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Do you let others know how you are feeling on the inside? Do you ever look for something you have done wrong, thinking that there must be something? If so, give an example. Do you ever feel like you are putting one over on others who are impressed with you because you are sure they have not really discovered yet just how flawed you really are? If so, how often? In what sorts of situations? Are you feeling down or depressed? If so, what are you doing to manage your feelings? Have you spoken to your trusted healthcare professional yet? If so, what were the recommendations? If you haven't spoken to anyone, when do you plan to do so? Have you thought about taking some time off for relaxation, meditation, a therapeutic bubble bath, or something similar? If you haven't, what's stopping you? How do you plan to reboot your self-care engine? When do you feel that you will be ready to start? Write down your start date. I have had bosses in my professional life, but I've been blessed, perhaps not by coincidence, that my bosses left me alone for the most part, and let me do my job the way I wanted to do it, as long as I didn't mess up. Beyond that, I could go to them for help if I needed it. I didn't do that often, probably for the same reasons we're addressing here. For most of my work, I've been my own boss.

This disliking supervision occasionally causes problems with my wife. She sometimes expresses her love for me by giving helpful advice, like how to repair the faucet, for example. She might feel that I need instruction on how to wash the dishes properly. She may offer constructive criticism on something else I might not be doing quite the way she would. These helpful comments make me feel that she sees me as incompetent. They tap into my sense that I really don't know how to do things and that what I try to do can't possibly turn out well. In other words, all I hear is that I'm incompetent. My wife feels hurt when she's sincerely trying to be lovingly helpful and it's quite clear that I'm not appreciating it. She tends to be lovingly helpful a lot. I don't know how much this is just part of her personality, or how much it comes from her previous experience with me; she may indeed believe that I can't be relied on to do something right. Either way, it doesn't always go well. Reflect on the following questions and enter your answers in your journal. Do you ever experience self-doubt when you make mistakes, even small ones? If so, describe a situation when you felt this way. What are you telling yourself about yourself? What do you do in a social context--making a presentation, performing, making a speech, or even speaking to a group of friends, coworkers, or peers--when you make a mistake: stumble on words, lose your trend of thought, play a sour note, or not know an answer to a question? Psychologist Gordon Neufeld explains that we experience five types of connection in any relationship: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social. Of these, physical connection is the most intense form of connection, even though it has the shortest-lasting impact. Physical connection has to do with any kind of physical affection one person experiences with another. Physical connection has the strongest immediate impact on our ability to feel connected (and therefore less anxious), both because of the release of oxytocin, a powerful calm-down hormone associated with bonding, and because bodies in close proximity tend to sync up with each other.

If an anxious person is lovingly held by someone who is calm and appropriately affectionate, the hug will stimulate the anxious person's parasympathetic (calm-down) nervous system. This enables them to re-regulate their body as the anxious person's heart rate, respiration, and other bodily systems synch up to that of the calmer person hugging them. Our bodies speak to each other in subtle but powerful ways. We have reached the end of this stage of your self-care journey: reading this book. At this point, I hope you are excited about what you need to do to bring self-care into your life. I hope you truly believe that this will be a transforming experience. I hope you will see self-care as very doable, no matter where you are currently in your life. Yesterday my wife had a recipe for hummus out on the kitchen counter. Our friend Charlie had just given us some of his homemade hummus and it was fantastic. It had a real bite to it - picante! I asked if she was going to make some and I said she might think about putting some chile in it. She retorted that if I wanted to make it myself I was welcome to go ahead. It almost seemed to me that perhaps she possibly was a little tiny bit slightly miffed. Telling yourself that you are an unworthy person who manages to trick others is self-defeating because even if you achieve your goal (for example, get through a presentation successfully), you will have needlessly upset yourself and deprived yourself of the satisfaction of successfully completing a task. On the other hand, sharing your self-doubts indiscriminately with others when you make a mistake ("I feel like such an idiot") is also self-defeating because you undermine your own dignity by inviting others not to take you seriously. In each case, the root of the problem is the same: defining your self-worth in terms of whether you satisfy your unrealistic demand to be perfect or near-perfect. Unfortunately, the effect of physical affection doesn't last long. As soon as the physical signs of affection are withdrawn, or the supportive people have to attend to their own affairs, the anxious person may have a harder time re-regulating themselves. As a result, the anxious person can become needy, jealous, or manipulative in an attempt to get their attachment figures to stay nearby and help them maintain their equilibrium. That's why it's so important to cultivate other, less intense but longer-acting, forms of connection.

Many people don't welcome unrequested advice. I surely don't, and that is a weakness of mine. I might do better sometimes if I listened more to other people's ideas. Having ADD has exposed me to more than my share of unrequested advice. Those who know me and especially those who live with me may have gotten used to my messing up, forgetting things, misplacing things, doing things halfway or "good enough". They may feel they need to head off trouble in advance by giving me helpful suggestions. But when those suggestions remind me of my own sense of inadequacy they're a little hard to take. I also hope that you believe--as I do--that we are all born with unique gifts to serve. Only you know deep in your soul what contributions you will make and your purpose for being born. Just trust that you are divinely protected, safe, and secure all within yourself. Believe and hold on to your God-given purpose and mission. Emotional Connection may not be felt as intensely as physical affection, but it tends to have a much longer shelf-life for helping to fight anxiety. Emotional connection refers to our ability to feel truly understood by the people around us. If a person who may not agree with us still takes the time to understand where we're coming from, express concern for our needs, and respect our feelings, we can say that we have a strong emotional attachment to that person. Emotional connection allows us to feel that people "get" us, like we belong to a group we can count on. That feeling of belonging produced by emotional connection persists even when the people aren't available to us. Knowing that there are people in the world who really understand us makes us feel more connected and, therefore, less anxious. What I want you to do right now is to rejoice in your deep beauty and inner worth. Say it as your new affirmation: I rejoice in my deep beauty. I rejoice in my inner worth.

I rejoice in my life. Remember my definition of self-care: loving yourself. It involves reminding yourself that you are important and then following through with consistent action. It is about putting yourself first and understanding that you cannot care for others unless you care for yourself. And remember the power in the words deep beauty and inner worth. Deep beauty comes from a heart, soul, mind, and body that are joyous, grateful, and generous. It comes from truly enjoying life on a cellular level. It comes from working hard to be the absolute best you can be and then sharing that experience with others. It is about knowing your inner worth. This dislike of unrequested advice may be a trait pretty common among men. In our culture we men are raised to believe that we're always supposed to be competent at everything, at least at everything that is considered masculine. I've also read that for women, giving advice is seen more as a form of caring than as intruding or controlling or depreciating. Still, I have noticed that sometimes a woman may not be too appreciative of unrequested advice either. Like about hummus, for example. I'm working on not being so reactive to advice; then I can consider it and perhaps benefit from it. I also am trying to limit the amount of advice I give in therapy. Often I don't know enough of the details and nuances of the situation to be in a position to give good advice. Therapy is not really about advice anyway, although occasionally it can be helpful. It is a masculine trait to want to problem solve and come up with helpful solutions, even though often what is really needed is just listening. What steps can you take to overcome this self-defeating, stressful habit?