Hannah MIller

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Has faking it until you make it ever helped you with a life situation? If so please tell me your story.

I was in an I.B. Theater class in high school. The reason I joined that class was because I wanted to know how psychology is used in theater. In the end I learned a lot about how psychology is connected to theater. One way that it is, is you want the audiences eyes to travel to the correct area of the stage while people are moving things in the back ground. To do this you can use lighting. The eye tends to drift to the brightest area. Another way that I found that psychology is used in theater is when you are preparing yourself to preform. You have to pretend that you are your character, and if you are nervous, you have to pretend that you are not until you really aren't.
At the end of that course I had to give a 15 minute speech about what I learned in I.B. theater, and I was very nervous the night before. That is when I was shown this video, and it helped me out a lot during my speech.

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    Jan 24 2014: Hi Hannah,
    Amy's is a good talk on this subject, and here is another TED presenter, talking about compassion, who speaks about faking it until you make it


    I agree with Rodrigo, who writes in this conversation..."Faking it may be the start of becoming".

    I perceive it to be a form of practicing a different perception and attitude which has helped me a LOT throughout the life adventure. As a kid, I learned from my mother to put on a happy face when feeling less than happy, and somehow, the actions of putting on a happy face and standing tall in the face of challenges contributes to changing the feelings about the situation. It does not change the external situation, but it seems to provide more strength and confidence in our "self" to be able to deal with the situation more effectively.

    With scientific experimentation, they've learned that facial expressions, body language, laughing and crying actually change the body chemistry. I'm sure you've heard that laughing is good medicine? It releases endorphins which are healing...crying does as well, so it's good to experience these practices.

    There is definitely psychology involved with acting. As a professional actor for years, I often went to the theater to play a happy go lucky character when I was feeling sad in my real life. I put those feelings aside for awhile, and drew on the "happy" characteristics. Sometimes, I was very happy/content in my real life, and put those feelings aside to play the role of a very hurting depressed character.

    Once, I was in a sailboat racing accident in the afternoon and played the leading role in a musical theater production that evening. I was physically hurting on the way to the theater, but with the preparation for the role (warm-ups, makeup, costume, etc.) I started feeling better, and performed the role just fine. The pain returned after the performance, so I went to the ER the next day and we discovered 4 cracked ribs!
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      Jan 25 2014: Wow. Acting had such an effect on your life that as you were acting, you felt as if you were the character. I was never the greatest actress, because I am soft spoken, and I never felt like I wasn't myself. Its been a while, so I forget to mention every psychological aspect of theater, but the body movement does have a lot to do with making your character believable. I was better at silly one act plays, and I also learned a lot about building sets, and blocking in my theater class. It was an interesting experience. I was better at observing the behavior of people who were great actresses/actors, I liked painting, and working back stage.
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        Jan 25 2014: Yes Hannah, when I was on stage, I became the character. I put myself in her shoes so to speak, and in this way, learned more about compassion.

        I also learned more about transcending pain, as I mention in the example above. The character I was playing that evening was NOT in a sailboat race that day, and did NOT get injured, so there was no reason for that character to be in pain. What we focus on expands, and I was focusing on the character, rather than myself.

        I also participated in off stage tasks connected with theater....building and painting sets, props, making costumes, doing hair and make-up etc. It's all part of the theater experience, and I loved it all. My preference however, was to delve into, and play a character, who may be different from my own personality.
    • Jan 26 2014: Hello Colleen. I have read some of the research about how altering your body language affects your body chemistry. And I do agree with the many people on this conversation who say that faking courage helps us achieve things we know are good for us (e.g. giving a stage performance). However, I also think that a mother who pretends everything is OK when things are not so OK, is also teaching a child to fake and suppress her emotions. And that in general, faking one's emotions is a way of denying reality and avoid facing and learning from them. What do you think?
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        Jan 26 2014: Hi Vreeti,
        I agree with you that faking, suppressing emotions, denying reality and avoidance are not useful, and with those practices we can deny ourselves the opportunity to learn from the experience.

        That is why I said in previous comments....
        *"Faking it may be the start of becoming".

        *"I perceive it to be a form of practicing a different perception and attitude"

        *"putting on a happy face and standing tall in the face of challenges contributes to changing the feelings about the situation.*

        *It does not change the external situation, but it seems to provide more strength and confidence in our "self" to be able to deal with the situation more effectively."

        *"I often went to the theater to play a happy go lucky character when... feeling sad in my real life. I put those feelings aside for awhile, and drew on the "happy" characteristics. Sometimes, I was very happy/content in my real life, and put those feelings aside to play the role of a...hurting depressed character."

