Thinking Inspired by We Are All Perfectly Fine

I posted not too long ago about not sharing the books I’ve read.  But when a book inspires deeper self-discovery, I have often summarized the thinking it inspired.  This post covers some of the thinking inspired by Jillian Horton’s memoir We Are All Perfectly Fine.

I don’t often read memoirs, preferring my books to be more in the lighter, escapism genres.  In the past year, I have also stopped reading many of the self-discovery or self-improvement books, although there is a pile of them on my to-be-read shelf!  But books club’s and friend’s recommendations have definitely pushed me into new genres and this memoir was one of them.

While the memoir was not written about retirement transition, so many of the insights she presented in her mindfulness journey reflected my own learning in my retirement journey.

The most powerful question in the book for me was, “What is the first step, the step I don’t want to take?”  This is such a great retirement transition question.   It encourages thinking, what am I afraid to do or what am I procrastinating? I have personally done many of the things I envisioned in retirement, but there are many things on my Possibilities List that I still hesitate about.  Why am I not taking the first step to makes those things happen?

Another question was, “When do I feel resonance?”  I just love that term. I wrote about Flow Versus a Rabbit Hole (link here), but resonance is such a better way to talk about it.   I felt that internal resonance hum learning about Enneagram, taking classes in Positive Psychology, even writing my book.   Synthesizing things and finding frameworks usually does it.  So how do I return to this positive space more often?

Horton points out we grow up thinking the family life we lead is “normal”, no matter what the dysfunction in it is.   I related to her childhood insight on how “my own feelings had to be carefully managed, contained” as I believed my own role in the family was the peacekeeper.  And then to rethink about things “we hear as children that we believe our entire lives”.  This insight reminded me to continue to deeply understand my own self-limiting beliefs.   Also, as a child, her insight that “the differences between me and others raised suspicion on a subliminal level, that there was something I felt the need to apologize for, one more way in which I wasn’t good enough to belong to anyone or anything” which reflects my own long-term challenge with feeling like I don’t belong.  And in every Compare & Despair feeling “less than”. The thought patterns of years are so hard to break.

Another insight, especially true for anyone in retirement transition was the fact that work was a place where people around you spoke your language – they understood your words, your rituals, your ways of doing things.  It was easy being in that place.  I still miss people who speak my language!

Horton also points out in the book that things are different now: Tweets and Instagrams and virtual everything, multi-tasking with podcasts and audio books, side hustles, and the belief that every person has a “valid voice” on social media.  Sad, but true.

I was reminded reading the book that it has actually been proven that we see/hear things we expect to see/hear!  This is a huge challenge for me. So, what if I could let go of expectations?

And finally I came away with the realization that I am the primary controller of how I am living my life now. Being aware of my thought patterns, my conditioned responses, and the expectations I hear. Change starts with practicing new thoughts and new responses.  It’s a different way to think about mindfulness.

Have you read anything lately that inspired you?

Picture Credit: Me – a sunrise this week.

13 thoughts on “Thinking Inspired by We Are All Perfectly Fine

  1. I often use busyness as an excuse for not doing the things I would probably really enjoy doing if I would just do them!! There’s always a load of laundry or something to iron, a toilet to clean, dinner to fix. So I do all of that instead of writing, reading, crafting. Or have done all of that until recently. Seems I have turned a corner lately and I hope I don’t turn back again. That big first question doesn’t mince words…what is the first step I don’t want to take…I am running from…I am avoiding…procrastinating about. And even more importantly, WHY? Why am I cleaning toilets instead of reading? Why am I afraid to start writing on my children’s book again?

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    1. Just yesterday I wrote in my morning journal “what’s your excuse this time?” for not doing something I really enjoy doing, once I get started doing it! Okay it was two things. And there was another one today. Really. Ugh. Please let me know if you figure out your “why” as it might help me figure out mine!

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  2. Those questions are pertinent at any time I think. I’d gotten into a fug with the day job & had an opportunity to retire from it but at the cost of other lifestyle considerations. I’ve realised that I’m not ready & if I want to be ready I need to do some things to market my author career that I find uncomfortable & that I’m using as an excuse right now. We have more control than we think we do.

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  3. It sounds like a good book, Pat. I appreciate you sharing what you took away from it. Learning to look at our automatic thoughts and our perceptions with as much objectivity as we can muster is always an interesting exercise. I’ve started…then not finished…a couple of self-discovery/improvement books recently. That’s unusual for me not to finish a book once I start it. I guess I’m not in the right space for it right now, or I found a couple of books that weren’t right for me.

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    1. Christie, I’ve started and not finished a few myself … also unlike me. It was one of the reasons I stopped reading them. Like you pointed out, it was not the right time/space. But this one inspired me to start looking at more of my learning books versus just escapism. I’ll see if they inspire blog posts at all…or just interesting things to learn about.

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  4. You recommended that book and I really enjoyed it. It opened up so many thought provoking ideas for me. Delving into “what is that first step, the one you’re afraid to take” is awesome. And looking at what messages from my past that I bring to every situation really helps me decide what is truth and what is my past that is tainting my thinking.
    I totally agree with you that it can be difficult to find others who (grammar check-who/whom?) speak and think like I do.
    Thanks for the recommendation, loved the book, I will be recommending it to others. And loved this blog!

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    1. Candyse, I’m so glad you liked it. I’m heading to book club to talk it with a larger group and since I recommended it, am hoping most also liked it. I’ve come back to the messages a number of times this week as I focus on crafting a “plan for fall”. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a book I come back to.

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  5. Keep Movimg by Maggie Smith.
    Some
    Pages are inspiring quotes and then a few pages of essay type writing. Good book to have sitting around and pick up when need encouragement to Keep Moving.

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  6. Keep Movimg by Maggie Smith.
    Some
    Pages are inspiring quotes and then a few pages of essay type writing. Good book to have sitting around and pick up when need encouragement to Keep Moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Pat – I love the word “resonance” – might be a good #WOTY? I’ve just read “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” Hated his need to swear all the way through it (I wanted to use Find/Replace and get rid of it all!) but I liked what he was getting at. Basically a lot of it was the same as what you’ve just written – and about drilling down to our values and focusing our energy in those areas – rather than being pummelled by old beliefs, or outside annoyances. I like the idea of discarding the dross and not being impacted by it anymore.

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    1. Leanne, I read that book a while back but don’t recall it hitting me as hard as this one. I think I need to hear these messages repeatedly! And in different voices. I’m getting better at many of the things I want (self-limiting belief awareness, hearing expectations that are not there, trying to be and not always do, etc.) and reminders are helpful for the journey.

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