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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


Something to believe in.

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few weeks about what mysterious forces and processes come together to allow for “success” in something — insert your own definition here.*

*Let’s just all try and assume for now that it’s something positive and mostly-desired.

One of the themes I keep coming back to is the “someone believing in me when it seemed like no one else did and I didn’t know how to believe in myself” thing.

I don’t like it. I don’t like it because it’s cheesy and annoying.

It reminds me of made-for-television movies and excessively romantic sunsets and crescendo-ing violins.

Also because it’s outside of the space where most self-work happens. You know, it’s no longer directly about the relationship with (or to) yourself. Which is where I want to hang out.

That’s where I want to focus my energy. That’s where I’m inclined to spend my time. Not with outside forces and outside legitimacy.

Except that it keeps coming up. So clearly there’s something going on there … probably something important.

So hang out with me for a bit while I process out loud.


I spent a little over a year in Madison, Wisconsin … allegedly attending university but mostly internally raging and biding my time until I could either move back to Israel or figure out a way to get to Europe.

All sorts of people were giving me the “you’re not living up to your potential” spiel, which (shockingly!) missed its intended motivational target and only resulted in me getting more depressed.

Other people’s expectations were heavy, irritating and seemed to bear no relation to my own conception of who I was.

And then by a rather miraculous (or at least incongruous) series of events, I was spontaneously adopted by David Mitchell and his bizarre and wonderful group of friends.

Dave’s friends were all in their late forties and early fifties. They were intelligent and funny and quirky and free-spirited, but not in an especially bohemian way or anything. They just really enjoyed being alive.

A concept that was completely eye-opening to me.

Anyway, Dave and Joan and Paul and Victor (Maddog) and Cathy and the rest of them all — astoundingly — thought that I was absolutely fine the way I was.

They also all believed that I was bright and talented and going to do great and exciting things in the world and that it was completely okay if I took as long as I needed in getting there.

This was all news to me.

Everything I knew from my parents and friends was “Doom, doom, doom” and “Things generally get worse, not better” and “You’re wasting your life!” and variations on all of that.

But here were a bunch of people who saw potential in me but liked me as I was right then — and anyway weren’t at all worried about me squandering it. That was what I took with me from Madison when I moved back to Israel.

Tel Aviv

My friend — the one who killed himself — was the one who was not just a fan of my writing (at a time when no one got to read anything I wrote ever), but of the fact that I did it at all.

He would introduce me to people as “my friend, the writer”, and when he did it, the word “writes” didn’t even make me want to throw up.

Once he bought me an old beat-up typewriter for my birthday.

He also thought I was the best bartender in town.

And then when I quit the bars and became a yoga teacher he also thought I was the best yoga teacher in town, even though of course he never took a class from anyone other than me.

Mostly he just thought that having me around was good for the world.

And at a time when I was deep into self-destruction, paralyzed by self-doubt and loathing and a whole host of impossible fears, this was pretty hard for me to believe.

But I also knew that he believed it. I knew he was smart and discerning enough that I would have trusted him if he’d said those things about somebody else.

So some tiny part of part of me believed him.


It was February. It was cold. I was sick. But really sick. The kind of sick that forever changes the definition of the word.

I had a horrible middle-ear infection which, among other things, was causing blood and insane amounts of scary-looking goo to erupt from my head in a never-ending fountain of yuck.

I would wake up in the middle of the night screaming from the pain. Sometimes it was the sound of the screaming that woke me up.

The doctor who treated me absolutely refused to let me pay no matter how many times I tried. She’d sneak me in before work and during her lunch break and tell me stories about her childhood in East Berlin.

She cared for me. She cared about me. For whatever reason, she took an intense personal interest in both the process and the experience of me becoming well.

It took several months before I could really hear again, but healing from that particular illness launched a crazy chain of intense healing experiences that have brought me directly to the work that I do now.

San Francisco

After Berlin I took Selma and went to San Francisco, solely on the basis of several nights of recurring “Listen, you need to go to San Francisco” dreams that were then encouraged by a couple of wonderfully bizarre coincidences.

And one of the very first things that happened when I arrived was that I met my gentleman friend.

Obviously being in love is pretty much the best thing in the world. But you know what else?