        *" What we focus on expands...I was focusing on the character, rather than myself."

        I am suggesting that when we are fully present in any given moment, we have a choice regarding what we focus on, while still being very aware of realities.

        True example.
        I went for an annual mammogram 5 days ago. They called me two days later to tell me they found something suspicious, and want me to come in as soon as possible for more imaging and tests. I watched two people I love die from breast cancer (family members), so the news is anxiety producing for me, and every once in awhile in the past few days, I feel frightened, because I am very aware of the possibilities. Writing about it right now produces anxiety because I am focusing on it to provide you with information.

        HOWEVER, I do not focus on fear. As soon as I finish writing this comment, I will focus on something else. I am very aware of the possibilities, and I also choose to be in the moment...now...tomorrow I will get more information:>)
        • Jan 27 2014: Hello Colleen.Thank you so much for your comment, it is insightful for me. I absolutely admire your display of courage in talking about the mammogram. I personally find it hard to find that balance you talk about which consists of being aware of a reality while not necessarily focusing on it. I still have not learned how to harness the power you seem to possess over things which scare you. Anyway, all the best to you!
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        Jan 27 2014: Thank you for your kind words and encouragement Vreeti, which I appreciate very much.

        One thing I remember Vreeti, in challenging situations, is that I do not have any power "over things"....situations for example. The only "power" and strength, is within myself and how I choose to perceive, act and react to the situation.

        I ask myself.....do I prefer to wallow in fear? Or do I choose to move through the situation with as much consciousness and love as I can muster in the moment? For me, ACCEPTING the situation is a big part of moving through it.

        We can spend time and energy on "why me"...."woe is me"...."poor me"....etc. That uses energy that we can use to more effectively move through the situation. So, while I am aware of possibilities, I am also saying to myself.....Ok Colleen....you can do this, and that starts the process of moving through the challenge, rather than getting "stuck" with frustration, anger, disappointment, distress, etc.......make any sense?
        • Jan 27 2014: Your replies renew and confirm my faith in humanity. I am new to TED conversations and I'm amazed at the quality of the interactions taking place here. So I thank you.

          What you say makes a lot of sense. I realise that I have spent a lot of time oscillating between two extremes - either spending too much time and energy asking the unproductive questions you mention or just refusing to accept the situation. So I now see that you are saying that the key is to accept what is, and then react in the most productive way to the situation. And I think that it really helps to have trust that eventually everything will turn out for the best.
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        Jan 28 2014: Thank you for the feedback Vreeti:>)

        It is common for people to sometimes go round and round with mind chatter....dialogue that may not even be relevant to the task at hand. It is also common to not accept the situation as reality. Sometimes, we may want the challenging situations to just go away! Challenging situations do not usually just disappear. At some point, we usually have to face it, so my practice, is facing it sooner, rather than later.

        Yes.....good idea...."to accept what is, and then react in the most productive way to the situation"!
        If we contribute to the process by mindfully learning and growing with the challenge, it generally turns out to be more beneficial.

        Another thing that helps, is to let go of our perceptions, expectations and judgment regarding what is "best". When we have expectations that things "should" be a certain way, according to our preferences, it is more difficult to move through the challenge, because many times, the challenge does not offer our preference.

        I would never have consciously chosen a near fatal head/brain injury as a preference. However, I am aware of everything I learned from that experience throughout the whole process, because I was open to the possibilities.

        One thing that has helped me stay connected with the idea of moving through challenges for the purpose of learning...
        "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference".

        I could not change the fact that I sustained a near fatal injury, so I accepted that fact/reality. It took courage to face the prognosis....that I would never function "normally" again. I decided that I was going to function to the best of my ability(whatever that meant), and learn/grow with the process. That perception and action is one reason I moved through the challenge in a better condition than expected. Sometimes, I faked it until I made it:>)
  • Jan 23 2014: I think we all fake it when we step into a new area of knowledge. We think we understand but understanding comes as we learn more and realize how little we knew when we started.
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    Jan 22 2014: Faking it may be the start of becoming - for as long as you are sincere in your intentions and you are doing the right thing.
  • Jan 26 2014: Having wasted too many years with poor self esteem, it put me behind in just about everything. As a young adult I changed and found my worth, which was so much greater than I could have possibly imagined.
    Fake it till you make it is my story. Going beyond my own expectations by faking it, thereby not limiting myself.
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      Jan 26 2014: TED is a great experience, and it could be life changing. It was for me.
      If you have a low self esteem I would recommend watching some of the inspirational videos that they have on here about people with mental disorders, young teens that found ways to test cancer, maybe poetry, and one thing that i really get into is how intelligent animals are. It makes me feel like you never know whats possible until you discover it, and the way to discover it is to explore it.
      Keep speaking your opinion on here people actually want to hear it, especially if it's a helpful and new opinion
      Once you discover that your opinion matters you will start wanting to speak it in real life, and people will be amazed at what just came out of you. Create beautiful ideas, and share them with the world.
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      Jan 26 2014: And your years were not wasted if you were finding yourself.
  • Jan 23 2014: Absolutely. I always fake confidence in situations that scare me.

