Category Archives: Metacognition

How would you like to be met?

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Mental health and psychological problems are still stigmatized, even if 50 % of us will quality for some disorder once in our lifetime. The stigma can be explained many ways. Sometimes, people don`t know enough about psychology, but even people who`ve read a lot, can have prejudices. I have prejudices and problems with understanding, too, but I try to be aware of it.

Have you heard stories about people with psychological issues who weren`t believed or felt ridiculed if they tried to explain what they felt? Unfortunately, I have, and it scares me more than anything. I might even have acted differently myself, because we show dislike or contempt in many ways (and you don`t always notice it yourself). When busy, I must confess that I have a tendency to not meet the eyes of a beggar, and I have stepped back when I`m approached by for example an alcoholic.

When I do, I remember to watch myself from above, and take a deep breath. Usually, it helps, and I have learnt so much that way.

To illustrate what I mean by prejudice, I`ve included some pretty explanatory pictures.

 

 
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Love As A State Of Being And Healing

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Love As A State Of Being And Healing

The philosophy of Dharma is a beautiful one; one that describes a grasp of Love for all beings, in whatever form they take in the world. That Love is not conditional, that it does not come with guarantees and that promise to pay is not a part of the Great Love. But Love can become a parody, as well. For instance, I Love Stephen and allways will, but I do not Love every one, but nor do I hate, nor would I wish upon anyone any harm or ill well, nor would I deny someone a hand should they ask. The reason being for that philosophy is that most people are not willing/able to accept Love, and it would be a kind of idiot compassion to project Great Love to someone who would reject or become scared by it, as you can place yourself in a vicious circle of victim consciousness (see videos below). To other people, I can become an instrument to be used and then discarded (as they view all other people).  It is possible to live amicably in the world without loving on all planes of consciousness in the world. It is possible to be kind without loving all of humanity. I do not love all of humanity, yet I do not hate them, because not all humans can accept Love or feel that they are deserving of Love. Would that humanity were different, that we could all be as Powder speaks, and yet, we (as a whole) are not. At least, not at this time.

San Francisco Sessions 2001 *Would I speak to someone who hated me, who wanted to harm me? No, that would be idiot compassion. Would I help someone who was only manipulating me? No, that would be idiot compassion. These are lessons that I have learnt. I do not hate humanity either. I used to. I used to be very misanthropic and self-deprecating, but I have let that go. There is no one to blame, in order to do so; I would have to blame us all. There is no great monster upon whose shoulders stones can be cast….so, hatred is not necessary. But neither can every one alive be trusted or Loved fully. Does that mean it is not possible to live fully in the world, no I do not think so. I think were I to make believe that everyone loves everyone totally and completely and unconditionally or that Love can be on all planes of consciousness/existence would make it so that I could not live fully in the world. Love to me, is like a deep friendship, a bond that cannot be broken save by those in the friendship. On this matter, I agree with Alan Watts and the others. I just do not punish those whom I do not love, because I do not think punishment is a very good learning tool. But I do think to love all of humanity in its current state is a parody of love.

It is possible to engage and to achieve Dharma without that kind of depth of Love for all of humankind, because understanding, honoring, and accepting are a great part of living fully. It is possible to be kind without it being known to the party receiving that kindness, it is possible to be kind without love. Kindness comes from understanding/ comprehension/perception as well

freedLiberation will come, but will it come from Love? I do not know. Liberation arises out of kindness, empathy, sympathy, compassion, understanding, comprehension, acceptance, help, generosity, example, sharing, caring, etc. as well as a Love (on a higher plane of consciousness). This is what I have learnt, what I see in the world. I hope humans one day in some time will be All Love. I hope I am around in some form to witness. In the meantime, I ride the wave and see what I can see, and explore, and embark upon adventures, and find pleasure in finding these things out…following scents on the wind.