Meeting my gentleman friend is not just the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s also the best thing that ever happened to my business.

Mostly because he believed in it so entirely that he could see what it could become and had no doubt ever that I’d be able to pull it off.

He consistently dreams big for me, without putting pressure on me to act on those dreams and without ever being impressed by my stucknesses. He just assumes I’ll be fabulously successful at whatever I do just because hey, I’m that great.

And at the same time, he’d love me just the same if all I did was read books all day and go for walks and do yoga.

I’d honestly never been in a relationship with someone who didn’t need to knock down my every single idea with a bunch of objections about why it probably wouldn’t work.

Not out of meanness or anything. I think they mostly just wanted to keep me from getting my hopes dashed — to keep me from getting hurt. Or maybe there was some jealousy involved or some more general insecurity, too. I don’t know.

But the end effect was that they’d dish out the kind of “helpful critique” that would convince me to dash those tiny hopes myself before they ever got a chance to breathe.


My relationship with myself is, of course, always interacting with and reflecting themes of my relationship with others. So there’s tension there, but there’s also play.

Here is what’s going through my head right now — and I hope you’re not expecting coherency here:

  • It’s easier sometimes to trust others (well, certain others …) when I can’t trust myself.
  • I can also remember how to trust myself, just from remembering what it is like to have had someone believe in you.
  • Sometimes this isn’t easy (sometimes nothing is easy).
  • But then at other times there’s flow — the sense that it’s possible to allow things to get easier.


I’m thinking that all these people who were able to believe in me like that are really more than sources of strength.

They’re reminders of what I already know.

The fact that they’re there … in my memory or in my kitchen or whatever, is a reminder of a whole range of strengths they see in me — strengths that I forget about.

This is a steady, calming reminder to shift my focus inward so that I can reconnect to the internal resources and strengths — the stuff that I tend to avoid, even though it contains all the qualities that I need to guide me.

I used to think a lot more about all the people who knocked me down. Or that I perceived as having knocked me down.

Lately I’ve been thinking about all the other people. The ones who have carried me when I was tired.

But I’m also thinking that they were only carrying me because they knew how strong I was.

One last thing.

I’m also thinking (but I have no way to say this without it devolving into cheesiness so please forgive me), that I hope you know that part of why I am here is to be that person for you.

Because Selma and I are completely prepared to believe in the great things that you’re going to do, without at all needing you to have done them yet — or ever — in order to like you.

We just believe. Because it’s true.

47 Responses to Something to believe in.

  1. That was beautiful and inspiring!
    Your message warmed my heart on this cold -13* morning. :)


    Amy Mommaertss last blog post..Time to Clean House (literally and figuratively)

  2. Tatty Franey
    Twitter: tattyfraney

    wow. this touched me so so deep, it brought up so many hangups of mine that i bury waaaay deep so i never have to deal with them.
    thanks for being you. thanks for sharing this. thanks for being the source of so much inspiration and motivation for me and thousands of folk out there.
    and thanks to selma for being there too.

    Tatty Franeys last blog post..Daily report – 6&7

  3. Joely Black says:

    I’m actually struggling to know what to write.

    I think maybe that’s why I came here, because you seem like you’re that kind of person. You can see the shine when we can’t.

    I’ve had so many times when I haven’t believed in myself and what I’m doing, and then it’s the person who emails me out of the blue to say he saw a quote about writing from Leo Rosten (and he had no idea that I LOVE Leo Rosten). It’s emailing back and forth with somebody who, when I confess my biggest, most secret dream, simply says, “OK, that’s doable.”

    Sometimes we need somebody, a rock, somebody stable, who can hold your hand and say “You’re OK, you know.” That can make all the difference.

    Thank you.

  4. LeAnne McDaniel says:

    I have noticed this strange phenomena, too. Although, I am only consciously aware of a few people who inexplicably cared about me from the murky depths of childhood memory (mostly school). Note to Self: Try to list anyone who inexplicably cared about me after the age of 16. An interesting exercise.)

    I used to be really comforted (but basically unbelieving) of the phrase, “You don’t have to do anything for God to love you.” Ack! Now THAT’S cheesy. But it’s similar to what you’re saying about feeling OK about being exactly where you are.

