Tag Archives: self-satisfaction

30 Days of Jung — Day 24: #Self-Acceptance #Esteem #Value #Worth


This makes me laugh. Yesterday’s quote was about our inability to change something until we accept it. Today’s is about the terror one feels when accepting oneself completely. Knowing me, I’m going to try to tie it all together and make fun of Jung at the same time. ‘Cause he’s dead and he can’t fight back. 

Welcome to Day 24 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.

If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.

Here is today’s:

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
― C.G. Jung

Ya wanna know something really hilarious? I screwed this up royally when I read the quote the first time. I mentally replaced “accept” with “love” and I was off to the races quoting Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, and going all wedding “love is patient, love is kind” on us all and about 3/4 through I was stuck. I got to writing about my mom, how she’s aging and how it’s been hard; I felt she never really loved herself and then I wrote about unconditional love and I got sick of it all and so I looked at the quote again and saw accept and I picked up my laptop and hurled it across my backyard, pulled a shotgun from my sleeve and made like I was skeet shooting. I blew my MacBook Pro to “smithereenies” as Yosemite Sam would say.

Then I reached into my silk pajama pockets, pulled out another laptop and started this post. Just like they do on Looney Toons. Y’know how time flies on Looney Toons (I’ve written about this before) when Bugs Bunny orders something and puts the order envelope in the mailbox and a second or two later a truck from Acme Earmuffs screeches up and the driver yells, “Daaah, package for Bugs Bunny!”? That’s how it is with me and my laptops.

So I’m back on my laptop. Let’s stop the count at 1400. I’ve taken up enough of your time.


I’m 45 now. I’m nothing like I used to be about myself even five years ago. I was relentless on myself, physically demanding and constantly self-critical. That’s what kept me feeling alive; that’s what kept the engines running chaos flowing. I admit, that my kinder, gentler opinion of myself is easier on the knees and lower back, but I believe for me anyhow that the most terrifying thing would be for me to be completely complacent with myself and never want to be fitter, healthier, smarter, kinder, gentler again. I just don’t think I’m genetically engineered that way. I always see room for improvement, but I don’t mean that in a critical way, I mean it as a term of growth, of wholeheartedness.

I realize that there are thresholds, that we have age categories now for athletic events: masters, seniors… dead. But, I really think that for me, to be completely accepting of myself would be a mistake; it’s not terrifying to me to consider it. It just feels too close to giving up.

I do accept myself: I’m slower than I used to be; my hair is finer and grayer than ever; I still have time until my boobs resemble the “golf ball in the tube sock” as a good friend once described her own years ago and she made me almost pee from laughter; my skin is more loose than I’d prefer, my up-close eyesight is going; parts of me jiggle without me moving; sometimes I don’t sleep well at all anymore; all of these things are happening and I accept them. I don’t adore them, but this is part of my acceptance that I’m human. Maybe that’s what he’s talking about — our humanity, our mortality, our universality and connection with one another… that in order for me to accept me, it would follow that I accept you … all of you, even the Osama bin Ladens out there… I know that would be hard, to let evil continue with acceptance. That my fight against evil is finite, as finite as my heartbeat. That’s terrifying, I suppose, that when it comes to putting up a good fight that I might be inert. That I can’t protect my brood from evil and harm. That terrifies me.

I see myself in the mirror and sometimes I look like a headline: “45-year-old Virginia Woman Wakes Up” but what can I do? I will continue to stay fit, push my cardio threshold for a few seconds longer, eat well and care about my health, but I get it: I am on the downhill slope now; only one of my relatives has made it past 90. And the one who’s still here, she’s a firecracker, but in my family, she’s an anomaly.

I see it as a good thing that I’m on the descent now — not so much that my best years are behind me, but that my most stressed years about my appearance, about my competitiveness, about my rightful place in the sun… those concerns are still there, but they don’t matter so much anymore. It’s about health now, not super-awesome fitness and trying to look good in Lycra.

My heart is softer, my emotional reactivity is slower, I’m less prone to raise my voice, but my wit is sharper than ever I think and that’s probably because I have less bandwidth taken up with worries such as “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” and “Is Helga VonSchmidt going to be at that party? She’s so nasty…” I’ve confronted enough Helgas to not care anymore. 

I am secure with who I am; now if I can just be secure with where I am; but I think that’s good: the book, the yoga certification, the writing, the rowing club stuff, the parenting — heck, that’ll never go away.