Yes, I am speaking of Love in its profound sense, rather than its sentimental/emotional sense. Love can be expressed emotionally, yes, but I do not see it as an emotion. I see Love as a state of being, same as many of the states of being usually attributed to “mere” emotion. I see emotions as much more complex than feeling sad or angry (the idea that sadness is expressed with tears or that anger is expressed with loud voices). Emotions are far more subtle, and are included in the state of being known as Love. I think it is why sometimes when we are happy we may cry, or we can be extremely calm and quiet when we are angry, or we can be even more kind when we hate. Emotions are not so black and white. So, I speak of Love from the state of being (the profound sense). In this way, although it is a parody of Love to speak to all people we encounter with Love (i.e., would you tell the person you just met in the café and had a wonderful conversation that you love them? Yet you may do this to the person with whom you are most intimate, your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/significant other, yes? You would not hesitate to spontaneously say to that person “I Love you” should they do something that you find yourself suddenly filled with the compulsion to say so? But you would not do this with the “stranger” seated next to you, even though they may do something as profound? This is what I mean in the difference between love as a parody and Love on a different plane). So, it is possible to have the heart open all the time (or as much as possible) to have Love, and yet, not project in this realm, where it is parodied.

the golden dream*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“freed” by new 1lluminati
“San Francisco Sessions 2001 *” by Wolfgang Sterneck
“the golden dream” by AlicePopkorn

 

How Buddhist Rituals Helped My OCD

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Our society likes to portray obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as a cute quirk, a goofy, if irritating, eccentricity. It is not. For the person undergoing OCD experience, it is a form of mental terrorism.

This terrorism takes the form of what psychologists call ‘intrusive thoughts’ — unwanted, painful thoughts or images that invade one’s consciousness, triggering profound fear and anxiety. This is the ‘obsessive’ part of OCD, and it can arise in even the most mundane circumstances. Sitting here typing, for example, I sometimes feel modest pain in my fingers, and my mind kicks into gear: You’re typing too much and causing permanent damage to your hands. Feel those little irritations at the second knuckle of your left ring finger? Those are the harbingers of arthritis. This is how it starts.

read the rest of the article by Matt Bieber here at Aeon.

Game Theory in Society: Playing Not To Lose

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Game Theory in Society: Playing Not To Lose

When you are 16 there is no fear whatsoever. As you get older you play in more important games and that is when you start thinking about what will happen if you win or lose. ~Wayne Rooney

Current educational systems within society work to divorce the child from his or her natural will, whether that is curiosity or wonder or innocence. An educational system structured on nurturing and nourishing these aspects of humanity work to reunite humans with their connection to nature, animals and their mammal-ness. To become again a human being, rather than a “cog in the wheel” or “gear in the machine” felt by many in current society, and what was beget by the likes of John B. Watson, Frederick Taylor, Ayn Rand and Edward Bernays.

Chess PawnThe educational system does not seem to be interested in providing paths inviting introspection or comprehension of theory of mind or even learning as a means to understanding. Education seems to have only a vested interest in preservation of funding, rote and memorization, grade fulfillment, bicameral thinking (linear grade promotion, success or failure, pass or fail, etc), homogeneous conditioning, etc. Frankly, this does not work and merely churns out workers, rather than evolving society/humanity as a whole. I mean, with current access of technology, shouldn’t this system be a lot farther along; instead, today’s educational system, for the most part, works against technology, rather than with it (however, this is slowly changing).

The educational system is but one part of the systematic deconstruction of human will, therefore, it becomes naturally normal humans will treat one another with impunity come what may and never change because such level of rudeness and offense is now hardwired into the human brain (socialization). Can this be changed? Even if an educational system built upon nourishing and nurturing, self-efficacy rather than self-esteem, ultimately, the change lies in the receiver of the tool (in the student), but that the instruments exist in the first place, that they are available to be utilized freely is an element of that change. In this way, the means to evolve can pass into legacy, can pass into the collective consciousness, if you will, available to any found wanting. Today’s child, even if he or she takes but a little from such teaching, may trigger a subtle reverberation within that causes him or her to behave differently in an otherwise routine circumstance. In this way, the “gene” can be inherited, and then improved in the next generation.