    Then I fell into atheism and the quagmire of disbelief–and one of those life changing illnesses–all pretty much at the same time.

    And I feel like I’m just waking up. Even though I THOUGHT I was pretty self aware. Hah.

    I still believe that if “One is helped, All are helped” and “If you can do it, I can do it.” So, thanks for doing it. I’m (not really) right behind you. Ok, I’m at least following your trail.

  5. christy
    Twitter: twitchinggrey

    thank you

    christys last blog post..How To Destroy a New Media Company in Three Easy Steps

  6. Fi Bowman (@fibowman)
    Twitter: fibowman

    “All sorts of people were giving me the “you’re not living up to your potential” spiel, which (shockingly!) missed its intended motivational target and only resulted in me getting more depressed.”

    Hoo boy. Do I remember that one. I had a Spanish prof at university, Sra Tomsich, who got so *disappointed* with my *failure* to work up to potential that she sat behind her office desk and *sighed* at me. She sighed, then shook her head sadly, and said, “Es muy triste.”

    Cause that made me feel much better, I can tell you. Yep, did the trick for sure. Almost 20 years later and I can still hear her sigh at the sadness of my failure to be what she thought I should.

  7. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    Oh my, yes.

    @Fi – Oh, how frustrating! People who only know how to motivate themselves through guilt and disapproval tend to think it’s the best way to motivate us too …

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to live with that sigh! I’m wondering now if that sigh wasn’t her own disappointment with herself, thinking she had to achieve certain results with her students in order to feel like she was good enough.

    And now you’re stuck with the sigh.

    Hug to you.

    @Christy – you too, my dear. I’m so happy we met.

    @LeAnne – wow, big realizations. Can’t think of anyone I’d rather have on my trail. Right on.

    @Joely, Tatty & Amy M – thanks, girls. You inspire me too, and like Joely said, everyone needs a rock now and then. Luckily, they often show up when we need them. So happy we all found each other.

  8. Julie Stuart
    Twitter: Julie Stuart

    Thank you for the gentle and beautiful reminder to look at my own life for the touchstones of support I’ve received from the people who have held me when I needed them. Why is it so much easier to focus on the ones who do the harm or cause the hurt when there is a greater lesson about Who You Really Are from the ones who offer their hand and heart when you really need it?

    PS-Hi LeAnne, one of my bestest friends and neighbors!

  9. I thought I detected a hint of Madisonian liberalism :-) (60 square miles surrounded by reality)

    Melodee Pattersons last blog post..7 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

  10. Deb Owen says:

    Wow. Does this ever resonate for me? As you know, I’ve recently reconnected with some people who believe in me like that. And it’s been so very nice. And such a nice ‘reminder’. (And yes. I’m also ‘getting’ that I can give that stuff to myself too. But gosh, it’s nice when other people care like that.)

    And yes. You were totally that person for me at a time when I REALLY needed it. (And I hope that we all give that same kind of stuff right back to you!)

    All the best!

  11. carma says:

    As someone who is always trying a bit of this and a bit of that, but nothing every works out as hoped, I’ve given up telling people what I am up to so I don’t have to report back when it doesn’t work out! You’ve encouraged me to keep plugging away….

    carmas last blog post..Tiny is the New Big

  12. carma says:

    meant to type “ever” not “every”

    carmas last blog post..Tiny is the New Big

  13. Maya says:


    Your post was a walk down memory lane for me ….
    I have been doing so much more in life since I left my parents’ home …and there might be a reason for it :)

    I also always wondered why I had always been so intentionally secretive about my big projects in life ….it is cause the people in my life never believed in me … I have a LOT of people in my life who think they NEED to know what I am up to – only to discourage me ;)

    Having that one or two people who believe can make such a BIG difference …and your post was a wonderful reminder for me to try to be that person to someone else!

    All the best to Selma and you – ALWAYS !

    Mayas last blog post..Preparing to Believe in Yourself: The Science of Ditchiness

  14. Hiro Boga
    Twitter: HiroBoga

    Oh, Havi, all the light you’ve received from people who believed in you when you didn’t believe in yourself fills you, and fills your world.

    And those of us blessed enough to know you receive it from you.

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Thank you for all your faith, encouragement, support and for the vision you hold of what’s possible. Thank you also for holding what IS in such love and tenderness.

