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I am starting this journal because I have been feeling stuck in my life for years, and finally feel somewhat empowered to change things. I want to write some of my intentions here partly to hold myself more accountable for making changes I want to make, and partly to feel I have an audience of some sort - when I write privately my thoughts seem to loop in unproductive ways and I feel lonely. And maybe someone will relate to my thoughts or challenges. The journal will be somewhat free-flowing, not so structured.


Tonight I am thinking a lot about shame and image problems and fear and shyness. I am thinking about all the ways it has held me back, the profound ways it has limited me. The way it is in my body. I feel I am in a hostile world so much of the time, but so much of this is my own body sending me panicky messages. It is my body working against me. So I have to learn to be more at home in my body. I think this involves learning acceptance. Instead of feeling so much shame for my failures and ineptitudes and character flaws, I need to become a parent figure for myself, a more mature person who can accept those shameful feeling parts of myself.


I am learning the concept of giving myself what I need. Instead of turning too much to other people for support, I am learning to self-soothe. Sometimes my panicky thoughts get in the way of this process. I am impatient. I am afraid. I am confused. I want results now. I want perfection. I hate myself. I am utterly, profoundly uncomfortable with who I am. So that makes me seek escape of all sorts. I think I need to integrate healthy opportunities of escape into my life. And I need to have opportunities to reflect without distraction. I need to learn to soothe away the need for instant gratification. I think this comes from acceptance of imperfection. It is a letting go. I think it is a habit and a skill to be learned and practiced despite initial profound discomfort.


Part of this process involves having mental and emotional space. I think this process is more possible for me now. I do not feel as identified with my parents, friends, and society. At least not all the time. I am my own person too, not only a product of my environment. I have power. I can make choices and exercise power in my life right now. I know at any moment my level of power could change. Something could happen to me. But I need to use what I have right now despite any fear of loss. If loss strikes it is important to remember that life is temporary. We are temporary beings. Our identities are temporary. Everything is temporary. This thought makes me feel freedom of some sort.


My mind is so twisted and winding. I don't trust myself often. I am getting better at this. I don't trust my own motivations. For this reason it has felt very hard to guide myself out of my inner situation. But like everything else it is in part a process of letting go, of leaving space for the unknown. I have felt so imprisoned by my social conditioning, by impressions from my childhood, by the complexes they generated, and the thoughts these complexes created, and the shame and judgement of these thoughts, etc. etc. Wow. Now I know that nothing can be taken for granted. No one can tell me how it is, because no one knows, we are all discovering. They may know something I don't know, but they don't have the whole picture. I can choose not to accept their dominance. This is radical for me. I have been so submissive.


It's a bit scary. If the world doesn't have the answers and I don't have the answers, but we are all possessing snippets and bits and pieces of the picture it leaves me in a very open space with little support. I think I need to try to embrace this space, to enjoy it even. There is a sensuousness here or can be. Like being on a roller coaster, but more calm. Arms outstretched, at the mercy. Yet it requires a creative spark. A doing, not just a receptivity. And an acceptance, a profound acceptance of the clay I have to work with, however cliche that sounds. There are two opportunities - to work with the clay or kill the clay. No not really. We can leave the clay to sit in a silent corner and not intrude or take from the word - but I'm too selfish to consider that right now.

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Now for the more concrete post:


Instead of using my free time obsessing, fantasizing, worrying, trying to fix myself, thinking how to fix the world in an abstract way: I plan to learn more, to be more receptive, to temporarily put on pause my desire to analyse and focus more on perceiving. I plan to study basic history and economics of my country and on a world scale. That will be a start. And also take in more current news and learn more about the domestic and foreign affairs of my country.


I plan to spend time improving the language I'm learning, and possibly start learning another soon. This will also help me/force me to socialize with others in the process of learning, especially people from other cultures, which I think is really valuable.


I plan to continue my dance classes and learn other styles of dance. I want to focus on the technical part in the hopes that this will bring the confidence to really let myself flow with the dance later on.


I want to learn how to sing. It is a fear, almost a phobia to sing in front of others, but I think it would really help me and feel cathartic. I am very blocked in my verbal expression, tone of voice, range of expression etc. I would even consider speech therapy if I can afford it, though that might be drastic.


I will join Toastmasters and practice public speaking.


I will seek out mental health support groups and counseling.


I will do a lot of yoga and other exercise (I already do a lot of this).


I will eat better and sleep better.


I will habituate myself to focus and enjoy learning things I previously wrote off as boring.


I will possibly pick up my instrument again.


This sounds like a lot. But I hope I can do most of it.


Oh, and when I think I've learned enough about history, economics, etc I will start a blog related to these topics and social justice. It will be a blog to process and analyse the information mostly and get feedback and exchange thoughts.