Playing Not To Lose

Fan FlourishToday’s systemic educational system supports and reinforces human suffering (for the supposed greater good, and that greater good is really the continued protection of what has become an extremely insecure society). You see, it is a form of game theory. We are playing not for profit, or even to win, but not to lose. Not to lose is a third option, that is to say, not an opposite of winning. But a third option, along with winning and losing. To play not to lose, is to risk the possibility of winning and to avoid any chance at all of losing. Applied to society, we have become comfortable in not losing anything, which seems like a better alternative. This is an illusion. To play not to lose would beget suffering, as one becomes so intent on making sure the status quo remains intact that any opportunity to change one’s station in life (however that may be) is discarded due to fear that one may lose everything one has “worked so hard,” up until now, to possess (which of course would be measured in the value placed in things, or the value placed in being allowed privilege of access to things, i.e., money. That is money as social institution, rather than a utility). This can make us bitter, and leads to suffering, fighting, and acts of violence, etc. How to stop this kind of behavior? How to end human suffering? At least, breed it out? Realization, or a precursor, the means to embark upon a journey to realization. Social systems (the forefront, to be honest, for human conditioning—conditioning not in the indoctrination sense, but in the sense of humanity, the natural state of human being-ness) would have to reflect that kind of philosophy.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on NIKOtheOrb as “Education In An Insecure Society”]

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Chess Pawn” by Doug Wheller
“Fan Flourish” by Marcelo Duarte
“Dice” by Daniel Dionne

 

Time To Pretend

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“All the great empires of the future will be empires of the mind.” ~Winston Churchill

Digital Art by Jeanne MasarWhat I mean by hard-wiring caused by years and generations of socialization is that genetically humans are now predisposed to suffering. Suffering, in the social environment, has become normalized, and anyone who should deviate too far from this standard is considered “crazy” or abnormal.

Now, before I continue, let us come to an agreement about what constitutes suffering? Not a definition of suffering but what can be called suffering in the human condition (as we exist in a societal environment). In what form does suffering come? Suffering can be called an intangible state of being, that is, one’s being exists in a state of suffering. Suffering, once had a definite and easily determined cause, i.e., racism (but let us not veer off into efforts of indoctrination or further observations at this movement through sociology’s eyes just yet), womanizing, immigration (and by immigration, I mean, in the early days of Europeans arriving in America and their efforts at rising out of poverty), etc. [NOTE: I purposefully chose social movements, that is large acts of deliberate oppression enacted upon other groups of humans by other humans within a society. I could not go to an indigenous culture for several reasons, but mainly, because I don’t consider myself well-versed enough in indigenous culture to do so and I think much of human suffering that we are talking about stems from western culture and western society constructs. Further note: I am looking at human suffering solely from an anthropological perspective]. Okay, these kinds of mass suffering no longer effects western society as deeply, save only in a mass destructive way, i.e. Hurricane Sandy or 9/11, and human suffering suddenly comes to the forefront.

Sociology says that natural disasters are usually the times in which human beings will come together and forget about all the differences that the day before loomed so important as to cause neighbor to fight with neighbor and realize that “We are all human beings” that we bleed the same blood, etc. etc. Well, why is that? Why is it that humans only understand suffering following a natural disaster (there is a whole other element about this that disturbs me when I think upon it. In what I have been reading of late (anthropology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, which are naturally intermarried and naturally lead to consciousness) it seems as if humans do not unite because suddenly they caught a glimpse of what is really important, but out of fear and a unity in loss. Everybody understands loss)? It is as if humans require a disaster, some cataclysmic event, in order to set aside our petty differences. I think this is part of the reason why these unified acts of kindness are only temporary. Once enough time has passed, or that the event is forgotten or that some other kind of remedy has occurred, that time of bonding falls away, and we return to our “normally” suffering selves. This is a fundamental problem, I think.