Good God, there will always be something else to do, and I’m so grateful for it. What I’m waiting for is the time when I can go to Ireland because it’s there; when I can let the laundry go and no one will yell that they’re out of socks; and when I can eat my Cap’n Crunch in peace. I will miss my kids when they grow up and move out, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen; they’ve all told me and their father that we’re too cool and they don’t ever want to leave us. I knew we shouldn’t have gotten the hot tub…


Yesterday Jung said we can not change things unless we accept them; now he is telling us that accepting ourselves is terrifying. Why? I don’t know if these quotes are from the same book; I provide the name of the source material whenever it’s provided to me. If we were to follow these quotes in a quasi-logical order (just go with me here for a second) it would be that Jung is supposing that we’d be able to change ourselves once we’d accepted ourselves, but that accepting ourselves is terrifying and hence, change would be unlikely. 

I want a new wagon. Skippy stole my rainbow crayon. Can you drive cars on Jupiter? Pad Thai smells like peanut carrots.

Jung… stick with the program. Don’t make me go all posthumous on your ass.

I think people are better about accepting themselves these days; no. Strike that. We have more anxiety, depression, addiction, suicides, divorces, unwed births, wars, people in nursing homes, sadness, self-mutilation, abuse, murder and isolation and people on this planet than ever before. Plenty of people are terrified of accepting themselves. I just wish I could help.

What a bummer this one turned out to be. Yes, he’s right. People are terrified of self-acceptance, because maybe what they’d see –their impotence, their fragility, their connection– they’d want to change. This feels like mortality to me. Or maybe the contrast of how much we’ve changed from our beginning of being made of light and energy; that once left to our own devices, this is how we’ve turned out. But that assumes that everyone’s miserable.

Is everyone miserable? 

This one’s tough. What do you think? 

Thank you.


Tuesday Morning Press 24 — In Which I Attempt to Interview Myself


Yes, you read it right. I’m going to interview myself. I find the concept of offering my thoughts on why I write or who I am to be not unlike walking into a cocktail party only to hear, “HEY! HERE’S A CHEESE SQUARE! ENJOY IT!?” as it nears your face, suspended by a toothpick yielding under pressure as it’s held out by a winsome host.

But this is good cheese. And today I am winsome.

So while I wait for me to show up, I’ll tell you a little about why I’m doing this.

I’d like to thank the craft of writing, in specific, for its generosity. Writing has allowed me to express myself in a way through humor, candor, fiction and other ways that I didn’t really think it could.

Oh, here she is. I can’t believe she’s wearing that. Really? Well, no one ever said writers were fashionistas. No one lied.

Me: Molly, I’m so glad you are able to take some time out of your busy schedule of being a mother to chat with us today. What you do is very demanding, I’m sure.

Other me: Yes, it’s very demanding. This spring in particular has been very difficult, the children —

Me: Yes, we’ll get to them later. What we are all here to learn about is writing and why you do it. Especially publicly. Why not paint? Or just you know, journal.

Other me: Well, ok. If we’re going to be technical, yes, what I write is public, but not everyone reads it.

Me: >snorts< Ya got that right.

Other me: Furrows brow, narrows eyes, purses lips. Right, so because no one, well, not everyone reads it, I still feel relatively safe in expressing myself. I’m also pretty secure in what I write because it’s largely benign and it’s often stream-of-consciousy.

Me: Did you say ‘stream-of-consciousy‘? Aren’t you a little sick of that genre? Don’t you ever plan to … plan or outline what you will write? Don’t you think you’re cheating a little?

Other me: Yes, I do tire of the stream-of-conscious genre, and I have sort of plotted things out, but I also find that when I plot things out, it’s not as exciting to me. I like to see what the page will show me. I did write a 75,000-word book last summer and it’s still in draft mode and I’m not sure it will see the light of day, but learned a lot. I learned that I had to organize my characters, create family trees, give background on characters. Not everyone can just show up on a page; we have people who show up in our lives, but that’s different. In a book, people expect context. In life, we’re more forgiving. I believe I will eventually move forward and self-publish this first book because then I can let it go and do other things.

But no, I’m not cheating. I’m writing and people are reading. Even if it’s only two people.

Me: Moving on. What’s the first book about?

Other me: It’s about growth. In many forms. Lots of authors will say their first book is a type of thinly veiled memoir, and I suppose I’m no different. Pat Conroy’s The Great Santini was his; The Bell Jar was largely considered Sylvia Plath’s memoir. That was Plath’s only book; she was a poet.

