April 28, 2023
Your Future Self
This week’s webinar was very exciting! We worked on two important concepts. First, gain and maintain a degree of self-acceptance necessary to move to the next level of success, and second, take steps to make a better future for yourself.
I was traveling last week, and on the plane back, I sat next to a lovely woman who had a Yorkie named Tico. He was in a soft carrying case that she placed underneath the seat in front of her. There was turbulence, and even though you’re not supposed to, we took Tico out of his case and put him on her lap. I covered him up with a sweater so no one would notice. He was trembling with fear, but as soon he was on his mother’s lap, he quieted down. The poor little dog was terrified, but as she petted him, he calmed down. She looked at me and said,
“I would take a bullet for Tico.”
“Would you take a bullet for yourself?”
She shrugged, “I don’t know.” She looked doubtful and whispered sweet nothings to Tico. “I’d take one for my husband. Does that help?”
“What would it take for you to add yourself to your list of loved ones?”
“I don’t know.”
So she didn’t value herself as a loved one. This is the basic problem I have encountered with my students over the last twenty-plus years: They don’t love themselves because they don’t accept themselves.
Until you completely accept yourself, you will not allow yourself into that inner circle of your most important relationships. To be truly happy, the answer must become, “Yes, I would die for me, flaws and all.” You need complete self-acceptance to make greater success.
In the exercise, I asked students to select a word or phrase to describe what they would do to ensure happiness for their future selves. Because this was a class directed at writers, students said, “Write every day,” “Write on the schedule,” or “Write more.”
Then we created a second Word of the Day cluster, brainstorming for two minutes around the central phrase. What emerged from the cluster was information for each student – a directive or a list of how to accomplish this goal in a surprisingly accurate way. For one student, who is very driven, the last word in his cluster was “gentle.” He was very surprised and then realized that he could never meet his own demands and was always yelling at himself. “I need to go easier on myself,” he concluded. Another student clustered around the phrase “Write more,” and a list of what is right or expected, and what she created was an impossible “to-do” list. This was a giveaway, revealing why nothing got done. Her last word in the cluster was “finish.” When I asked her what that meant to her, she was quiet and then said, “Wow, I just need to finish one thing.” As we talked further, it was clear that this was her way of avoiding rejection. I explained that the only person rejecting her was her!
Creating a better future is fun!
Please join me for the next webinar on Wednesday, May 10, via Zoom. Register here.
And writers meet daily for the Word of the Day Practice. Join anytime. Email me for information on the daily meet-ups.