Friday, 30 January 2015

January / February

January: Did I Panic? 

January is almost over so I thought I'd review my January goal and set a new one for February while I'm at it. My aim in January was 'Don't Panic' which I took one day at a time and I'm happy to report that I suceeded! The first issue of which I was 'acting editor' went to print on time with relatively little hassle. Stage one of the next issue is already almost complete so things are going well! There was only one day when I panicked a little and let everything get to me but that was a combination of work and anxiety about other areas of my life. I think one day out of 31 is pretty good! 

February: Somebody Else's Problem Field
“The Somebody Else's Problem field is much simpler and more effective, and what's more can be run for over a hundred years on a single torch battery. This is because it relies on people's natural disposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain.”
-Life, the Universe and Everything, Douglas Adams
What I learned from the one thing that did make me panic is that I am prone to worrying not only about my own situation but also about those of everyone around me. When, for example, I forwarded a job opportunity to a friend I started to worry about how she would get from her current location to London for the interivew, where she would stay, whether she would be able to afford the train fare on short notice. Another friend is moving to London later this year and I found myself worrying where he would live, what job he would get, etc.

I've always done this. I worry when my flatmate isn't home when I expect her to be. Not because I believe she's incapable of looking after herself but because... that's how I show I care. Worrying = caring. Realising this reminded me of something I'd read: 
"In a narcissistic family the responsiblity for the meeting of emotional needs becomes skewed — instead of resting with the parents, the responsiblity shifts to the child. The child becomes inappropriately responsibly for meeting parental needs and in so doing is deprived of opportunities for necessary experimentation and growth."
-The Narcissistic Family, Stephane Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M Pressman
As with much of the content of that particular book, this rings true for me. And is it any wonder that if I grew up always watching out for what my parents needed from me, always worrying about making sure they were all right in order to get love and apporval that I should continue to do so for my friends? 

However, it's no longer helpful - at least not to the extreme I take it to. And so, though I worry that it will sound 'selfish', my resolution for February is to notice when things are not my problem and to stop worrying about them. Or, to stick with the Douglas Adams theme, to construct a 'Somebody Else's Problem Field' around things that I do not need to be worrying about in the hopes that I will stop notice and thus they will stop making me anxious. 

This isn't to say, of course, that I'll stop caring about my friends or stop trying to be considerate of their needs and emotions. Just that I'll try to bring it down to some kind of acceptable level where it isn't getting in the way of my own life.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea! So true. People can always ask you for help or advice, it's definitely not selfish!


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