Ideas, rants and raves, with emphasis on Science, Politics, Personal Growth and Finance

Archive for December, 2007

Happy New Year!

Posted by The Lukester on December 31, 2007

Wow – it’s been a year! Let’s see what’s happened in 25 words or less (or more): I got out of credit card debt and have become more interested in saving money and even (gasp!) investing some. More posts on that later. I got interested in learning fencing (and Medieval sword, but that seems to be tougher to learn – I don’t know why). I finally joined some Tolkien forums, with the next step actually meeting others to have a conversation about Middle-Earth (I have an aversion to dress-up and role-playing, but am interested in Tolkien’s “sub-creation”. I had a birthday (You too?? Congratulations!), restarted my blog (and just now switched to WordPress). My aunt died (very sad) and my uncle remarried (very weird, though she seems nice). I had a nice conversation with my father.

A lot was left undone – either not started or not completed, or worse not said, but on the whole it was a pretty good year by the standards of the Real World.

Have a great 2008!


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Gratitude Really Makes a Difference with Self-Talk

Posted by The Lukester on December 28, 2007

Over at Molly’s Brother on a Budget, a nice financial/personal growth blog, was a recent post titled How to Eliminate Negative Self-Talk. It included the sage points

1. Stop it
2. Label it
3. Flip it
4. Ignore it
5. Exaggerate it

And I added a sixth, “Thank it,” with the following comment:

I’d like to add one that I’ve not seen elsewhere (i.e., I made it up) that works really well for me:

6. Thank it.

If you’re thinking to yourself after the office holiday party, “You made a total ass of yourself you stupid idiot, freak, worthless …”, try countering with an internal and sincere “thank you”. Keep saying “thank you” (while trying to FEEL it), and look for the part you actually ARE thankful for. In the above example I might sense there is a tiny bit of my internal rant that I can appreciate, without knowing what it is. I keep sending a sincere “thank you” until it emerges more fully. For instance, while I don’t like the words I’m saying (idiot, freak, etc), I DO like that there is a part of me that CARES whether I do well or not. I truly AM thankful for that.

Once I identify a part I CAN be thankful for, I focus on that. Eventually that “good” message (’I care whether or not you do well’) replaces the “bad” one (’you idiot’).

It actually can be a quite profound feeling, to feel sincere gratitude for something that five minutes ago I was cringing about.

Some examples might be: I can sometimes be very angry with my spouse, to the point it becomes internally toxic. By thanking my inner rant, I realize that the sheer fact of my anger tells me I’m a living, passionate human being – and I’m thankful for that. Or I get frustrated with my career path and frequent mistakes. By thanking it instead, I realize that my “wandering” behavior validates and important part of myself that I care deeply about.

Note that this process doesn’t change the outer world: my wife doesn’t change her behavior, I still have career issues, my colleagues might snicker at me. But at least my own mind is in a stance of gratitude rather than resentment or embarrassment, and perhaps that greater sense of acceptance gives me a little more room to make real change.

I want to re-iterate: I have no real evidence that changing self-talk from negative to positive results in concrete change in behavior or in the world. I do know first-hand, however, that making that shift feels a lot better! I could spend the next day feeling guilty and angry about how my weekend went, or I could spend that day with a sense of gratitude and even joy. I know which one I would prefer!

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Mind the gap! Phase two begins.

Posted by The Lukester on December 28, 2007

I stopped my even-then brief blog two years ago. Here at the very end of 2007 I’d like to resume and, rather than starting over anew, I’m simply picking up where I left off; thus the huge gap. After re-reading my previous posts I decided they weren’t too horrible after all and show a sample of how I think.

I expect to add a lot more about Personal Finance, since I’ve just recently paid off my last credit card and am thinking more seriously about a wealthier outcome at my journey’s end. Plus I have a few new eclectic interests and will probably have a word or two to say about them (fencing, anyone? Tolkien?)

Happy New Year!

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