trying to overcome is the way I’m giving myself a break these days.

    @Lu: YES!

    Or acknowledging that there are external forces that are doing their best to hold us back! There are a whole lot of abelist/classist/racist/sexist (and so on) implications to the idea that one should just be able to do what “everyone else” does without any amount of fuss. Exactly who comprises the everyone else who feels so positive about the world and their ability to succeed in it? Oh, right, generally the same people who’ve always been successful, because they have been the ones making the rules, playing the game, and handing out the prizes (if I may continue with my metaphor).

    I think that the real value in positive thinking is, as snarkysmachine said upthread, using it to accept what is. When people think that it is the solution to all life’s problems…just, no. They are being played by a system that is very happy to have all of us think that it is entirely the fault of our own negative thinking/lack of work ethic/lack of character skills (etc) that we are not dancing around in a field of daffodils all day.

  25. Jae, I am so planting daffodil seeds in the carpet around my desk and watering them with half-empty glasses of water. ;-)

  26. I LOVE the idea of curiosity over judgement. I’ve never thought of it that way before. They’re both ways of dealing with a perceived weakness (artistic skills, the “perfect” body, whatever), but judgment of others comes from a place of self-doubt and negativity, while curiosity lets you reach outwards and actually learn something. If that makes sense.

    I have a job that requires a lot of travel to horrible places, where life is definitely better when I choose curiosity over judgment; but I’ve noticed that frustration with my job has given me a negative attitude lately, which makes my work harder to do, which makes me less confident, which adds to the negative attitude spiral. I need to try index cards.

    And this — “The way you feel about yourself informs what gifts from others you allow yourself to accept” is fucking brilliant, and so, so true.

    I loved this post. And not just because I, too, have dreams about prismacolor markers, despite having zero artistic talent.

  27. Snarkymachine – I hear what you are saying abou the LOA. I feel that the LOA works brilliantly if used with thought and deep awareness that you are responsible, and being cool with that. Not unlike Faber-Castell pencils in that respect. I used the LOA to bring me a bed made up of Faber-Castell pencils by the way. I decided not to have the watercolour pencils just incase I had too many nighttime drinks and had accident one night.

    Thanks Universe for my Pencil bed.

  28. Oh dear god. I’ve made grammatical errors while trying to be funny. The shame. Thanks Universe for showing me to be an cocky upstart.

  29. ” The way you feel about yourself informs what gifts from others you allow yourself to accept. ”

    Thank you for writing this. Ive just recently started trying to develop a new relationship with myself, and this stopped me, I really believe this. I have started seeing and realizing the things I shut myself off from, the face I felt I had to show, the things I was not willing to accept or give of myself for years now, and it’s really difficult, but I can’t stop here in this mourning. I have to work on deepening the relationship with myself so that I can give (honestly) of myself, and accept (wholeheartedly). It’s not easy, but something tells me it’s worth it.

  30. I really enjoyed this post-much needed today!

    Ever since I used them in an interior design class years ago, I have to fight off the urge to purchase Prismacolors every time I go to Michael’s. I don’t need any, yet I want them so very, very badly.

  31. Gina, trust me, the need for them isn’t very pleasant. As much as I love those fuckers, prismacolors bleed me dry, so expensive. :(

    Also, I’m going to try and replace judgement with curiousity as well. It’s what I do now when I start to think something stupid or prejudiced, I make myself wonder about that person’s life or what their favorite movie is to make the stupid go out of my head. I’ve never thought of it in that way before and having it stated like that is beautiful, and will help me do a better job of it I guess. Make it a less shallow practice for myself.

  32. Snarkysmachine: Thank you so much for this. This post brought tears to my eyes.

    @Lu — one day when talking about half-full vs. half-empty people, my husband looked at me and said, “You know, you’re more a ‘are you sure that’s HALF?’ kind of person.” Which sums up my personality more succinctly than I care to admit. But, since this is the same man who constantly tells me that I should give myself more credit, his statement just made me laugh.

    While going through a seriously suicidal patch a few years back, I gave up on positive thinking entirely. I kept hoping that things would get better and every day was just as grim as the next. What finally did help was accepting that I was where I was, that I needed to either find a way to live with that or just not and I had to choose. The only power I had was in the choice to get up and just walk through every day.

    Which, wow, writing that out, that seems really grim even though I don’t really think of it that way. Guess I’ll give up on that job as a motivational speaker.

  33. Snarky’s — you have such an awesome voice and exceptional diction. If you could draw, you’d be dangerous.

    I have drawn on the improv mantra of “yes, and…” so many times–it’s also a cynicism chaser. You accept what *is* and build on it.

    I’m off to dig out some index cards.