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And now come the doubts. Am I being too serious in analyzing my life this way, in planing how to live it with too much detail? The major insecurity: I am too serious. I am not sufficiently spontaneous. I am too uptight. I am boring and my boring-ness and seriousness is an affront to other people. It reveals my lack of wit and intelligence. I should not be overanalyzing everything. I should be above that. I should be laughing at it, making light of it, of myself, not taking it too seriously, not taking myself too seriously. The people I admire are above this kind of thing. They are intelligent and insightful and it comes to them naturally. They are naturally jovial and find humor and lightheartedness in everything. I want to be more like that. I feel I am the polar opposite at times. Do I just have to accept and embrace this about myself. Do I have to learn to understand myself and accept myself, and not view myself with disdain?


I am so used to receiving veiled contempt or more commonly, patronizing attitudes from others who seem to see me as a weak, unhappy, lost soul and want to help or instruct. It wears on my moral. Makes me feel I am not worthy of respect or of being taken seriously. Do I just say "screw them"? Or do I submit and feel bad about myself? Or some middle ground?


Am I pathetic navel gazer and nothing more? Or is there potential here to develop into a whole human being who is not crippled by these fears and pathologies? Can I trust myself to lead myself to stabler grounds? I feel external pressure to just "not think so much" and to "live in the moment" and blah, blah, blah. This just isn't me right now. I am trying and can do this in some spaces of my life. But I so resent being judged by people who don't necessarily understand, people who simplify. I need to learn to simplify, but I also have complications. I want to accept the complications and think they can bring something valuable as well. Perhaps this makes little sense.


I have a lot of hidden parts of myself. Some I hide from the world. Others I hide from myself. They require discovery to a degree. It is how I start to feel more integrated and whole. I lived so much of my life avoiding and pushing these parts of myself down. Now I want to meet them. But I don't really feel understood by others in this regard. Many would say, "just focus more attention outward." I put a lot of energy into trying to focus my attention outward. But I feel I also need the inward attention. Discovering these hidden parts of myself and learning how to not run from them, but give them space to breathe feels like the only way I can feel I have space to breathe. It feels like the only way I can live my life fully from the center of my being, not as a timid wraith who is always flinching when my wounds get prodded in the daily life. To me it feels empowering. But also scary because I don't know what I am uncovering. But I feel disempowered when other people can't relate to me in this way, when they try to direct me into another path, etc. This includes therapists. Perhaps I need to be strong and provide self-understanding. I feel my demeanor invites people to give me guidence. They mean to help, but I feel more isolated because I don't feel understood and I feel like they are seeing me as a lessor person, a weak person, who can't guide herself. I know my own demeanor is partly responsible for this. It is very painful. I don't trust myself well, so I take their words to heart. And it feels like my reality is being twisted.


This is the ironic thing about therapy. It can feel like gaslighting. At the same time the patient can have misperceptions about themselves and their problems. It's such a delicate balance, a delicate relationship, a delicate giving over of power. To be done properly requires a lot.

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Last thought for the night. I feel it is not vogue to consider or think to deeply about the inner world/one's inner life. American society prizes extrovertedness. And I think we prize fast information, quick fixes, and common sense. I think trying to understand the inner world can be negative or positive (negative if we become to self-focused and absorbed and isolated from the real world). I think that self-analysis is messy, and is not always simple, and I think we have a tendency as a culture to say it is a waste of time. But to me it feels necessary. As a person who has always suppressed themselves and their true nature and feelings, it is like carving out a little space for myself to exist. And I treasure this and it makes me feel so much hope and empowerment, even though I fear I am being a "navel-gazer."

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"Last thought for the night. I feel it is not vogue to consider or think to deeply about the inner world/one's inner life. American society prizes extrovertedness. And I think we prize fast information, quick fixes, and common sense."


Even if that's true, who cares? You're one person, an individual -do what makes sense to you. I don't agree with your generalizations about "American society". I can relate to the fairly regular conflicts between keeping up with the Joneses and doing your own thing -I am a parent of a young child so I experience that first hand when making parenting decisions and filtering out the "shoulds" and what everyone else is doing. Who cares what is vogue? It only impedes your decisions if you allow it to. I like how you question the spectrum of productive thinking v. navel gazing -on an individual, personal basis that is.


I love all the things you want to learn and activities you want to do - great list!


As far as simplifying - I think getting down to basics is a great way to avoid the temptation to navel-gaze or substitute broad concepts/big words for getting to the root of what you want or need. Simplifying doesn't mean it's not a complex or complicated issue -it just means that you tackle it by getting down to basics and then you can see how complex/complicated it really is.

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