I reason that there must be some deeper cause for humans’ [current] inability to understand human suffering or the suffering of others. I mean, if you believe in Kohlberg’s scale of Moral Development, there is more than one dimension, more than one scale of existence, and some humans exist on different scales. We are not all equal, in other words. Now, here is an element of reality that some are reluctant to discuss or even entertain the notion that it is true. We are not all equal. Equality can only be an extrinsic quality offered to humans in society; meaning, equal protection from police, equal representation in court, equal opportunity at law, you know, this kind of philosophy. However, it is not true biologically, psychologically, physiologically, culturally, or genetically, you know? I think we don’t fully understand this, as humans. There is a distinction in some things. It is only so on a certain level. It’s like humans try to create a unified theory of everything in everything. This would create a homogenous existence, what could be learnt from this? What use is a homogenous existence? That would be like playing the game not to lose. Risk is not necessarily a negating property, nor is chance, and I think that playing the game not to lose is to surrender risk and chance.

But, don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that there is potential and probability that the world can be different. I think fear is a powerful obstacle. But, this too, will end. As in chaos theory and entropy, randomness slows down to order, and order slowly breaks down [entropy] and then transforms to something else, some other unrecognized pattern (what we then call chaos). We, as a race of humans, are learning that the once archetypal ways of living are outdated and obsolete. We are realizing that the acts we have and are committing upon ourselves, upon our consciences, upon our environment, upon the planet; we are now comprehending that every act has an equal and [sometimes] opposite reaction. We are learning to love what we are and then live that way. The times are changing and the time to pretend ends like a clock slowly winding down until it stops on high noon.

*Digital Art by Jeanne Masar.

Complex States At Being

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Emotions can be incredibly complex states of being/mind.

I just want to be happyPeople (particularly in this western culture) are afraid to experience emotion due to heavy amounts of socialization and conditioning, especially in school. You know, we’re taught to sit still, to be quiet, to “use our inside voices”, to line up, to avoid disorder and be orderly, to obey, to submit, to share. To share, but not to cooperate. There is a difference. Sharing does not necessarily imply or guarantee cooperation. In school, sharing is a behavioral technique; used as a means to control the behavior of a room full of pinging (that is, naturally rambunctious and curious-minded) short beings.

Let me tell you a story: a sad story about a little girl who cried.

cry, baby, cryTo get to City Island one can walk across a 2,800 foot long truss bridge, which was exactly what I was doing when I spotted a brief exchange between a little girl and her father. The little girl’s father, pushing another child in a stroller, told the little girl to look around as well as look at all the fish visible in the River below. The little girl was throwing bread over the side of the bridge to the fish, and seemed very happy.

Later, having crossed the bridge, I was sat under a pavilion and saw the little girl and her family again as they were passing by. The little girl tripped over a rise in the structure of the sidewalk and fell very hard. So hard that I winced when I heard the sound. She immediately bawled, as I’m sure that hurt her terribly. Probably terrified at the pain, you know, she ran to her father for solace. . . and he admonished her. He yelled at her as he brushed the dirt from her clothes, “You gotta watch where you’re walking. You can’t be looking around while you’re walking!” He seemed actually angry with her that she tripped, an accident on her part, no intent to spoil his day whatsoever. She only cried harder asking then for her mommy. At this, her father really became angry and shouted, “That’s it! You’re going back to the car you can’t act right!”

Did you see the contradiction?

Just moments ago, on the bridge he was telling her to LOOK around, then minutes later punished her for doing exactly that. These are the kinds of happenings that disturb me in the world. What did that do to the mind of that little girl? How could she possible understand that kind of contradicting information from such a trusted and authoritative figure as her father? What was the impact upon her consciousness? What did she just unconsciously learn? How did that affect her ego? Her sense of self in the world she knows and how will that affect her sense of self in subsequent years?