  34. The LOA stuff reminds me of a pretty funny SNL clip from a couple of years ago–I can’t find a good link to it right now. In the skit, “Oprah” was lauding the law of attraction via The Secret, and confronted a starving man in Darfur, telling him his trouble was that he just wasn’t thinking positively enough. Eventually, she said something like, “What’s going on? Didn’t you READ the BOOK?” And he replied it was, in fact, somewhat useful, in that he had *eaten it.*

  35. (and can someone help me? i cannot seem to change my profile pic. . .i changed it on the ning, but i’m back to my monster here. . .?)

  36. (Alicia Maud, you have to have a wordpress account and change it on wordpress for it to update here. But your monster is ADORABLE, I want to hug it. Why fix what isn’t broken?)

    I think my wish for this week will be to stop trying to take responsibility for things that are outside of my control. I’m having a rough time with some stuff that a lot of other people don’t seem to blame me for. And yet I feel guilty if I try to think of it as being not my fault. Thank you Catholicism for this wonderous gift.

  37. Thank you, Shinobi. My pic has my real-life monster (my cat) in it, and I had to let her live with my cousin, and I miss her. (: But again, thanks.

  38. That would be because the LOA may have brought me my beau. . .but the power of positive thinking did shit to help his severe allergies/asthma. Ha.

  39. A lolstory:
    Some years ago, friends & I were talking about the old half-full, half empty thing (latish at night, beers & wine being consumed). One of my roomies came home from work in the middle of this and said “You know, I have never understood, why all the philosophical debate? If you’re filling up the glass, it’s half full. If you’re drinking it, it’s half empty. Problem solved!”

    And with that, he left the dumbstruck room to go to bed.

    I now spend my time pondering whether the glass is being filled or emptied….

    Replace judgement with curiosity is so much more succintier thank I have ever been able to phrase it for myself. Thank you!

    I also try to see and/or NOTIC one new thing every day. I find it’s really helpful, especially if I’m endlessly ruminating over something negative.

  40. You may ask, Gina. I use the prismacolor colored pencils to do portraits, I’m pretty strictly a non-practical art person, except for ceramics, I don’t design products or rooms or anything of the sort. I had some of the equally expensive markers but used them solely to fuck around. I would never do such a thing with the colored pencils because I end up spending $20+ for each piece on top of the original price I pay for the sets because I have to constantly buy individual replacement pencils. They are wonderful, wonderful things that blend beautifully and smell wonderful when you sharpen them though, so I forgive them slightly for that.

    Also, I was really confused by all this LOA talk, but once I realized it was some kind of self help book all I can think of is that “episode” of Target Women all about dating advice books. Should I be taking this particular book more seriously than all the rest?

    Irishup, I really love the idea of instead of half empty or half full that it would be is the glass being filled or emptied. I REALLY love that, and shall use it forever and ever.

  41. There wasagreatpostabout the ableism of “The Secret” and “Laws of Attraction” on the FWD blog a whileback. Itsummed up every reason I have for not liking the concept, and added some really important pointsto the list.

  42. :] I don’t really have much to add, except that i really agree, and i think you’ve very eloqently expressed a lot of the thoughts i’ve alays struggled to verbalize. I’ve been (and am) surrounded with a lot sad, disapointed people. My mother, my brother and sister have all suffered/suffer from depression, and so do a lot of my close freinds. Almost as a reaction i guess, i’ve tried to have a positive outlook on things. Although i have my moments, its really helped me not fall to the same sort of disapointment I see in people around me. I live a really privilidged life, and being aware of that helps, but i think for some people it has an oppisate effects. One of my freinds is self-depricating and miserable, and the fact that he is privilidge makes him feel guilty. How messed up is that, to feel guilt for your own sadness? I guess its easy to explain a lot of the feelings away as ‘teen angst,’ but all that does is build on the guilt. Sadness is the last thing that one should have to validate. Otherwise you get into yellow wallpaper territory.

    You really do need to love yourself though. I think its your biggest responsibility. There’s a band called Los Campesinos, and they have these two really great lines that are shouted out by all the band members in different songs. The first is “SHOUT AT THE WORLD BECAUSE THE WORLD DOESN’T LOVE YOU. LOVE YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE TOO.” The other is “Oh, WE KID OURSELVES THERE’S FUTURE IN THE FUCKING, BUT THERE IS NO FUCKING FUTURE.”

    Okay, so not exactly life affirming stuff, but i think its hard to love anyone unconditionally if you don’t love yourself. If you don’t then there’ll always be that need for validation, and that can be a gateway towards codependant and other unhealthy tendencies. This is prolly vary Ayn Rand-ish of me, but I think, emotionally, its important to put yourself before others sometimes. I can’t say i practice this all the time, and i certainly fall prey to those sort of tendencies sometimes, but i’m generally a happy person, i think.

    I’ll stop rambling! Great job, sharkysmachine!