Me: Zzzzznzzznzzzznnng.

Other me: Hello? Hey!

Me: Oh, sorry. I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was thinking about why I am writing at all.

Other me: Hey, that’s my line. It’s not for the money, that’s for sure.

Me: Right. Sorry. Straightening in chair, taking a sip of coffee. You were saying… Plath was a poet?

Other me: Yes, she was and while her poetry is profound and wonderful,

Me: >blurts< You’ve never read her poems.

Other me: Fidgeting with hair, twirling it around index finger. I’m sure I’ve read some. In college or — Anyway, I was saying, that we owe a lot to Henry Miller.

Me: You were not. We haven’t gotten there yet. You were talking about Plath. You did read The Bell Jar, remember? Ah, screw it. What about Miller?

Other me: I was reading yesterday about Tropic of Cancer. I’m in a writing group, The Peevish Penman, and we were chatting about banned books and whether we’d read any or what we wish we had. I mentioned Lolita and Tropic of Cancer.

Me: Miller didn’t write Lolita, Molly.

Other me: I know that. Why do you have to be so nasty? I lumped it in with the books I’d not read. Man, lighten up. Anyway, Tropic of Cancer was pretty revolutionary. Miller threw the gloves off, so to speak, when he wrote it. It was the first of its kind. Highly charged, considered obscene, it was the vanguard of what we largely consider to be tell-alls and is very likely the wellspring of the sexual revolution, what we consider modern personal blogging and memoir writing.

Me: Oooh, I can’t wait to get into it. Can you say ‘consider‘ maybe one more time?

Other me: I know, right? Hey! Then edit it out.

Me: So Tropic of Cancer reminds you of your memoir?

Other me: No, not necessarily, because I haven’t read it, remember? But I think its existence has given me the guts, if I will, to go forward and be less fearful of sharing who I am with people. I’m not some repressed Boston Irish Catholic.

Me: You do write fairly personally. I mean, that post on PMDD and your family relationships and other lady stuff is sort of y’know, private. Why do you do that? Don’t you have any dignity?

Other me: I have tons of dignity; but what I’d also like to say I have is guts. Look, I’m not out there being totally explicit and boring and oogey about it; I do have a sense of humor about these things and the fact of the matter is that hormones suck, aging sucks, sometimes our parents suck and if someone doesn’t like it, they can pack up and go home. I’m not for everyone. And I really don’t care. I’m not in this to offend anyone, but I’m sure as hell done trying to please everyone fer crissakes.

Me: Ooooookaaaaay. Sooooo, given that, when will you commit to the book and sort of really get going on it? You do lots of blogging now and I know the social media thing is a huge distraction for you.

Other me: Don’t patronize me. That’s not entirely fair. The social media thing is a distraction by definition and by its mere existence, not by my action. I’m not texting while driving or checking my email constantly or tweeting my face off. When I worked in public relations and merger communications, we had a phrase —

Me: Zzzzzzznnnnznzzznzznznnnnnggngnnnnzzg. Sorry.

Other me: I’ll be brief and this will make sense: the phrase was “Create the Need.” And it was all vapor and glass and mirrors. We would create the need (or someone else would come up with the concept of the product) and then sell it; make it seem as though life without it was absurd, impossible, insane even. Social media is no different than that. You’ve heard of “FOMO” — Fear Of Missing Out? Same thing: it’s the concept that we need social media: that I should be doing more of it, that I should be engaging more in it, that’s the distraction, and it feeds on itself and creates a type of vortex of need. I hate need. I strongly dislike the concept of need. It’s out there, I know; and I’m a needful person at times, but I really believe we are at our best when we are resourceful and active. I don’t need to be a monk on a mountain in Tibet to have a better sense of who and what I can be.

Me: You say that a lot.

Other me: Say what?

Me: That line (dumbing down voice to make me sound like Homer Simpson), ‘be a monk on a mountain in Tibet…’ — that, you say that a lot.

Other me: That’s because I believe it. The bottom line is that no amount of tweeting is gonna make me a better writer. It’s all a façade. It’s a ruse. China doesn’t want us to be productive; China wants us to tweet. I guess I just have to stop preaching and talking about it; stop analyzing it, intending it.

Me: Riiiiiight. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Stop intending to be good, just Be Good. Stop intending to be a writer, just Be a Writer.

