Sleepy Issun on Flickr.
Sleepy Issun on Flickr.
this felt important enough to share
Alright, this post hit me right in the gut. There’s a lot to unpack here (insert John Mulaney meme) but one thing I realized halfway through reading it is that not only have I experienced this feeling countless times in my life, but also that over the years I actually HAVE found some coping strategies that have helped me address it in my life.
I’ll summarize these strategies as statements that I make internally to myself either before, during, or after I experience rejection sensitivity dysphoria. I’ll also give a bit more explanation of what I mean by them. (And I hope they may be somewhat helpful to others.)
- “Enthusiasm and sincerity cover a multitude of sins.” – I mess up a lot in life. I will often dive headfirst into a situation or project that I’m excited for, but not prepared for. I’m terrible at making accurate estimates of the time or effort it will take to do something. So I make mistakes frequently. But I’ve learned that often times when people get upset about little mistakes, it’s because they think it indicates a lack of caring. (Like if I had just cared more about the thing, I would have taken more time to research and understand it first.) When I explain to people that the majority of my missteps are caused by over-enthusiasm and caring TOO MUCH, they tend to be far more understanding. This matters for RSD, because it helps me see my own enthusiasm and sincerity, not as liabilities to overcome, but as valuable attributes that I can’t afford to give up.
- “I can’t control anyone else’s happiness.” – When I start feeling like people are sending me signals that my enthusiasm is making them uncomfortable, I will try to take a moment and figure out if my behavior is actually ruining things, or is it their attitude about my behavior ruining things? I mean look, if I’m tackling people in a game of flag football, I need to cut that crap out (whether it’s caused by enthusiasm or not.) But if people disapprove of what I’m doing just because it’s not what their used to or because they’re embarrassed by people who stand out, that’s not something I can fix for them. I’ll do my best to be patient and understanding and not judge them for it, but those are internal issues that only they can address. Me taking responsibility for their happiness is presumptuous and unhealthy for both of us.
- “I can be my own self-fulfilling prophecy.” – We usually think of “self-fulfilling prophecies” as bad. Like when someone thinks their day is going to be bad, so they act all grumpy and pessimistic, and then that leads to people avoiding them or they sit out on fun opportunities. But I believe that self-fulfilling prophecies can also be tools for good. For example, in my job I conduct a lot of online training webinars. I believe that people learn better when humor is regularly used as a teaching tool, so I structure a lot of my training style as if it were a stand-up comedy bit, and the learning takeaway is often the punchline. But here’s the thing: 99% of the time, I am the only person on the webinar NOT on mute. So I can’t actually hear the laughter from attendees when I say or do something funny. This would be like a comedian performing in front of a brick wall. But I also know that doubting myself will kill the energy of the training and make all my jokes fall flat. So I remind myself that I AM funny, that people have laughed at my humor LOTS of times before, and the more I tell myself that I’m coming across as funny and charming and confident, the more likely that will be true.
- “It’s not smug to believe I’m great at something. It’s only smug when I start comparing myself to others.” – I’m really good at public speaking. I rock at it. Like, you could put me up on stage with a topic and zero prep time, and I’m pretty confident that a significant portion of the audience is going to enjoy it. Early on in my life, I wouldn’t have been comfortable saying that. Not because it wasn’t true (I’ve pretty much always had a talent for public speaking) but because I would have worried that I was bragging. But I’ve realized that I don’t mind when people acknowledge their own talents. I like it when I hear someone talk about something they’re good at. The only time I’m bothered by it is when they start talking about how they’re BETTER than someone else. When they start comparing themselves to others, THAT’S when it goes from charming to smug; from confident to conceited. I share this because I’ve observed that sometimes my episodes of RSD are tied to a fear of coming across as arrogant. As if my own enthusiasm implies I think I’m the best at something. So instead of pulling back and disengaging, I use that feeling as an internal reminder to myself to avoid saying or doing anything that compares myself to others.