  43. My place of work is heavy on the group hugs and statements about spreading joy. It’s too easy to react to that and up my snark. It’s too, too easy to forget that actually, spreading joy is awesome. Being snarky, past a certain point, jsut makes you and everyone else miserable. Sooo… why is that what I’m doing?

    I remember hearing a buddhist nun talk abotu karma. She said, forget the outside stuff. Work on inside your own head first. When you choose to think unpleasant thoughts, you choose to make your experience worse. Then it lingers. Why would you do that?

    Thanks for the reminder! I might have to start the lists…

  44. Thank you for the reminder that absence of pain is not the same as presence of pleasure.

    @TropicalChrome: Wow. That’s pretty fucking profound. Rock on you.

  45. LOA is unobjectionable to me when people talk about it in the context of working on aspects of their own personality that they’d like to change. (When I worked in a bookstore and had to smile at people all day, it actually improved my mood.) It pisses me right the fuck off as soon as people start trying to apply it to anything physical/tangible — Prosperity Gospel, anyone? Ick.

  46. This is great, and I really love all the comments too.

    My biggest thing lately is trying to be happy, which is really fucking hard when you’re working at a grocery store right before fucking Thanksgiving, and simultaneously trying to apply to graduate school when all your applications are due by the first of December. Just trying to find some happiness sometimes. One thing that has helped is singing at work. Obviously, singing is a joyful thing for me, since I want to have a career in it, and just biologically speaking it raises endorphin levels. I don’t get a lot of chances to do it (with all the canned talk I have to spew at customers), so when I do it helps brighten my mood. I also sometimes get the added bonus of customers giving me compliments, which slightly offsets the complete fuckwads who seem to be just trying to make my life difficult. >.< Obviously I come home at night and sing too, but that only helps alleviate my mood after the fact.

    I also work really hard on finding the balance between allowing myself to be miserable when I need to and trying not to wallow. It's easier now that I'm actually in a bedbug-free apartment and can afford to pay my rent AND eat without borrowing money, but I still have bad days.

  47. snarky’s machine, lest my earlier comment sound dismissive, I wanted to add that I’m really on board with what you’re saying here.

    You reminded me of a couple of important experiences I have in the last few years that really pushed my growth and self-acceptance. One was taking the risk of writing a dating profile when I was feeling dissatisfied with being single. The process of carefully deciding what I was looking for, writing it down, and pushing “send” to put it out in the world was much more affecting than I ever expected; the moment of allowing myself to consider exactly what I wanted and wish it for myself was a really transformative one. I have sometimes thought that moment, more than the actual profile, was what brought me my partner.

    Another was the end of a 3 day nia dance workshop–a dance form than encourages seeking pleasure in movement. At the end of the last session, we did an exercise in which half of the women posed, eyes closed, and moved “in beauty”, as the instructor put it. My group went first, and I felt distracted and doubtful as the other group observed us and “saw our beauty.” I kind of tolerated the experience, but that was all I could really manage. Then we traded roles, and as I looked at these other women, I just burst into tears. They were ASTONISHINGLY beautiful, eyes closed, gently swaying, or seated with their faces to the sun. In my memory, honestly, they glow, and it has nothing to do with their shape or fashion choices or movement forms. I cried first because they looked so amazing, and then out of grief that because I could not let myself even imagine that *I* could be beautiful, I missed the gift of being seen that way. It was a painful lesson–how cruel we can be to ourselves!—but one that really moved my thinking as I committed to NOT missing those opportunities again.

  48. Longtime SP reader here delurking to say thank you, that post was reallly awesome and just what I needed to see today.

  49. Today I was fucking around the computer, because aside from college that is all I do with my life and I stumbled across this post on my life is average.com which seemed to fit this thread quite nicely:

    “Today, I saw a boy rubbing a pencil with his finger. After staring at him awkwardly for a few minutes, he saw me and handed me the pencil and told me to rub it. It turns out that the pencil changed from purple to pink with friction. Sorry for judging you too soon dude. MLIA.”

    How many friction color changing pencils have I missed out on already?!?!

  50. One of the nice things about seeing the glass as half empty is that it gives you the foresight to order another round of drinks. Having a pessimistic (or even just a realistic) outlook helps you plan for the worst instead of blithely hoping the universe will be kind to you.

  51. My therapist and I have been slowly navigating the mountain ranges of cognitive behavioral therapy. And some of what we’ve gotten to could probably be described as positive thinking type stuff – but this was only after, basically, an entire year of unpacking the luggage of depression and anxiety and inadequacy and rejection that I was carrying around with me. I had to work very hard to get to a point where “accepting gifts” was even a possibility. But I really do appreciate this post, perhaps even more so now that I’m in a place where I can read it and think yes, that’s so true.

  52. GodlessHeathen: I like that. I’d rather be drinking than pouring, so half-empty works for me.

    Elisende: I’m glad I’m not the only one metaphorically picking up the glass, squinting at it, and starting to argue with my dinner companion that really it’s just a hair more than half-empty, see??? if you just look at it at eye level . . .