Other me: right. Because it’s all bullshit if you don’t do it. Anyone can talk about it.

Me: It’s the doing that makes it real.

Other me: Right. So what else is in the hopper?

Me: A book about motherhood.

Other me: Oh, no. Really? What? There aren’t enough books about parenting and motherhood and bloggers out there? Really? You think what you have to say hasn’t been said yet? Have you seen the book shelves at Barnes & Noble devoted to funny, poignant, clever and smart mothers?

Me: crawling into a hole. No. I try not to look at them.

Other me: Why? You need to know your market.

Me: Oh, I know my market. Plus, I have to remember why I do any of this.

Other me: FINALLY. We get to the crux of all this. WHY? Why do you do any of this?

Me: Because I can. I’m not in this to get rich.

Other me: Maybe you should be.

Me: I’m rich enough. I have wonderful friends, my health, my children are —

Other me: We’ll get to them later, but honestly, Molly. You don’t want money? Fame? Income?

Me: Income, yes. I would gladly take income. Fame? No. I am totally cool without it. I don’t need the world to know who I am. I was just talking to my oldest son in the car yesterday on the way to crew practice and we were talking about Steve Martin and how he got tired of all the travel and he just wanted to work and write. Not be on stage…

Other me: Annnnnd?

Me: And it was then that I realized that I don’t need fame. Fame! I wanna live forever… I wanna learn how to fly FLY! … But no, I don’t. I have done a lot of soul searching and I have come to three conclusions.

Other me: Just three?

Me: For the moment, yes and I hope they’re the ones that stick. 1) I believe that I am a good writer, finally. I’m good with it. I can get better, always, but I’m confident now. I am. I don’t need a bazillion dollars and a ton of fans to tell me that I’m good at something. This has taken a long time to allow. And even though I’ve allowed it, I’ll still waver in my convictions. 2) That the way I tell things is specific to me. No one has my eyes and my brain and my way of telling things and I don’t have anyone else’s way. It’s a fantastic thing to be able to say that; it’s quite liberating. And 3) that writing contests and keeping at it and continuing to get better is the only way I can really show myself who I am.

Other me: Who are you?

Me: I am me and you are we and we are all together.

Thank you.

ps – my other interviews:

1) http://peevishpenman.blogspot.com/2012/10/molly-field-tells-it-like-it-is.html

2) http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=467468a1fa496c0967d25f21a&id=063e9dc01b

3) http://itsadomelife.com/2013/04/examining-the-creative-mind-molly-field.html

Quickie: Do You Over-perform?


The fact that this subject has come up three times in two days has got me thinking that it’s important to write about if for no other reason than to get it off my own chest.

Do you over-perform? Do you know what that means?

Do you know what under-performing means? It usually means that we don’t do enough to satisfy the requirements of a task, job, need, situation, relationship. People often think that being in a relationship means giving 50% each so that the total is 100%. Well, that’s not entirely true. When you give 50% you usually get 50%.

What about when you give 100%? Do you get a return on your investment? About ten years ago, my brother who’s a banker (the nice kind) once asked me about the ROI on all my relationships. Was I getting back what I put in to the relationship? Was I being compensated by friends with the same level of recognition, respect, love and kindness? Generally, the answer was no because I was an over-performer. Did I dial back? Not until last summer.

Want a real story? OK. About nine years ago when I was pregnant with Thing 3 and busy as ass with the other two, I got a note from a friend, Dunga, about her neighbor (whom she barely knew) having some troubles: they were new too the ‘hood and they were having health issues with one spouse in the hospital and another out of commission for another health reason. She was just spouting off, venting. Not asking for anything. Me? I decided I would help: I would make a dinner: scalloped potatoes, ham, a salad, bread and dessert and bring it to Dunga to deliver to her friend. My friend, Dunga, wasn’t even doing that much: she said she was making a bunch of pasta to al denté, putting it in a container with sauce and freezing it. Or something like that. I did waaaaaaaaaaay way over above and beyond. I also cut the crap out of my left thumb on a mandolin slicer in the process. I had to go get stitches the next day. But by God, I was going to have that meal ready.

Did the neighbor ever say thank you to me? No. I’m stillllllll waiting for that note. It’s not gonna come.