    Hiro Bogas last blog post..Creative Connection: Where’s Your Muse When the Baby’s Spitting Up at 3 am?

  15. Amy H.
    Twitter: amyslash7.com

    Wonderful; heartbreaking (for me at least).

    Have you ever read A Wrinkle In Time?

    The main characters go to a planet where they attempt to combat evil, and fail. They try to flee and end up on another planet, with big blind furry creatures. These blind “mother” creatures care for the main characters’ hurts, simply because they need that caring, even though they failed at defeating the evil that hurts the mother creatures, too. The mother creatures care for them, no matter what they have not achieved or may never achieve.

    It always made me cry. (I watched the movie last year with a coworker, and I cried then, too!)

    You’re right about the fairy-tale flavor of the “had somebody to believe in you just when you needed it” story. But…

    Those of us who keep trucking without that external belief, we tend to get kinda “SO THERE!” about it, chip-on-the-shoulder style: WELL FINE, I DON’T NEED YOU TO BELIEVE IN ME.

    Even if we really do.

    Amy H.s last blog post..My blog’s splitting up: It’s not you, it’s me. No, really. It’s me. And me. And me…

  16. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    … yeah, me too …

    @Julie – good point. Also, wow. You know *everyone*. My world shrinks by the day.

    @Melodee – ahhh, a guest from the Mad City? I loved Madison. Can’t wait for another visit. Last time I popped by for a brief fix was in 2001. Too long.

    @Deb – *cheers for Deb*

    @Carma & Maya – Oh, that makes so much sense to me. I also have this tendency to keep everything top secret because I can’t bear for people to start listing their objections before I’ve thought the thing through and given it a fighting chance.

    So hard! Good luck finding the ones who will get the wonderful things you’re doing. And seriously, count me as a non-cheesy (or only semi-cheesy) cheerleader.

    @Hiro – thank you, my love. You are one of the beautiful people in my life who models unconditional acceptance in a way that knocks me over.

    @Amy – Mmmm, yeah. You are so so so right. I know that pattern too … the “I’ll show you, I don’t need you!” thing (actually Hiro did a session with me on that last week and it was amazing). Big, big stuff.

    And I don’t remember anything about A Wrinkle In Time except for crying all over the library book. Must have repressed the plot …

  17. Pace says:

    You know the worldview where we create our own realities, where we manifest events based on what some part of us desires or needs? Well, maybe when we’re feeling really small but some part of us deep down is feeling really big, we bring that bigness into the world in the form of other people, because we’re not yet ready to accept it in ourselves. Yeah. That’s what I think.

    Also… thank you. (:

    Paces last blog post..Introducing Book Bonanza Wednesdays! Chapter 1: The usual error

  18. Laurel says:

    Wow, this is really beautiful. Thank you.

  19. carma says:

    I’ll take all the cheerleaders I can get, non-cheesy or semi-cheesy included!
    Thanks :D

    carmas last blog post..Tiny is the New Big

  20. joyce lukaczer
    Twitter: fontsitediva

    is fascinating/terrifying to sense myself in the midst of complete [ha-ha … as if there is any-such-thing :] exposure and understand that NOTHING IS AMISS … oui vey, what to do? what to do?

    breathe, be-still, move-on … mix & repeat :)

  21. chas says:

    you know that cheesy story about footprints in the sand and two sets during good times and one set during bad? and the person asks god why they were abandoned during the hard times and god say during those times i was carrying you? that one?

    well of course that’s who we all are and what we all do for each other. thank you, havi, for being one of those sets of footprints (in the snow, i’m afraid) at this challenging time of my life.



    chass last blog post..monday morning motivator! 7, my back pages

  22. Sue says:

    There are so few people that accept us as we are and there are so many out there that want to criticize us for what they would like us to be.

    We all should appreciate those times when we are lucky enough to have some of the former in our lives. Seems like some people just don’t attract that type, ever.

    I so grateful for the few that have believed in me.

    Sues last blog post..Energy Vampires Suck

  23. Sue says:

    There are so few people that accept us as we are and there are so many out there that want to criticize us for what they would like us to be.

    We all should appreciate those times when we are lucky enough to have some of the former in our lives. Seems like some people just don’t attract that type, ever.

