Yeah, me too. And I think you hit the nail as to why - it takes the pressure off.
It’s in the therapy, the Deserving Statements, and other parts of the audio where Dr. Richards says such seemingly paradoxical statements. It’s not like I came up with that approach, or the Fighting Paradox… But, for some reason, that’s always been a natural part of my self-talk repetition.
When I did the therapy, of course mostly I follow along with the statements provided in the series. And I realize more again, having just reviewed the series, how much of my self-talk is still directly from the handouts. In addition, I’d do daily rational self-talks, and those always include a lot of “I have the right to…” statements. For whatever reason, as I was saying these things, either in the therapy time, or just when jogging or exercising and doing my talk, I’d always include the flip of whatever the “right” is. I have the right to try my best / I have the right to do my worst.
It’s like the flip side of the phrase had an equal, sometimes more rational feeling to it.
I have the right to not know everything and to ask questions.
I have the right to be stupid.
I have the right to look embarrassed.
I have the right to blush.
I have the right to say stupid things during conversations.
I have the right not to look cool.
I have the right to bomb a joke.
I have the right to misunderstand someone.
I have the right not to know a famous person, an author (someone’s name that someone is telling me everyone knows). -This one really helps me because now instead of worrying or acting like I know things, I just say, “No, I don’t know.” Then it’s great because the person tells me what I don’t know.
I have the right to forget something.
I have the right to have a hard time figuring out a problem. (This helps me with procrastination)
I have the right to be quiet.
I have the right to be the opposite of the life of the party. (This helps me stick in social situations and not get all in a worry, and thus sooner or later I do fall into some conversation or social dynamic anyway)
In each case, it’s not like I’m shooting for doing poorly. But really, my mind is worried about living up to some expectations. You all know what I’m talking about here. This way of saying it really works for me. It hits on the fact that I allow all these rights for other people. I’m not caring if someone is quiet, if someone said a lousy joke, if someone blushes… and yet I might be all wrapped up in that for myself. I could say, I have the right to be calm. But, I guess it’s the paradox… saying it this way cuts to easing the pressure. I DO have the right to be calm, but then there’s that tiny expectation of focus on calm. Versus: I have the right to be super nervous. Just then… poof… it’s like it feels okay then no matter what happens.
I recently got back in touch with a buddy here. He plays in a band, quite a social guy. So, my first time seeing him in some years, he invited me to come down and hear his band play. It was great. I chatted with him before the show, him and his wife. Getting back in touch, just saying hi for a few minutes we had there. He’s a social guy, not lacking in confidence. But he’s human, like anyone. So he tells me, “Man, I’m really nervous about this gig.” I ask why, etc. He said he hadn’t played in so long, been busy with work, hadn’t picked up his guitar in too long. Also, the small venue was packed with all his friends, according to him - everyone in there was in some band, some local musician as well. So in his mind, it was like he was going to get up there and make mistakes not just in front of normal fans, but other musicians who knew mistakes when they hear them. So, the pressure was on, right.
I told him honestly, I’d be nervous as hell to get up on stage, but that’s another thing. I said, then why don’t you try not just making mistakes tonight, but deliberately making so many mistakes, like ENJOYING making the biggest failure of a show you ever could? The night is a wash, so nothing to lose and go out there and bomb huge! Every musician knows what it’s like to bomb or have an off night. You don’t judge others for that. So, instead of worrying about failing, go out there and fail huge.
He laughed. He’s not a guy with social anxiety or a mind that dwells on things. But again he’s human. He laughed. The moment before we were discussing his worries. The next, he laughed and all that dissapated, and we were onto talking about other things. Of course he didn’t “fail”. Just takes the pressure off. I thought they put on a fun show. From the looks of it, the crowd loved it, and the players seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Anyway, I think this is all in the therapy. Maybe we all just don’t do it enough. Or maybe we could just be reminded to do it more. Maybe we’re doing it as much as we can at that particular moment.