on the inside


Yesterday on my last day off before my schedule resumed I ended up a bit frazzled after spending a good part of the day planning choral music. I picked up books from my Mom, returned them to the library, then chose new ones for her. This is a pretty easy task. Then I went to church and finished choosing choral anthems for the rest of the year.

During all of this I experienced a low hum of self criticism and feelings of inadequacy.

I have been thinking about how difficult it is for me to trust. I do trust some people in my life. But only a few. Why is this? I watch people I admire (and even some that I trust) who automatically assume the best in others. I am more slow to do this. I don’t necessarily assume that people I don’t trust are culpable or doing things that are unethical. I just leave the jury out.

And if I can’t develop a plausible story in my own head about them, I find it hard to trust them.

Needless to say, many people do not make sense to me. Hence, I find it hard to go out on a limb and trust them.

Yesterday I was wondering if this was mental illness or imbalance or something.

I oscillate between conviction that  my intuition is something to heed and that I am a cynical naive who misunderstands the world.

My convictions grow out of experience of watching people violate each other’s trust.

I guess the trick is to not let all this stuff show on the surface when it can be damaging to others.

Murray Bowen the great family systems psychologist and teacher of Ed Friedman (whom I admire immensely) was said to have a very gruff persona in which he rarely revealed himself.

This makes me wonder if he felt vulnerable because of his knowledge of how people and their systems work. So he kept himself under good cover.

Unfortunately, self disclosure is something that is impulsive with me. Heart on the sleeve sort of thing.

When this combines with my dogmatic tone I can sound like God talking.

It is my burden to bear that people often hear disapproval of who they are as people when I am not consciously thinking that, only thinking of the content of the discussion.

In church work this has led me to feebly develop some skills in reflective listening and non anxious presence.

Unfortunately, my convictions take over too often and people find me off putting.

Authoritarian parents. Angry father punishing and scolding his son.

Probably not mental illness, but certainly not comfortable for many.

1. ‘Pawel Althamer: The Neighbors’ Is at the New Museum – NYTimes.com

I especially love to read reviews and learn about artists (musicians, dancers, whatever) that are new to me. Be sure you check out the slide show on this review if you’re interested.

2. Inequality, Dignity and Freedom – NYTimes.com

Krugman talks about the dignity of work.



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