This Spiral Life

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Let’s be a survivor not a victim


(719 words – 3 min read)

I finished Brené Brown’s book “Rising Strong” last night. It is simply about how to accept ourselves as who we are and appreciate our self-worth. The book explains how to deal constructively with failure and all the emotions created by failure. She describes a robust process to show step by step how to rise after falling. It is a never ending process. If we want to grow we have to move forward and explore new things. In this exploration we face unknowns and try to master them, but sometimes we fall down and then we need to get up to move forward again.  We do it over and over throughout our lives. This progress helps us feel fulfilled as humans, and builds stronger self-belief. Dealing with unknown challenges can be called failure if we fall, but it is a necessary part of life.

A lot of time when we fail, we face blame and judgment from others, mostly coming from their insecurities due to their own fear of failure.  When we are cornered by blame and judgment, we feel different emotions at the same time; sadness, fear, shame, anger, and perhaps many more. That is the time to start “rising strong”. It is time to take responsibility for our failure and constructively move forward without damaging our self-worth. That is when we become a survivor not a victim.

I happened to finish reading this book right about the time I experienced a failure at work. It hurt badly. It created all those negative emotions in me. I was very upset for a couple of days but then I made a decision to take this as an opportunity to practice believing in my self-worth and become stronger.

I am now reviewing all my positive affirmations every day.  I am working on it through reading and re-reading the process of “rising strong” from different teachers to expand my knowledge and lessen my ignorance. I am reaching out to supportive friends who can also remind me of my self-worth since I feel the pressure of being judged. It is hard for me to see my self-worth but I am trying to do my best.

To practice this on a deeper level, I decided to edit a part of my memoir about a time when I felt a huge amount of shame in my life. I felt shame for a long time because I accepted my ex-husband’s marriage proposal under the condition of leaving my daughter with my parents for an unknown period of time. The decision was that she would stay with my parents until I could have her with me in the US. That would be IF we would ever emigrate from Iran to the US, which was not confirmed back then. I knew that would take a long time. I lied to myself that he would change his mind. He said when he would have his own biological child and feel like a parent, he would be able to accept my daughter.

I fooled myself with those words. The relationship started wrong and only got worse. I was in denial and did not realize I was carrying this destructive shame with me all along. The practice of writing this down helped me explain that part of the story to myself and remind me of the circumstances I was under. Writing it helped me remember the process of coming out of that pressure and liberating myself from all those feelings during that time. I became more compassionate to myself, feeling more inner peace.

Reading “Rising Strong” helped me to do a more careful analysis of the experience last week at work as well as the old shame I carried because of the wrong decision I made in my life. Brené’s words helped me be able to put everything related to my story in perspective to see other variables that influenced this equation.  When you see beyond the black and white picture of each event with a more systematic approach, you get to see a lot more inputs and their relationships. That helps us be able to be less judgmental about the outcome and more compassionate to ourselves. Let’s move forward!

Here there is a link to Brené Brown’s TED talks. Her lectures are scientific, based on her years of vulnerability research.

Celebrate life!


Editing Credit: M. Curtis

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Love Brings Love


(600 words – 3 min read)

Happy Birthday America!

I did get back to writing and enjoyed it as much as before my slump, maybe even more. Where this love takes me is the most amazing part of it!

When work was very slow last year and I was feeling confused, one of the thoughts came to my mind was the possibility of career change. I thought about so many different jobs. One of them was web design. I even looked for online training and found a few good ones but never felt motivated to pursue it.

A few months passed and my thoughts and concerns led me back to writing my book. I started writing seriously and fell in love with it. Did I say that already a thousand times? Then I felt I needed to share this love with others and was inspired by other bloggers to create my blog. WordPress was highly recommended and I started my blog in WordPress then I got stuck at using advanced features. I am NOT very computer savvy. I can do the simple maneuvering to post my blogs and use the basic design however WordPress offers a lot more for blogging that I don’t know. I started searching to learn more about WordPress. Through my explorations, I gained a little knowledge about web design.

The projects I am involved in at work are mostly software development and I have so many good SW engineers to ask questions of. I surprisingly found myself being able to ask questions about behind the scenes of my blog and html capabilities and even understand their answers. Before, when I attended technical meetings as a project performance analyst, I would be mostly lost in details of the SW development process. This time I volunteered to join more weekly technical meetings. I started understanding better and I have even used that information in my work for better performance measurement analysis. I started learning more about web design via introduced by a coworker and that increased my enjoyment at work. I am really excited that my passion for writing helped me engage, and led to more fulfillment at work. Love brings Love!

During the past week, I have written almost 2000 more words, mostly about 2008 stories and have done a lot of grooming on some previous chapters.

I focused on describing the scenes. What helped me to start working on this part of my writing skills was attending an online seminar about describing the scenes provided by NAMW. I wrote about a trip Mike and I had to southwest Virginia in 2008 for Valentine’s Day. We stayed in a Bed and Breakfast that was in a beautiful colonial style building built in 1901. I tried to explain the scenes and give a sense of “show vs tell” to this part of the story. I looked at the pictures we had from that trip and started explaining the building structure, the interior design, and anything I remembered from there. It was a fairly good first try and I am encouraged to work on it more. My biggest fear about explaining the scenes is much less now.

Writing about 2008 stories, I also came across the concept of self-actualization that I started learning deeply in 2008. This concept was introduced by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the early 40s. I searched the subject to refresh my mind about what I was learning back then and came across a couple of good articles and would like to share them.


Maslow: The 12 Characteristics of a Self-Actualized Person by David Sze


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs by Saul McLeod 


Celebrate life!


Editing Credit: M. Curtis

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