I also recently endeavored to help out someone I don’t know who’s sick with cancer. I wanted to rally a bunch of bloggers and hold a raffle and donate the money to his cause. He never replied to any of my multiple queries to help him. I don’t know this guy, but I wanted to help. All he wanted was some money from his fundraiser site. I gave him that, but I wanted to give him more. Why? What was my motivation? To be held with esteem and regard in yet one new stranger’s eyes and mind? What the hell is wrong with me?!

Well, that fire is slowly dying and I’m ok with it. The thing is: it was a distraction. It let me think I was helping the global good by not acting locally.

Is your performance met with an equal 100% by the other parties or the recipient? Sometimes. Usually for me though: never.

What about when you give “110%” or “150%” or “500%” … are you being met by others with their “110%” or “150%” or “500%” Do they see your 100% and raise you to 120%?

Probably not. They’re probably just doing their 100% which might make you feel resentful that they’re not like you: working yourself to the bone, slaving over a hot stove, doing pushups blind-folded with one hand tied behind your back in barbed wire and one foot resting on top of the other one beneath a 50# weight while you’re in an oxygen-deprived vacuum with the heat on and bad country music from the 1940s playing at 11 while someone recites the creepy mother-yelling scenes from Carrie just to remind you how much harder you still need to work.

That’s over-performing.

How proud are you of that guy? I think he’s a doofus. And he didn’t lift the weight with his pinkie. He used his bicep and his core and his traps and his legs. If he’d really used his pinkie he would have stayed low and lifted it an inch off the ground. Raising that weight above his head proves to me nothing other than the fact that he’s confused about lifting weights and that he can’t actually lift 56 pounds with his pinkie finger only.

Back to the point: Do you do these things, the over-performing things to engender appreciation, esteem, affection? Do you work like that to impress people? Do you work like that because The System sucks and Things Need to Change and They Need to Change Now, but you’re just one voice singing like Barbra freakin’ Streisand in a chorus of people singing like mice? Who’s unbalanced here? Did you not get the memo that Rome wasn’t built in a day?

The thing is — often we over-perform (and I wrote a little about this in a post I’ll reblog tomorrow as part of my “throw back Thursday” it was about the Law of Diminishing Returns) because we want to correct a wrong, shout about something that we feel needs to be known about. We can do these things: we can correct the wrongs, but to truly effect any change we can see immediately, we must correct them within, correct them at home, start with ourselves. You might be a freakin’ rock star at work, going above and beyond, being known at the highest levels of your company, but if your health is a mess and you have a stack of books you haven’t read or donated and your children think their names are “You,” “Boy,” and “Her” you’re screwing up royally.

If we fight tirelessly against child abuse, remember we don’t leave much patience for ourselves at home. When we fight tirelessly against injustice, giving our 150% all the time, we do no justice to ourselves; we burn out, we become unbalanced and we lose perspective. We can not do it all by ourselves.

I think of Jesus (insert your religion or non-religious hero here), not as a Christian savior or as in the religious sense as a zealot, but in the sense that he had these wonderful messages about peace and love and loving one another and he is hailed and vaunted as the Son of God, who came down from heaven to change the world… and well, not much has changed has it? We still fight in the name of religion. We still don’t love one another — his simplest order — and we can’t do it. We especially can’t do it if our ego’s in the way.

Regardless of whether you believe in Jesus as the New Testament tells it, not much has changed. And if the miracles he performed (talk about over-performing!) still didn’t do the trick, still didn’t make a dent in the human condition (the earth has seen hundreds of wars and civil conflicts before and after his time) what makes you think you’re gonna be able to make someone like you more, see your point, understand you better, or regard you with more respect or enthusiasm just because you try harder? It won’t work. It’s not that the work isn’t worth it — it’s not worth it if it doesn’t bring you joy or self-satisfaction and self-love. If some people still don’t get it but you’re satisfied, it’s their loss. Don’t stop doing what you love because someone else doesn’t share your zest.

Those people you’re trying to impress or change or influence with the over-performing: Do they see you blindfolded in that hot room with the music? Do you ever tell them about that place? What would happen if they did? They’d probably think you need a break. That you are close to coming undone. What would you say to yourself if you saw yourself working that hard? Would you turn off the music first (I hope!), undo the barbed wire, turn down the heat, take off the blindfold, offer yourself some water and speak soothingly from a Winnie-the-Pooh book?

I hope so. Be your own best friend: don’t over-perform for the respect of others; you won’t get it. Work as hard as you want, but enjoy it and make sure you leave your ego out of it. Then you can respect yourself and that’s the main thing.

Thank you.