Which brings me back to emotions and the horrors some humans have undergone. That suffering. What I think not many humans grok is that suffering can be soft, horror is not always large, it can be very subtle. . . like entropy, changing and developing small vibrations over time that then result in the current personality/identity of that child in the form of an adult.

The Girl Who Cried WolfWhat happened to that little girl is a subtle terror, an event that will accompany who knows how many more and will shape her as a human being. It’s systematic, to get children all to sit still or to behave as one being so it could be easier (or more efficient) for the teacher to educate them. A good idea, sure, but in actuality what happens is that the children become standardized. The spark, the inspiration for creativity and innovation and imagination breaks down because the channels created have no room for them, no means to categorize something as unpredictable as a room full of children all having ideas simultaneously.

This is one way that fear of emotion is installed in the collective consciousness. That fear to really let go and be fully in the space. . .

“. . . and I’m free, free falling.” ~Tom Petty, ‘Free Falling’

*Image credits (used with permission through CC license)–
“I just want to be happy” by bravelittlebird
“cry, baby, cry” by Barbara Pellizzon
“The Girl Who Cried Wolf” by GaelForce Photography

Humanity is but a scale. . .

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Humanity is but a scale. . .

It is this hard wiring that must be reprogrammed, not so much in individual persons, but in the DNA of humanity itself. The gene must be turned back on. Like reversing the damage done by centuries of the civilized life, well, reversing it without returning to the original point, so a new point to begin evolving. In the civilized life, we forget that we are animals and start believing that we are superior. We start believing that the abilities of mental acuity makes us formidable and beyond reproach. We start thinking it makes us immortal. Although, we can possess mental acuity and we are (as energy) immortal, we are not as humans immortal, we are not untouchable, we are not an ALL KNOWING BEING. Humanity is but a scale, a dimension of existence, a level of magnification. As is consciousness.

There are such apprehensions as infinite finitudes and finite infinities. There is limited unlimits and unlimited limits. It’s more like a spiral, and by spiral, that is to say a gradient (or levels of degrees). A growing, an expansion….not some vertical all powerful CEO. Nature knows this, the Earth knows this. Take, for instance, a spider building its web above the rapids. To put what the spider did into human terminology, he will yield the most return because he built an efficient economy. Bugs gather above the water because it is a source of food for them as well, some will inevitability be trapped in the web. Spiders build webs all over sporadically it seems. But that’s on one level of magnification. There is an intelligence here, it could be on the quantum level or on the macro level [that is should we say if the earth is conscious] which protrudes from motion as a spider that builds a web above the water. The spider knows. And humans are a scale of knowing, a way of explaining the world.

And this deep knowledge (by deep, I allude to volume of Time) is projected as instinct and awareness.

“My rule is, when you are unhappy, think about it. But when you’re happy, don’t. Why spoil it? You’re probably happy for some ridiculous reason and you’d just spoil it to know it.” ~Richard Feynman

Quantum Consciousness

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Consciousness could occur at the fundamental level of spacetime geometry when the brain stops being perfused. It doesn’t dissipate but remains together by entanglement. So an individual’s personality, consciousness, memory, soul if you will, could be entangled in a quantum sense and persist as fluctuations in the time scale of the universe. ~Dr. Stuart Hameroff

 

[A]sk the question is consciousness a continuum or is it a sequence of discrete events? I think there’s a lot of evidence that consciousness is a sequence of discrete events. It appears continuous but just like if we see a movie or a video it appears continuous but it’s actually a sequence of discrete frames. I think consciousness is also a sequence of discrete frames. ~Dr. Stuart Hameroff

What do you think? And how do you think this effects psychology, psychiatry/psychotherapy and mental health?

