My Journey Has Brought Me HereFeb 19, 2023
When I was a kid, being in school was painful. I didn’t know why. When the recess bell would ring, I’d watch all the other kids run outside and grab gear. I’d wait till they were all settled, then go outside myself and see if there was a 4-square game that needed a 4th. If there wasn’t, I’d just sit down and wait. My parents told people that I was shy. No one knew why, not even me. When I heard the term “painfully shy,” that seemed accurate.
I had one awkward friendship in 7th grade, one briefly in 9th, and then started to hang around the periphery of other kids in the honors classes in 10th grade. We started socializing outside of school in 11th and some girls joined us in 12th. Life got better. Silicon valley sdf
The first two years of college were awkward, but the next were good when I transferred to Stanford. My roommate became my best friend for life. I still froze up when I met strangers, but people were nice and things worked out. I knew something wasn’t right, but I managed. After a few years I graduated and started working.
When I was 28, I took a course called The Landmark Forum. It teaches that we create, or take from what we hear, the contexts through which we view life. Plus it has exercises in which we discover how we put ourselves together, especially as children.
I saw that I had created, as a little kid, that I wasn’t wanted. I was deeply ashamed of it, so I pushed it into my subconscious. I saw that as a kid, I unconsciously avoided situations that had any chance of ending in rejection.
It turns out it’s difficult to have two conflicting beliefs about something. By understanding the cause consciously as a mistaken childhood decision, it weakened its existence as an unconscious, shameful truth. I practiced noticing when feelings of shyness arose, and practiced seeing them as results of the childhood mistake. It became easier and easier to talk to people.
I loved Landmark’s courses, and had breakthrough after breakthrough. In one, I discovered that while I could now talk with people, I still had a habit of feeling alone. Even when I was with a girlfriend! I saw it prevented me from getting married. What person would marry if, in a relationship, they felt alone? And, how frustrating it must have been for girlfriends! So I practiced noticing that feeling, too, and letting it also be a mistake.
I also began to practice feeling connected. I’d spend just ten to fifteen minutes a day. First I’d think about what it meant to be connected and what that might feel like. Then I’d get in touch with those feelings. I often would imagine specific people that I knew well and practice feeling connected to them. Sometimes I’d think of people I didn’t know well. I also would practice it in public, just feeling connected to people I’d pass.
When I did all that, I never imagined I’d one day try to actually connect with thousands of people. Now, working to bring PeopleCount’s new possibility for politics to the country, I am. On the one hand, I’m no longer uncomfortable about connecting. On the other, communicating to the public is a whole new challenge. Your support means the world to me.
Please, get to know PeopleCount. It’s about making politicians accountable to us by giving us easy, natural access to the communication accountability requires. In the process, some of our political problems will be fixed. Others will be lessened. And we’ll be able to hold our representatives accountable for fixing others.
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