    I am so grateful for the few that have believed in me.

    Sues last blog post..Energy Vampires Suck

  24. Havi,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and well… I’m going through huge changes in all aspectes of my life right now and at this point I really don’t know how its going to end up. I am battling many ‘what if’ senarios and, at my worst moments – they are waking me out of sleep in the middle of the night with my head full of stress or I’m just waking up in the morning and immediatly going into a ‘lockdown’ situation with my thoughts because I have a day’s (cubicle-based) work ahead of me and I don’t have the time and can’t spare the energy to be fretting about it all.

    Its not all bad, there are things I hold on to that keep me sane….

    Anyway what I want to say is ‘THANKS x’ because reading your blog is helping – at this point – until I get to the place where the questions I need answered are actually formed and not all covered in hard and stuck.

    THANKS and much LOVE to you and Selma xx

    Lauramaeve (@Lauramaeve)s last blog post..Doing my nightbird thing again…

  25. This blog and you, lovely Havi, along with a few other wonderful things in my life that I wouldn’t have been able to even recognize a few months ago, have brought me from a place of such lonliness and isolation to a place where I’ve been able to find so many wonderful, beautiful people all around me (on the internets!) and maybe, along the way, I’m getting to know me a little better, too. :)

    Big hug. Thanks for all you do.

    Diane Whiddon-Browns last blog post..My Rock, My Fear, and Teeth!

  26. Look.

    Things happen for a reason and that’s all there is to it, and I frankly don’t give two shits whether anyone thinks I’m nuts or cheesy or whatever for believing that; it’s true and nobody is going to convince me otherwise.

    People come into your life at exactly the right moment. Something leads you to something leads you to someone and it’s a perfect match. Things ultimately work out when you have faith.

    Some of the worst stuff I’ve been through has been absolutely essential. Like, it had to happen. Like, it was a good thing.

    So I’m with you.

  27. dpaul says:

    Havi Havi Havi.
    I do think you’re right. I appreciate having you come into my world. Don’t know what it was but you had me at the first silly twitter. You’re right, as I said, about looking within. This is where happiess lies. Well, this is where peace lies, happiness just comes from that. This said, we need others. It pays to be selective as to whom you let in. Jim Collins says “first we need to get all the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and only then can you worry about where they’re sitting” (I paraphrase). I believe this. I only let certain people on my bus and I’m quick to turn out those that don’t help me be who I want to be. I don’t worry what role they’re supposed to play, because I have no idea – I just figure it will work out. Each time I read one of these or get a Havigram, I think – yes, she should be on the bus.

    dpauls last blog post..The Curious Case of Defunct Soviet Girls Camps in Michigan

  28. Sarah Marie Lacy
    Twitter: smlacy

    I’m maybe crying a little bit.
    This is reminding me that maybe I need to remember the people who believe in me too, instead of just focusing on the ones who didn’t.
    And that it’s okay to not have my entire life together rightthissecond.
    *Breathes sigh of relief*
    Maybe things will be okay after all.

    Sarah Marie Lacys last blog post..This is when I realize that I’m a nutcase.

  29. JoVE says:

    That’s fabulous. And I think the hardest thing is being able to accept that people love you like that and believe in you like that. Looking back, I have people like that, too. But at the time, I didn’t always recognize them. And in some cases, I didn’t treat them well and was not appreciative of what they did for me just by believing in me and loving me for who I am.

    so part of that self-work, is allowing yourself to accept that these people who believe in you, really do believe in you. That they have reason to believe in you. And that you deserve to be loved like that. And that is really hard sometimes.

    I’m glad you and Selma are on my team. I believe in you, too.

    JoVEs last blog post..Posture

  30. Paulita says:

    “I hope you know that part of why I am here is to be that person for you.

    Because Selma and I are completely prepared to believe in the great things that you’re going to do, without at all needing you to have done them yet — or ever — in order to like you.

    We just believe. Because it’s true.”

    This is why I read you, Havi. And yes, I’m teary reading this. Thanks for being there for me.

  31. Heather says:

    Thank you, Havi and Selma.