    Snarky’s 3×5 cards really make sense to me. I don’t do a weekly wish list, but I find myself with scraps of paper littering my desk and my purse. Right now, I have a sticky note under my computer screen that says, “What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” I am not entirely sure I believe in God, but I don’t think that necessarily matters.

  53. Replace judgement with curiosity.
    The way you feel about yourself informs what gifts from others you allow yourself to accept.

    Brilliant. Thanks.

  54. I don’t have a weekly wish list, but I do have a personal mission statement:

    I will remember that traffic tickets don’t go
    away and broken sinks don’t fix themselves.

    I will find happiness in the simple things, and
    know that everyday is a miracle.

    I will find satisfaction in a job well done,
    whatever that job may be.

    I will find peace in responsibility, so that I may
    sleep soundly at night.

    I will be thankful for the time I have with my
    loved ones, and I will cherish the memories of
    those gone from me.

    I won’t hurt anybody, not even myself.

    I will remember that I’m probably doing better
    than I think I am, that I am my harshest critic.

    I will remember to laugh the loudest through
    the hardest times.

  55. I keep trying to get “I love you Dr. Schadenfreude” to scan to the tune of Parliament’s “Dr. Funkenstein.”

    But apparently Schadenfreude actually has FIVE syllables. Dang.

    It . . . does? Scha – den – freud – uh? Have I been saying it wrong all these years?

    Unfortunately, I’ve totally been hearing it as a replacement in “Pretty Fly” by Offspring. It’s not a perfect fit, and it’s a resurrected a song I thought had slipped out of my memory bank. Sigh.

    I love you, Dr. Schadenfreude
    (uh-huh, uh-huh)
    I love you, Dr. Schandenfreude
    (uh-huh, uh-huh)

  56. schadenfreude does have 4 syllables, but funkenstein only has 3. So the main point that it doesn’t fit it still correct.

  57. Actually, Schadenfreude has four syllables.

    Scha-den-freu-de.

    As does Gemütlichkeit, which was mentioned up thread.

    Ge-müt-lich-keit.

    We Germans do love our long words, though ;-)

  58. I love this post!

    I was getting down on myself for thinking that was I not doing the LOA thing right, but then I said, “Screw it!” and I just started living my life without worrying about whether I was doing it right or not and now I am SO much happier and I am beginning to attract some positive things. The laws of attraction seem like a good idea, but they also seem like too much thinking and not enough living. I hope that makes sense. For my happiness to happen, I realized that I also had to accept that I have a mental illness-I cannot wish it away or positively think it away-it’s here, it’s staying, so now what? I’ve developed my own mantra that I say to myself everyday that’s also helped, “My recovery comes first.”

  59. After my mother died, I found among her things a bunch of old checkbooks, all of the checks filled out, none ripped out. They were all made out to herself, or to my brother, or to me, for (if I’m remembering this correctly) huge amounts of money, and then signed “LAW.” As in Law of Abundance. She did this, wrote these checks, every month for months.

    It was one of the saddest things I found in the house. And then made even sadder by the life insurance check I got in the mail.

  60. Oh yes!

    1. Stop assuming the worst about people. Maybe the reason she glared at me is because she just found out that she lost her job. Or the woman who cut me off in traffic? Is rushing to her friend who just found out she has breast cancer. It’s NOT ALWAYS ABOUT ME.

    2. It is possible for me to be nice first. I don’t have to wait for someone else to make the first move. I can smile at a stranger.

  61. Oops. Clearly I can neither pronounce nor count properly! (I’d been pronouncing it SHAY-den-froyd previously.) But it is, indeed, not always about me.

    So I’ll shut up and instead say thanks, Snarky’s Machine. So glad that you’re here, and I look forward to more great posts.

  62. Wishes for the week:

    Please let me get through my quarterly review without puking. That would be excellent :(

    Please let me get into that therapist I need to see so I can get back to offshore and back to myself and deal with shit that shouldn’t bother me anymore.

    Please let me realize that I’m not going to get fired.

    @Snarkysmachine, I put up “Replace Judgment with Curiousity” as my fb status 2 minutes ago; after 30 seconds, someone liked it.

  63. Snarkysmachine – thank you for “Replace judgement with curiosity.” It truly bent my mind in a very good way.

    aliciamaud – I can so relate to your experience in the nia dance workshop, and your depiction of the pleasure you denied yourself made me cry. I’ve always had a lot of body shame (hated gym class, etc) but when I was in high school I got to attend a residential summer arts program and was forced to take a “Creative Movement” class. Me, a dancer? I loved it, though, when I could quiet the self-hating thoughts for a moment. More than 20 years later, I long for another opportunity to dance like that. Wish there were size-diverse dance opportunities in the DC area.

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