 

The Spirit Of Chaos

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The Spirit Of Chaos

“Take one of those individual threads in the fiber that seems to be so chaotic and go into the constitution of that, and again you will find fantastic order, you’ll find the most gorgeous designs of molecules.” ~Alan Watts, The Web of Life

Why is it that we think we must depend upon our brains to lead us through life?

CosmicFace_by_Exper_flickrIt is not the brain that experiences (the brain is more like a recording apparatus) but our minds, our consciousness experiences and perceives and conceives our environment (environment here does not necessarily exclude an urban or suburban environment). Since our minds experience, by what process do we undertake this experimental existence? Intuition. We feel, we sense what surrounds us, because we ARE our environment.

Multiplier_by_Exper_flickrIntuition is that part of us, as conscious beings, that processes those constant changes within our environment, which can be aware of those incalculable factors. What’s more can interpret, assess, and comprehend those factors, like a kind of calculation (albeit, one that does not involve counting). Intuition can do this faster than the mind can think, and even more rapid than logic can compute. Why then should we depend upon the brain and its logic? Why should we use it, rather than or as substitute for intuition? Logic is limited, therefore, finite. More, it is flawed, because it can only compute either/or, it cannot perceive a dynamo of information (i.e., factors and variables) simultaneously, all extending from separate directions, chaotic stillness. Logic, that is to say linear systems, regulates an environment, and in that regulation transforms that environment into a static environment, the reduction of infinity to the finite. Our intuition, on the other hand, embraces chaos and randomness without fear of punishment or failure, because our intuition knows that in chaos there is order. The brain and its logic attempts to order chaos. So, we as intuitive beings choose life and health, imagination, our wild nature, exploration, and experience to be more alive, to evolve. For this, we as intuitive beings are uncontrollable, incorrigible, impossible to regulate, and non-linear. If intuition is the spirit of chaos, then life be the canvas.

SoulWise_by_Exper_flickrThrough an intuitive, fully open, wide-eyed, sensual and honest experience of existence, it is possible to transcend hopelessness, pessimism, disbelief, etc. by living in the moment and accepting things as they come. To really enjoy living and look at life as an adventure, we open our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits to our natural intuitive state of being. In this way, we can enjoy every moment of discovery in the world…and we can become like children on a playground. Now, this does not imply that we possess knowledge, intelligence or wisdom to be absolutely sure about anything, however, it does mean that we are free to change our minds quite often, because the more things we experience, the more our perception changes, and the more we grow and evolve as human beings.

persistenceofcatabolizingsublimations_by_JoelEvelynFrancois_flickrWe are not meant to be miserable beings…we are meant to be vibrant, fully open, playful, sensual, universal beings. We are more than we can become, because each of us is a fractal of light…and we are all connected.

“Light, here, means awareness  to be aware of life, of experience as it is at this moment, without any judgement or ideas about it. In other words, you have to see and feel what you are experiencing as it is. And not as it is named. This very simple “opening of the eyes” brings about the most extraordinary transformation of understanding and living, and shows that many of our most baffling problems are pure illusion.” ~Alan Watts

Thebigbang_by_CarlJones_flickr*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“temple of peace” by AlicePopkorn
“Cosmic Face”, “Multiplier”,&  “Soul-Wise” by Exper Giovanni Rubaltelli
“persistence of catabolizing sublimations . .” by Joel, Evelyn, Francois, . .
“The big bang” by Carl Jones

Thinking About Shyness

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I was a painfully shy kid. One of the earliest examples I can give comes from a kinder experience. We were rehearsing for a Christmas play for the first time and I was allocated to the red group. There was a frog, fairy, yellow and red group. I, of course, wanted to be a fairy being the girly-girl I am but plain, boring red it was for me; at least it was better than yellow, which is my least favourite colour.

The second time we rehearsed the play, my teacher asked me if I was in the red or yellow group. I didn’t say anything because of my shyness; I rarely spoke up to people who weren’t my family. I knew full well that I was in the red group and that I wanted to be in the red group, but I feigned that I didn’t remember and the teacher put me in the yellow group. I wasn’t very happy about this but this just shows the level of shyness I had as a kid. I didn’t speak up when I knew the answer to a question, and I didn’t even speak up when it would mean I’d get something I wanted.