    I got all teary-eyed, too. I needed to believe in something in myself. All too often I’m just searching for something to make me feel better about the things I believe in when it seems I keep hearing “You’re wasting your time. That’s a silly idea. Why can’t you settle down?” and tonight I wandered over here in time to hear this. Thank you.

    Heathers last blog post..The ones you make yourself hold the most meaning

  32. Tiara
    Twitter: tiaramerchgirl

    aww *hugs*

    I know what you mean about people’s well-meaning expectations being paralysing. At school teachers would go on and on about how “she’d be such an amazing student if she only applied herself!” (I got pretty good marks with hardly any conventional study – yay books and Internet! – but I wasn’t good enough for them apparently). A lot of people, including my parents, tell me I’ll be “somebody great” someday – I know they mean well and they’re proud of me, but it feels so OVERWHELMING. I haven’t done anything great yet! I haven’t saved the world or ended poverty or whatever. I’ve got friends that are dedicatedly working on big issues and I feel like morons next to them. I just want to experience things and give free hugs and smile…but how am I supposed to live up to this expectation of being “somebody great”?

    Then again I don’t have the greatest self-esteem. I’ve got friends that tell me I’m *already* “somebody great” – “You do so many amazing things! You’re awesome!” – and all I can think of is “er, not quite.” See, I’m not in a Top 100 Young People list, or I haven’t really done anything remarkable, so how are you basing your opinion? It’s a twisted version of your Aesop; what do you do when people do believe in you but you think you don’t deserve it?

    Also, like you and Selma (DUCKY! hehe) I want to be that person for others. I often am the one person in my circle of friends who goes “YOU CAN DO IT! If you need help, let me know. But you are awesome whether you do it or not”. I used to be a bit of a downer but changed that after realising how unhelpful that was. But how else can I be that person for others? Especially in a larger setting, outside my group of friends?

    (I kind of do this with my blog EducateDeviate – http://educatedeviate.wordpress.com – I get a number of young people who write to me about their school woes and feel that I’m the only person who’d listen. What an honour!)

    Tiaras last blog post..Idea: 1000 True Fans

  33. Havi, I loved this post. I love your story telling and how authentic you are and how willing you are to share a piece of your life.

    I have been a person on both sides of the “I believe in you, no matter what you do” coin. And I swear, it’s a ridiculous gift to get to be on either side of that message. You know.

    I hope every one of your readers gets the chance to experience knowing this, too.

    Rachel Whalleys last blog post..Show Posted: Emotions in Business–How to Stop Suffering by Comparison

  34. Brandon W says:

    I have a Master’s degree. One thing I get tired of hearing in this town that I live in (Havi, you know where THAT is) is, “Oh so you have a Masters? Are you going to do a PhD?”


    Only 10% of the population has a Master’s, but apparently, that’s not good enough for some. I think university towns (like Madison) also have a way of being like that. It’s such a frustrating and deflating thing to hear.

    I really appreciate this post. It made my day.

  35. LeAnne McDaniel says:

    This is really important. How DO we encourage others? I was sitting with my own stuff and I had the shocking realization that I DO THIS VERY THING TO MY OWN BELOVED SON. And I’ve been complaining about how he won’t let me help with applying to colleges. DOH! Now, I know why.

    And what DOES happen when you accept where someone is without expectation? DID the lady turn into a burrito? Yes, I would love and accept my son, but if he doesn’t get into college, he’ll have to get a job and move out.

    And yet, what if MY husband said that? When I tried to talk to him about this stuff (OK, I was watching Cloverfield–which totally rocked–and came upstairs to talk about it [take a break] and he said, “why don’t you write about it? You know on that blog you’re always talking about making money from?” And I felt TOTALLY pushed) and he says

    “Basically, you’re asking me to give you permission to do nothing.”


    Well…not exactly PERMISSION, but when you put it like that…

    So, does a line have to be drawn in the sand somewhere or we’ll all end up on welfare? Where’s the differentiation between acceptance and responsibility?

  36. Amy H.
    Twitter: amyslash7.com


    I’ve been thinking about this a lot myself lately, so forgive me if I philosophize…

    I think you have to give yourself permission to do nothing before you can find the things you really want to be doing.

    Otherwise you’re kept going by the carrot or the stick: stuff you want to earn, or threats you’ve had levied against you (of whatever type… including the “but we could end up on welfare” bit.)

