Fica, vai ter bolo

A gente acha que o Brasil é um país super informal, mas depois de dois anos em Israel, que é um lugar realmente sem formalidades, eu percebo que o brasileiro na verdade é cheio de regras de etiqueta.

O brasileiro, quando entra no elevador do trabalho, fala “bom dia” mesmo pra quem ele não conhece. Quando senta do lado de alguém no ônibus, fala “licença”. Também pede “licença” para entrar, já convidado, na casa de uma pessoa – e normalmente recebe de volta um “fique à vontade”, seguido por um “não repare na bagunça”. Quando come na frente dos outros, oferece o lanche pra roda. Quando corta um bolo de aniversário, bota cada fatia em um prato e vai passando pros convidados. “Você já pegou bolo?”, a gente faz questão de perguntar.

Tudo isso é regra de etiqueta. Alguns diriam que é “educação básica”, que quem não faz essas coisas é “mal educado”, mas esse tipo de “educação” é uma norma social, né. Cada cultura tem a sua. E Israel, pelo que vi até agora, não segue essas normas.

Uma história que aconteceu recentemente, no meu trabalho novo:

Um dia, na minha segunda semana de trabalho, eu notei que estava rolando uma movimentação na sala comum da empresa. A minha equipe trabalha num semi-aquário, então dá pra ver mais ou menos o que acontece nas partes comuns do nosso andar. Vi as pessoas das outras equipes carregando bolos e docinhos. Mas não era comigo, então continuei trabalhando com a cara no computador.

Depois de um minutos, meu editor, parado na porta, me chama a atenção. Levanto a cabeça e só então vejo que estou sozinha na sala; todo o resto da equipe já tinha se juntado à movimentação do lado de fora.

“E aí, você não vem?”, ele pergunta. Eu nem sei do que ele está falando. Pergunto o que está tendo do lado de fora e ele responde “é um aniversário!”, e só falta ele completar com um “dããã!”.

Levanto e vou atrás dele. É aniversário de uma menina de outra equipe. A empresa é relativamente grande, e eu ainda não tinha conhecido ninguém do outro lado, então não sabia o nome da moça, nem o que ela fazia (pra falar a verdade, não sei até agora).

Os chefes falaram umas palavras rápidas, a menina fez um minidiscurso, e aí era hora do bolo.

Mas ela não cortou o bolo e botou nos pratos e foi passando pras pessoas. O bolo ficou lá. Quem queria comer ia pra mesa, cortava o próprio pedaço, botava no seu prato, e comia.

Gente, quem sou eu pra ir cortar o bolo de aniversário de uma menina que eu nem conheço, e pra cujo aniversário eu nem tinha sido convidada? Claro que não comi o bolo, né. E desde então, já tivemos uns três aniversários de funcionários na empresa, e eu ainda não comi bolo nenhum haha #loser

Coração quentinho na estação de trem

Eu estava na estação de trem esperando para ir pra casa, quando os alto-falantes fizeram um anúncio em hebraico e as pessoas na minha plataforma começaram a se movimentar com pressa; era alguma coisa sobre um trem próximo ter mudado de plataforma.

Tirei o fone de ouvido e prestei atenção à repetição do anúncio, mas não consegui entender qual trem tinha mudado. Estava lá tentando compreender se eu também precisava correr, quando, do meio daquela manada de gente, sai um moço com farda de soldado que para na minha frente e me pergunta, em inglês com sotaque, qual trem eu estou esperando. Ele me explica o que foi dito nos alto-falantes, e concluímos que não foi o meu trem que mudou; eu posso continuar onde estou. Eu agradeço de coração quentinho. A gente troca sorrisos. Ele se funde à manada de gente correndo.

Caderno de quotes de livros: I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t)

Eu falei sobre a Dra. Brené Brown pela primeira vez lá em 2016 (aqui e aqui), mas só agora peguei um livro dela para ler: “I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t) – Making the Journey from ‘What Will People Think?’ to ‘I Am Enough’”.