It’s a common symptom of not speaking up: not getting what you want. When I ask people what they want, it frustrates me when they’re all polite and won’t say what they really want. If I ask what you want, I really want to know what you want. But I can’t blame them when I still fall into silence at times and don’t let people know what I really want.

I’m a lot better at speaking up for myself as an adult, and I think part of the reason is because I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a person who won’t speak up. You feel for the person but at the same time you almost want to shake them to make them speak up; you want them to speak up for their own good. Seriously, so much self-torture can be avoided if you just speak up.

If it matters to you, speak up. If someone is asking because they care about you, they will want to know your answer and do what they can to help you get what you want.

Perhaps the best example of my shyness as a kid comes from my visits to the milk bar down the street with my dad. Tony, the milk bar owner was a friendly guy and he’d say hello to us. Dad would always tell me to say hello to him but I never did; I was too shy to open my mouth. It would always frustrate my dad and one day he was so angry about it that he said I couldn’t have the packet of jelly beans he’d bought me at the milk bar until I said the word hello.

Now, any normal kid would just say hello but not me. I went to bed that night stressing over how I would get those jelly beans. I resolved that the next morning I’d say hello by simply saying it to dad when I saw him as though it wasn’t a calculated plan but a simple greeting.

So the next morning I put my plan into action except it didn’t work. I couldn’t bring myself to say the word hello and I ended up yelling “Hi.” I made up for my lack of hello by yelling hi to each family member and finishing with a, “Hi everyone!” They must have all thought I was nuts. I did!

Eventually, dad just told me to say hello and he’d give me the jelly beans, and so I grudgingly said hello and got my prize.

Now when I think back on this, I wonder why I was so shy. Was it actually shyness? Because I knew in my head there was nothing wrong with saying hello or speaking up in general. What I hated, though, was what my family would think of me if I spoke up. I don’t get it. They thought poorly of me when I didn’t speak up and I knew they’d think better of me if I did speak up; so why did I never speak up? What was my problem?

I’m still not sure to this day, and there are occasions even now when I won’t speak up for fear of what people will think of me. And in these types of situations, I’m never worried what the person receiving my words will think; it’s the people watching me, expecting me to say something, that has me worried. I didn’t care what Tony thought; I cared what my dad thought. But what am I afraid of? That they’ll think I’m a well-spoken person? That I’m normal and speak just like anyone else does? It doesn’t make sense, does it?

One of the areas I struggled in besides saying hello and good-bye to people was being served at a restaurant. If I sat with my family, I would always feel so uncomfortable when the waiter asked for our orders and gave us our food and drinks. I could never say, “Thank-you.” Mum would tell me it’s polite to say thank-you and expect me to say it. I rarely did and the times I did, it was so very awkward and I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out.

Now why was that so hard for me to do for years? I’m very conscious of it even now when I go to a restaurant. I always say thank-you now and can do it with friends easily, but when I’m with family, it still feels awkward. It’s like all I can think about is what my family is thinking of me. They’re probably not even giving it a second thought since who makes a point of noticing when someone says thank-you to a waiter? But for me, I am incredibly conscious of it.

This is one area I don’t quite understand about myself. It doesn’t seem logical at all. I’d love to know an explanation for my strange thoughts and behaviour. All I can work out is that it has something to do with the expectation. If my family didn’t expect me to say hello, good-bye and thank-you, maybe I would have just done it because there was nothing attached to it, no pressure.

I’m not sure if this fully explains it, though, because usually I live up to expectations. Usually I’m so busy trying to find out what’s expected of me so I know how to behave and if I get no cues, I feel lost. So why then did I not live up to expectations in the case of hello’s, good-byes and thank-you’s? Why did I struggle with it so much?