Getting Happy... when you wish you were dead

Day 133 – Saturday, 23 Mar

All the events are listed in this timeline. It’s going to be the foundation structure for Getting Happy...when you wish you were dead. So I’m very happy about having this done. Now I have to go back through it and start attaching emotions to the events.

I wrote in my journal today: “It has always been amazing to me that people like Matthew Parks ask me to do incredibly difficult things – such as distance myself from an experience as I’m doing with this timeline. Then they get angry when I achieve what they thought I could not do.”

On the bright side, getting the timeline done meant Matthew bought me lunch yesterday. He wasn't entirely happy about it, but he kept his promise. Last week, we agreed that if I got the timeline done by Friday, he would buy me lunch.

A person telling me I can’t do a thing has always motivated me to do that thing. Sometimes I’ve met people see that as a positive way to get results. It isn’t. I despise people who tell me I can’t do something. The whole thing is based on negative emotions, so it’s hard to get good out of it.

My parents used to do that all the time. They called it reverse psychology, and always said it as though they were really intelligent for putting one over on somebody. But then they'd get mad at you if you saw through what they were doing so their "reverse psychology" didn't work. Isn't that just dopey?

Parents invest years telling you to do as you're told. Then, when you do as you're told, it turns out they were trying to be all sophisticated and sneaky. So you get in trouble for doing what you were told to do. Insane.

The bright side is that I feel good for having gotten so much work done. Of course, I've been telling everyone at PADS and the folks at We Care about what I'm doing. They are hugely encouraging. The volunteers at the different PADS churches actually seem interested in what I'm doing. I mean, they ask me questions about their own situations, and how to connect with people they're worried about. That feels super good.

Denise, the lady who runs We Care, has spoken to me about the project a few times. She has good business sense, so I've also asked her some questions, and bounced ideas with her, about the Kickstarter and how to make the project attractive to business owners. It's a form of cause marketing, right? So it's like Jerry Lewis or the Cancer Society getting people interested in their cause.

It's the first time in my life that I'm looking at things that have happened, and actually doing something with them. I mean, some things have happened that are truly bad. Having parents who didn't want me springs to mind. But this is the first time that I'm looking at those things and deciding "What effect has that had? What do I want to do about that effect?"

I remember saying to Matthew Parks once that growing up without parents who loved me has left a hole in my psyche. Having loving parents is something other people had, and I didn't. Yes, that makes me different. No, there is no way to replace that experience. The fact is that I have to live with that gap. But that's no reason to believe I can't love a wife or child, and be a good husband and dad.

For a long time, I believed that's exactly what it meant. Even with Maria and the kids, I was unsure of myself and held back. I'm sorry for the pain that caused all of us. But I'm learning. I'm getting better. And writing this book is my tool for looking at, into, myself.

Dr. Glasser, the choice theory guy, says all we do is behave, and we choose our behavior. Okay. I think he's skimming over the reality of reflex, but I get the point. Dr. Maltz, the psycho-cybernetics guy, says the same sort of thing. He says we can decide who we want to be, and then we get there by trying and making correction as we go. John Maxwell makes the same point in his book Failing Forward. The faster we try, make mistakes, fix them, and learn, the faster we make progress toward our goal.

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