    But wanting to do nothing is a totally normal response to being forced to do things that don’t jibe with you.


  37. […] make me cry “in a good way”.  Their most recent success in that regard was  http://thefluentself.wpengine.com/blog/stuff/something-to-believe-in/ ,  … Selma and I are completely prepared to believe in the great things that you’re going […]

  38. zoe says:

    I like this idea of reminders. I think that’s true. You can only really believe and accept the good things people say about you if deep down you know they’re true.

    Otherwise you self-deprecate and deny it. Or maybe it gives you an ego high for a bit and then you crash. Because you never really thought it was true.

    But when you KNOW your strengths, you KNOW yourself, you KNOW you’re awesome and you’re just having a hard time remembering that… THEN other people can help most significantly. Because they remind you of what’s inside you. They remind you that if they’ve seen it too, you must have brought it into the world at some point. And you can do it again.

  39. marie says:

    Hi Havi

    Thank you for taking me down memory lane looking at it from a new and very empowering perspective.

    You are a wise woman and, I truly belive (no evidence necessary), an amazing coach.
    .-= marie´s last blog ..I have a dream – what is yours? =-.

  40. Megan says:

    Just found this one. And the non-cheesy ending is bringing non-cheesy tears to my eyes. Thank you, Havi. I like these words of yours.

  41. Hannah
    Twitter: Hannah_Savannah

    I just found this post back !

    I read it before and now it’s my happy post for the day.
    And so I wanted to write about that.

    The part that makes sense and resonates is that some people have been putting some ideas/inspiration/strength because they don’t understand it (with “some jealousy involved or some more general insecurity”).

    I recently noticed a lot of that around me.

    I have been becoming stronger and acting more on faith. Some of the reactions I see have been to question that strength. And it takes away my strength to be explaining myself. And so the strength dissipates and I wish I could protect it more.

    Here’s to the strength that doesn’t disappear when you are feeling down. Here’s to being absolutely fine the way you are. Here’s to taking whatever time you need.

  42. Sonia says:

    To Amy H:

    Thank you for this:

    “But wanting to do nothing is a totally normal response to being forced to do things that don’t jibe with you.”

  43. Eleanor
    Twitter: EleanorWragg

    I needed to read this right now. In fact, this is a post I come back to over and over again when I need to feel like someone just gives a fuck.

    Thanks for writing this, Havi. You have no idea how much your words help.

  44. pat says:

    Thank you for this post, Havi, and thank you to all the commenter mice, too!


    “All sorts of people were giving me the “you’re not living up to your potential” spiel, which (shockingly!) missed its intended motivational target and only resulted in me getting more depressed.”

    –was *me* to *myself* for far too many years.

    Maya, like some others here you described me all too well here: “I also always wondered why I had always been so intentionally secretive about my big projects in life ….it is cause the people in my life never believed in me … I have a LOT of people in my life who think they NEED to know what I am up to – only to discourage me ;)”

    Thanks for helping me diagnose my pattern, and finding a way to fix it!

  45. Cat says:

    Thank you so much for the reminder to think about the people who believed in me, even in the littlest of ways. I too have been subjected to adults in the generation before me that have spent a lot of time telling me what a pain in the ass life really is and how I’m blowing it or not growing up or doing the right things. It’s been traumatic to say the least and I still get it. This is the year I have grown good and sick of negative predictions and fears being pumped into me like a vial full of someone else’s cool aid trip they should have gotten off of a long time ago.

    I know some of these posts were written a few years ago and I never would have guessed that you had some of these complexes (for lack of a better term) as badly as I have them at times too.

    I remember the 9th grad college prep school English Lit. teacher who took an interest in my mind and told me to never be afraid of my feelings and sensitivities.

    I remember the waitress at the coffee shop my father always took me to on the way to school when I was 7 years old. For no reason at all, she had knitted me a cute pair of fuzzy slippers. At age 7, I had no idea that this waitress had seen something in me that compelled her to do that for me. My low self-esteem started a long time ago and the memory of the surprise at this unexpected gift brought me up just a little.

  46. sqwook says:

    Hi, trawling the archives for helpful stuff, and this was really helpful to me today, thank you<3

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