- “I might just be ahead of my time.” – Sometimes an idea I have is confusing for people. Sometimes my ideas are understood, but people will be skeptical of success. Sometimes other people just don’t care about my ideas. There can be a few different reasons for this. Perhaps I haven’t communicated the idea in a way that was clear to the audience and I need to try to rework my explanation. Perhaps the idea itself still needs some additional refinement or tweaking to get the right iteration. Or perhaps, for whatever reason, my audience just isn’t ready to receive what I’m giving them. Whether it’s due to a bad day, conflicting priorities, distractions, or just not being on the same wavelength, there are lots of factors that can make an idea “ahead of its time.” This is important because it helps remove the self-doubt that comes from wondering if my idea is just inherently bad. The truth is that I rarely have an objectively “BAD” idea. I have LOTS of ideas that need to be improved and refined, but almost none of them are 100% without value. And that thought helps sustain me through an episode of RSD.
- “People appreciate someone who’s willing to try.” – One of the characteristic attributes of someone with ADHD is a tendency to seek out novelty. I like trying new things, or trying old things in new ways. Failure doesn’t feel good of course, but it does feel very temporary because there will always something else to try. But I’ve learned that this isn’t necessarily true for the majority of the general population. Many people I encounter in life do NOT enjoy trying new things, but they DO appreciate the people who will. So in a room with fifty people in it, I might be the only one willing to do something in a new way, and three of those people might even speak up to discourage me from trying it. But I’ve observed that as long as the thing I’m trying isn’t dangerous to anyone, there’s a good chance that at least thirty of those people are silently hoping that I WILL try the thing because they’re also curious but too afraid to try it themselves. For every time I’ve asked a question in class that made five classmates groan, there’s a silent crowd cheering me on who all had the same question. I’ve learned to believe in that silent crowd, and draw strength from them.
- “I won’t go to hell for swearing because I repent too damn fast!” – This last statement is a fake quote often attributed to J. Golden Kimball (sometimes referred to as “The Swearing Apostle” by members of my church) because, well he had a bit of a potty mouth. And while the quote itself is almost certainly fake, I still appreciate the idea that perfection isn’t nearly as important as a sincere desire to do good combined with an eager willingness to recognize my mistakes, do my best to correct them, and never stop trying to improve. So, am I perfect at using all of the tactics above? Hell no! But I’m getting better all the time, and I even try to help share them with others when I can.
WHEW!! OK, that all turned out a lot longer than I had first intended. But then again, I did say very early on that I am NOT good with estimates. So for those of you who already skipped past this or gave up halfway through… well, I won’t apologize to you because you’re not reading this anyway.
For those who are still reading and found this helpful, I hope you’ll share it with others or let me know.
And for those who are still reading, but wish I had kept this shorter, well… I hope you’ll understand that any mistakes I’ve made here are due to my enthusiasm about this topic and how sincerely I care about it. (And I trust that will be good enough.)
Additionally, if you can see if you can donate money to these organizations
From an excerpt from last year’s The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers,
the rules of “Freddish” – as Mr Rogers’ crewmembers jokingly referred
to the rigorous rules that Rogers used to revise his scripts to make
them appropriate and useful for the preschoolers in his audience.
Rogers’ nine rules are a masterclass in figuring out how to clarify a
thought, then refine that clarity to remove extraneous elements, then
consider the result and use empathy for your audience to be a better
communicator and a better person.
It’s how Rogers went from “It is dangerous to play in the street” to
“Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is
important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part
of growing.” From a proscriptive, negative statement to a positive
statement that admits that there will be uncertainty in the world, that
reinforces loving relationships, without making value judgments, and
connecting the idea to a toddler-friendly message about personal growth.
Per the pamphlet, there were nine steps for translating into Freddish:
- “State the idea you wish to express as clearly as possible, and in terms preschoolers can understand.” Example: It is dangerous to play in the street. ??????
- “Rephrase in a positive manner,” as in It is good to play where it is safe.
- “Rephrase the idea, bearing in mind that preschoolers cannot yet
make subtle distinctions and need to be redirected to authorities they
trust.” As in, “Ask your parents where it is safe to play.”
- “Rephrase your idea to eliminate all elements that could be
considered prescriptive, directive, or instructive.” In the example,
that’d mean getting rid of “ask”: Your parents will tell you where it is safe to play.
- “Rephrase any element that suggests certainty.” That’d be “will”: Your parents can tell you where it is safe to play.
- “Rephrase your idea to eliminate any element that may not apply to all children.” Not all children know their parents, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play.
- “Add a simple motivational idea that gives preschoolers a reason to follow your advice.” Perhaps: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is good to listen to them.
