3 Brené Brown quotes that moved me from fear of rejection into action

An old fear monster has been hanging out in my brain a lot these last few months. I have an inspiring, well-written and edited book available for publication (The Gift of Crisis: Finding your best self in the worst of times). There even is a proposal ready to be sent, should a literary agent or publisher be interested. Yet, I have been dragging my feet (procrastinating, “alternatively productive,” busy with client work…. ie. scared) about taking the next step—sending out letters to potential agents. My rational brain knows that a rejection letter wouldn’t mean my book is unworthy of publication. Literary agents are not infallible when it comes to picking potential best sellers. I know this is true because I Googled it (20 Famous Authors Who Were Rejected). And it certainly wouldn’t indicate that I am not good enough (the current old fear at play here). In fact, logical thinking continues to point out that Brené Brown (best selling author of some amazing books on vulnerability and finding our courage) had her first book turned down by literary agents and publishers. And while this takes the whole “they know more than I do about my book’s worthiness” pretty much off the table, it hasn’t been enough to move me into action. The part of me who still carries the old fears about not being good enough has been stalling, hoping for an easier (read: highly affirming/rejection free) path to publication. The other day, while listening to a podcast by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Big Magic”) and Brené Brown on creativity and whole-hearted living, I found...

Surviving Your New Year’s Resolutions

Surviving Your New Year’s Resolutions Like many people, I enjoy setting resolutions for the coming year–even though I never achieve them perfectly. Earlier in life I judged myself harshly for any slip-ups in keeping those resolutions—believing that breaking one was a clear sign of my lack of will power (or character defect, depending on how badly I felt about the mess up). You see, I had bought into a perfectionist view of the world—the one where only the flawless are considered worthy of attention or love. Any mistake, I believed, took me off the “lovable” list immediately and made the possibility of being loved for who I really was (human and imperfect) a very chancy prospect. It’s not true about New Year’s resolutions and it’s not true about Life. We don’t have to perform this dance with life faultlessly to be worthy of love. We are likely going to screw up, even if we have the best strategies, painstakingly laid out, to achieve our goals. I’m not being pessimistic—actually, I’m an irrepressible optimist. After all these years of imperfection completion, I still set resolutions. During this last year, as I was following a very wobbly path to unconditional self-love, I discovered an important truth that changed how I see life, and even more, how I approach New Year’s Resolutions. Here it is: Self-love is not about learning to love yourself despite your imperfections. It’s about recognizing that you are  lovable–including your flaws. It’s a bit of a game changer if you sit with this idea for a few minutes. Those of us who have been using New Years resolutions...

Control, Chaos and Trust

I hit that magical 60th birthday in July this year and, since my family tends to stay active until their 80s and 90s, figure I have at least 25 years of productive living in front of me. That recognition has birthed a couple questions that seem to run through my head a lot—“If not now, when?” and, with apologies to Mary Oliver, “What else do you want to do with this one wild and precious life?” Those questions have led me to thinking about the obstacles I continue to stumble over in my life. These are the personality traits and well-entrenched behavioral tendencies that ride herd on my dreams and plans, slowing them down, often to a standstill. For me they are self-doubt, fear, perfectionism, and an obdurate* tendency to want to tell the Universe how to run things. While I can claim some genetic predisposition to this last trait (family members, you know who you are) I think it has more to do with a fear that if I don’t stay on top of what is going on around me, bad stuff will happen. Those of you who know a bit about my life (http://drsusanmecca.com/dr-susan-mecca-bio/) know that this is both illogical and a bit comical. Given what has happened in my last decade alone, apparently I’m really bad at running things, the Universe isn’t listening, or the Universe dances to a much more complex set of variables than I am capable of understanding or orchestrating. I’m inclined to believe the latter. I also used to believe that playing Universe Hall Monitor would make me more love-worthy. Preventing potential crises seemed...

Three lessons my pet’s death taught me

Zelda graced our household for sixteen years, serving as protector, healer, companion, and role model. She was feline, all black, supremely sure of her worth, and had a Sicilian vendetta mentality about assaults on her dignity—especially by veterinarians. Last week, in the middle of a family crisis, Zelda let me know it was time to release her and let her proceed to the next adventure. I was, of course, out of town. I had known we were heading this direction for a while—the signs were there and my intuition told me it wouldn’t be long. I just wanted to make sure it all went “right.” You see, I had a plan and I was betting against the cosmic timer that I could ensure her a pain free death while still completing my “get it right” list. Zelda, true to her nature, listened to no one except herself. I loved that about her but her timing was lousy. I’ve learned, however, that tough times have their own schedule. You can argue with that schedule—as I have done–but it doesn’t do much good. I’ve also come to understand that life’s difficulties have the ability to bring perspective into our lives. Jolted out of our comfort zones and turned upside down, we can see things we might have missed or ignored before. Zelda’s death made me look at some things that I have a tendency to overlook or ignore. You can wait too long trying to make sure things go perfectly. If you read my last blog, “Just Say Yes,” you already know I have a bit of an issue with perfectionism....

Just Say Yes

Like Albert Einstein, I believe that the Universe is a friendly place, conspiring to help us at all times. What I struggle with is the difference between what I think the help should look like and what the Divine has in mind. I have the tiniest problem with wanting to give the Divine fairly detailed instructions about how things should go. You would think I might have overcome this small issue when Nick, my son, got cancer at 16. That certainly wasn’t the outcome I was writing over and over again while waiting for the results. But, as I’ve said before (mostly to myself), I think the Universe dances to a more complex set of variables than I can possibly imagine. One of the ways that I know I’ve made progress in trusting  God/The Divine/The Universe (insert the word that makes the most sense to you) is when I say “Yes” to the random opportunities that show up in my life–you know, the ones that I hadn’t planned. I did that several months ago when Vicky Townsend contacted me through Twitter and asked me to do a webinar with her on her program for TheCafeD (an Internet community of support for people going through divorce). Training is something that I’ve done for years, but a webinar? What was the Divine thinking? But, it was just random enough that I suspected that God might be behind the weirdness. So I gulped and said yes. It turned out just fine–not perfect. I said “yeah” a few too many times and struggled with technology a bit. But, all in all, it was pretty ok,...

3 ways to distinguish the inner critic from your authentic self

Most of us are well acquainted with our inner critic—that voice that constantly critiques and judges our actions. The root of the negative self talk comes typically from our early childhood years when we believed everything that authority figures—family, teachers, church elders, doctors, even “older and wiser” friends– told us. In childhood, we had too little knowledge of the world, and were too dependent on love or protection of those powerful figures to discern between what was true and what felt true to them. For example, a teacher who feared she would be judged for a student’s poor academic performance might tell a child that she is “stupid” rather than admit that she has neither the time nor skills to help the child learn more effectively. Or a parent who had experienced many disappointments in his life might teach his son that “you can’t trust anyone.” Neither of the pronouncements were accurate but both might have been adopted as true by the child who did not know better. Our authentic self however knows us better than the inner critic. That self is connected to our strength, our wisdom, our intuition as well as to our vulnerabilities and fears. Unfortunately, while the inner critic is an early riser, standing (figuratively) beside our bed waiting to get our attention the minute we wake, our authentic self waits for an invitation to speak to us and often requires quieting our mind to hear its voice. For many of my clients, it can take a lifetime of careful listening to begin to discern critical self-talk, created from early childhood experiences, from the voice...
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