Se você tem preconceito contra livros de auto-ajuda – como eu confesso que eu tinha -, eu altamente recomendo ler este. Eu sempre achei que livros de auto-ajuda eram baseados em achismo, mas não os da Dra. Brené Brown. “I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t)” é baseado em sete anos de pesquisa e centenas de entrevistas, e trata da sociedade moderna tanto quanto das nossas batalhas individuais diárias.

Algumas (muitas) passagens para o meu caderno de quotes de livros:

“Shame and self-esteem are very different issues. We feel shame. We think self-esteem. Out self-esteem is based on how we see ourselves – our strengths and limitations – over time. It is how and what we think of ourselves. Shame is an emotion. It is how we feel when we have certain experiences. When we are in shame, we don’t see the big picture; we don’t accurately think about out strengths and limitations. We just feel alone, exposed and deeply flawed. My friend and colleague Marian Mankin described the difference between shame and self-esteem this way: ‘When I think about my self-esteem, I think about who I am in relation to who I want to be, where I come from, what I’ve overcome, and what I’ve accomplished. When I feel shame, I’m taken back to this place of smallness where I lose that sense of context. I’m returned to a small place – I can’t see everything else. It’s just a small, lonely place.” (p. xxii)

“Our culture teaches us about shame – it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us – from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate.

We are wired for connection. It’s in our biology. As infants, our need for connection is about survival. As we grow older, connection means thriving – emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Connection is critical because we all have the basic need to feel accepted and to believe that we belong and are valued for who we are.

Shame unravels our connection to others. In fact, I often refer to shame as the fear of disconnection – the fear of being perceived as flawed and unworthy of acceptance or belonging. Shame keeps us from telling our own stories and prevents us from listening to others tell their stories. We silence our voices and keep our secrets out of the fear of disconnection. When we hear others talk about their shame, we often blame them as a way to protect ourselves from feeling uncomfortable. Hearing someone talk about a shaming experience can sometimes be as painful as actually experiencing it for ourselves.” (p. xxiv-xxv)

“Dr. Shelley Uram, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, is currently the consulting psychiatrist at The Meadows, a trauma and addiction treatment facility. In her work, Dr. Uram explains that most of us think of traumatic events as big events (like car wrecks and disasters). But Dr. Uram points out that we tend not to recognize the small, quiet traumas that often trigger the same brain-survival reaction. After studying Dr. Uram’s work, I believe it’s possible that many of our early shame experiences, especially with parents and caregivers, were stored in our brains as traumas. This is why we often have such painful bodily reactions when we feel criticized, ridiculed, rejected and shamed. Dr. Uram explains that the brain does not differentiate between overt or big traumas and covert or small, quiet trauma – it just registers the event as ‘a threat that we can’t control.’

In her work on ‘remembering the wound’ versus ’becoming the wound,’ Dr. Uram explains that most of the time when we recall a memory, we are conscious that we are in the present, recalling something from the past. However, when we experience something in the present that triggers an old trauma memory, we reexperience the sense of the original trauma. So, rather than remembering the wound, we become the wound. This makes sense when we think of how we are often returned to a place of smallness and helplessness when we fell shame.” (p. 89)

“Magazines make money by selling advertising space, not subscriptions. The goal is to have us look at the woman on the cover, feel bad and then buy all the lotions and potions advertised in the magazine. If we buy a lot of products, the cosmetic companies buy more advertising space in the magazine and so on…” (p. 103)

“Knowledge is power and power is never diminished by sharing it – it is only increased.” (p. 112)