- “Rephrase your new statement, repeating the first step.” “Good” represents a value judgment, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them.
- “Rephrase your idea a ?nal time, relating it to some phase of development a preschooler can understand.” Maybe: Your
favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is
important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part
I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS VIDEO
not to be bitter or anything but like. why do parents always try to make you feel like you should be grateful to have a roof over your head and food on your plate.
7 year old me: asks for a toy or somethin
mom: i already give you a place to sleep and food to eat, you should be grateful for what you have
7 yr old me: oh okay….
me now, 17 and jaded: those are the simple necessities needed for a child to live comfortably, healthily, and happily and you providing those things is not optional. you willingly decided to have children and willingly accepted the responsibilities that come with the job. you telling a child to be grateful for the fact that you do the Bare Minimum by allow them to Live Decently is by nature manipulative and you should feel bad
im not really even mad at my mother, because when i actually Said all this to her, she didn’t look angry just. surprised. like it had never even occurred to her. and it was so obvious in that moment that she’d been told those same things as a child herself.
it just goes to show how toxic parenting like that needs to be noticed and discussed and then discarded so it doesn’t keep spreading. shit like that is why i never asked for anything as a little kid and its why i still feel bad about buying/asking for things just because i want them. shit like that is why i struggle to ask for help when I get stressed out and im only just now unlearning that behavior.
its so so important to be aware of what and how you say things to kids because it really can ruin them in the long run
If you would report an undocumented immigrant to ICE you would have reported me to the Nazis and I don’t fucking trust you
I live in a state where you “have to” report anyone you suspect of being undocumented (that wonderful hellhole of Arizona). Now in practice this law has fallen far short, thank goodness. But if you live in such a place and they start enforcing it, here is how you get around it:
Assume everyone who doesn’t speak English is visiting.
Never ask about their job, because if they tell you they work here then you know they’re not visiting. You see them a lot for several weeks or months? Hm. Someone in the family must be ill. That’s terribly tough. They always dress in old, ratty laborers’ clothes? I feel you, my dude, I can’t afford new clothes either, and my dad has the fashion sense of an aardvark, so sometimes it’s not even about “affording” them. They say they’ve been here for years? You must have misunderstood. Spanish isn’t your first language, after all. First and last name? It never came up, or you don’t recall–you meet a lot of people.
And then, if you’re asked: no, you haven’t seen anyone residing illegally in the United States. Just people visiting.
Very good very important addition
Essentially, this is the civil society version of a work-to-rule strike.
Don’t do more than is expressly asked of you, and do what you are asked with such an intense attention to protocol that not asking you at all becomes more effective than even bothering.
In this case:
“Have you seen an illegal immigrant?”
“Could you describe an illegal immigrant, officer?”
*officer describes a person who is in the country without appropriate paperwork, or who has crossed the border illegally*
“No, sir, I haven’t seen any illegal immigrant.”
And this is correct. You have NOT seen an illegal immigrant, because you have no way of knowing if Jose Fulano is here legally or not. And since you can’t see his paperwork (or lack thereof), and did not personally see him cross the border illegally, you are only answering precisely the question asked.
I’m not American, and I have like, three followers, but this is important.
So, I’m a lawyer, who deals with immigration though does not specialize in it. But here’s the thing(s):
1) Even someone who’s working could be here on a migrant (or other sort of) visa (hey, there are a few thousand per year, and *someone*’s got to get them, right?) or could be waiting for their case to resolve in immigration court, after having come to America to join a born or naturalized American family member.
2) Even people who are working improperly could have come into the country legally – and just overstayed their visa or be violating the conditions of their visa, and you have no idea what the niggly little regulations that govern that might be.
3) If a law enforcement officer asks you about a neighbor/friend/etc., take this moment to remind them that, unlike them, you cannot ask a random person off the street for their ID and be entitled to a response.
4) Even if someone has told you that they are undocumented, you still don’t know, do you? Humans lie all the time. How could you know for sure? You can’t, because they can’t prove that they have a lack of papers. Just because you haven’t seen papers doesn’t mean they don’t exist!
5) Don’t ever talk to cops in general. Why are you talking to a cop? Stop that, as soon as it is safe and feasible.
a very tired public defender