I have been thinking a lot about exit strategies.

Not that I’m going anywhere. Definitely not at the moment.

But when Selma and I are done here …. or when we’re on Skabbatical

What do I really truly want my people to know? What types of things can I expect them to be able to do?

If there were a final exam that touched on some of the essential principles of everything we do at The Fluent Self, what would it look like?

Oh, there are so many things I’d put in there.

But just a few, off the top of my head, while I’m narrowing things down.

Starting with seven questions. I even answered them so you don’t have to. See? Nicest test ever.

And I tried to be as succinct as possible, which we all know is not exactly my strength. Brevity points for me. And bathtime and bourbon for Selma.

Destuckification Basics, Part I

Q: Why am I avoiding this?

Because:

I care so much that it’s painful.

If I go near it, the fuzzy monsters come out to play.

I have unresolved stuck that needs some love.

Avoidance is always natural and normal and legitimate. There is always a reason for it.

Q: Why am I scared? It’s stupid and there’s no reason for it.

Because this has meaning for me.

Because I don’t want to get hurt.

Because fear doesn’t need to be rational. No, really. It doesn’t.

Q: How come [all these other people] can do X and I can’t?

(Or: How come they can do it better / faster / more efficiently / with less whining?)

Because people vary.

Also: you have no idea what the background story is. You have no way of knowing how much has happened behind the scenes to prepare them for this.

And you have skills and resources that they don’t, just as they have things you don’t. That’s how it works.

Q: How is it that I can use my skills to help other people achieve X but I can’t make it happen for myself?

Because that’s how superpowers work. Most of us are immune to our own superpowers most of the time.

Being a source of light for others doesn’t necessarily mean you can always see your own way in the dark. This is why we all get to help each other, which is a good thing.

Destuckification Basics, Part II

Q: What doesn’t work with monsters, pain, fear, stucknesses?

Fighting with them.

Ignoring them.

Telling them to shut up.

Telling them to go away.

Trying to outsmart them in violent ways.

Q: What does work with monsters, pain, fear, stucknesses?

  1. Acknowledging the fact that they’re showing up.
  2. Legitimacy. Giving them permission to exist.
  3. Making space between you and them by remembering that they are only part of you, and temporary.
  4. Finding out what they need to feel safe, while being firm about how they may or may not address you.
  5. Letting them know what you need to feel safe.

And yes, those are steps.

Also, coloring them while you hash things out is lots of fun and extremely effective.

Q: Does anything trump the “people vary” principle?*

Yes.

Nonviolence.

I’ll write that post some other time. Soon, I hope.

* hat tip to Paul Grilley for this phrase, which I adore.

Bonus Question!

Q: What is the difference between the first set of questions above and the second?

Take an extra ten thousand sparklepoints if you saw the monsters behind the curtain. All the questions in the first set were actually asked by your monsters.

The second set were just looking for information. No agenda.

Reassurances.

I’m not retiring yet.

Still here. With my duck and the Schmoppet and ridiculous amounts of Extremely Important things still left to be said. Not to mention all the completely unnecessary things that are just fun to say. Like haberdashery. Or smock. Smock!

The main thing is this: I’d like us all to be up to speed on some of the basics (obviously everything in this post is just an introduction), because it’s time to start going deeper.

As always, we all have our stuff and we’re all working on our stuff. This really, truly is not a test.

It’s okay to exhale. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. And sparklepoints and imaginary muffins all around.