“’The most difficult thing about people finding out I’m a lesbian is the assumptions they make. People automatically assume they know everything about me. Once they know you’re gay, people think they can fill in the blanks for the rest of your life. They assume you’ve probably been abused by a man at some point in your life; they assume you hate men; they assume you’re masculine and like sports; they expect you to act, dress, vote and spend money a certain way. Most people outside the gay and lesbian community don’t understand that there is as much diversity in our community as there is in the straight community. You never hear people saying, ‘Oh, you’re straight, say no more – I know everything about you.’ Sexual orientation doesn’t dictate your politics, your religion, your beliefs, your values, what you like and who you are. I don’t assume to know you when I find out you’re straight. Don’t assume to know me when you find out I’m a lesbian.’” (p. 220)

“There are times when our feelings, thoughts and actions relate directly to our past or current struggles. But there are certainly times when they don’t. the problem arises because, at some point, mos of us begin to believe the expectations about who we’re supposed to be, what we’re supposed to look like, what we’re supposed to do, how much we’re supposed to be and how little we’re supposed to be.” (p. 228)

“’People who are guilt-prone are likely to focus on the behavior in question. For example, a guilt-prone person who misses a day of work after a night of heavy drinking is likely to think, ‘If I keep missing work, I could lose my job.’ In contrast a person who is shame-prone is much more likely to focus on what they view as a defective self (‘I’m a complete failure because I keep missing work’). As you can imagine, it is much easier to change or fix any given behavior than it is to fix a defective self. So, as a result, the guilt-prone person in this situation will try to figure out what they can do differently. For instance, they might strategize about how it would be better not to drink on nights when they have to work the next day, or how it would be better not to drink to the point where they can’t function effectively the next day. The shame-prone person, because he is overwhelmed by the emotion resulting from the realization that he is bad (defective, unworthy, etc.), can’t problem-solve, and therefore can’t make the same types of plans for how to do things differently (and hopefully better) the next time he finds himself in a similar situation. In essence, the shame-prone person gets stuck in the emotion, whereas the guilt-prone person is able to move on.’” (p. 257)

“We cannot change and grow when we are in shame and we can’t use shame to change ourselves or others.” (p. 265)

“It’s important to understand that parents also have the power to teach and model fear, blame and disconnection. Sometimes our children learn fear, blame and disconnection because we use shame to parent them. Rather than focusing on their behaviors, we attack who they are or belittle them. We threaten them with disconnection or ridicule them in front of others.

Sometimes, even if parents aren’t shaming their children, the children still experience fear, blame and disconnection simply because we haven’t taught them the skills of shame resilience. So, even if we’re not shaming them, we’ve left them very vulnerable to shame from teachers, coaches and peers.” (p. 284-285)

“I think it’s important that this book ends where it began – with connections. We are wired for connection. It’s in our biology. As infants, our need for connection is about survival. As we grow older, connection means thriving – emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. Connection is critical because we all have the basic need to feel accepted and to believe that we belong and are valued for who we are. Although it might seem overly optimistic that we can create a culture of connection simply by making different choices, I think it is possible. Change doesn’t require heroics. Change begins whe we practice ordinary courage.” (p. 285)

It’s time to get serious about joy and fulfillment

Hoje recebi uma lembrança do Facebook que foi ao mesmo tempo bem-vinda e meio triste. Bem-vinda porque eu estava precisando ler algo do tipo, e meio triste porque, cinco anos depois, eu ainda preciso ler algo do tipo. O post era sobre o trecho de um texto da escritora americana Anne Lamott em que ela fala sobre perfeccionismo; vou republica-lo abaixo:

“It’s time to get serious about joy and fulfillment, work on our books, songs, dances, gardens. But perfectionism is always lurking nearby, like the demonic prowling lion in the Old Testament, waiting to pounce. It will convince you that your work-in-progress is not great, and that you may never get published. (Wait, forget the prowling satanic lion–your parents, living or dead, almost just as loudly either way, and your aunt Beth, and your passive-aggressive friends, whom we all think you should ditch, are going to ask, ‘Oh, you’re writing again? That’s nice. Do you have an agent?’)

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction – and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.”