    I was not afraid of being shot or anything that had a remote chance of happening; the fear/lack of confidence was completely irrational. But knowing that did not make it subside. Not even a little.

    My level of confidence seems to depend on my sense of well-being and satisfaction with my current life events. Although the same situations will bring out the fear in me, the intensity of the fear completely mirrors how I'm feeling about my life at the time. Some situations I could not muster a "fake" for, no matter the consequences.

    But for the most part, if I didn't fake my way through some things, they would have never happened.
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    Feb 1 2014: Amy Cuddy's talk reminded me of several life changing moments in my own life, moments where I made a conscious change in my attitude and behavior. To this day, I can see the one particular doorway at the technical college where I stopped my walk to the safety and security of the library, stated emphatically to myself " I don't want to hide anymore" and turned on my heel and strode back to the teacher/student lounge and got involved with the other students and staff.
    To this day, I can see the doorway to the community ballroom, where my sister and I were going to join a singles group outing, when I stated emphatically to myself, "I don't want to be a wallflower anymore", and proceeded to ask every man in the room to dance! And met my future husband, who was totally charmed to see my outreach.
    And to this day, I can see the aisle down which I was walking, to give a speech to a group of our dispatchers on how we created a winning and profitable independent trucking operation, not knowing what I was going to say until I turned and said "let me tell you some stories of how we do what we do". And proceeded to speak with animation and authority, which soon had them clapping and rolling in the aisle that I had just walked down. The best laugh was when
    I shared a particular trip that had an extra long drive, or deadhead, to Canada to pickup up freight. My fairly new hubby had challenged this long drive as "not what we do" and I replied, just hush and drive, this load pays in spades!
  • Jan 28 2014: Yes Colleen yours is a good approach to treat peculiar situations. Friends of the children always surprise me. on another occasion invited to a young "caballero español" from Seville, this one began to eat by the dessert and ended by the entries. I don´t know if this is funny peculiar or funny ha ha. But is really true. This situation needed an escape or pretend or "fake" normality. Every time my daughter tell us to come home with a friend, makes me want to wear armor or become myself marble statue. Or... Faking. Anyway. Everything for the kids!!.
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      Jan 29 2014: Dearest Paco,
      If you reply directly to a comment, (little red "reply" in the upper right corner of the comment you are replying to), those you are replying to get a notice that you have replied. By going to the top of the page for every reply, you are denying us that notice. That is the way the TED system works.

      Yes....everything for the kids, and I am one of the TED kids. Could you please reply directly to comments to keep conversations in sequence, and to provide notices that you have replied.....please...please....please?
  • Jan 27 2014: Hi Colleen, Yes it was quite a trip. Faking about it? No!! . planning for 6 months, 25 days living it and remembering for life. The most rewarding experience to meet the authentic Navajo people. Anyway .Because I do not want to bore you I´ll try to avoid I am, Iam, Iam, I have, i have or I did I did, because really I am more alike the song of Nina Simone "Ain´t got no" (Really I love this song lyrics as others from Hair). So.. what was your children liked most about Spain? Mutual experence was positive? All The best.& a very good day.
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      Jan 28 2014: The kids loved EVERTHING and EVERYONE in their Spain experience Paco! I cannot think of anything they did not like!

      Through an exchange program, our daughter invited a Spanish teenager to stay with us for a summer. Then, without the program, my daughter was invited to visit the family in Spain. Then the younger brother of the first Spanish student came here, and our son went there. Then their sister visited us in the US, met some friends her age, and they went to Spain.

      While it started with an organized exchange program, it mushroomed into a GREAT learning experience for all of us. Most of the people involved are still in contact....25 years after. The whole experience was mutually positive, and it was my kid's first opportunity to live in a different culture, which is very educational and rewarding:>)
      • Jan 28 2014: Hi Colleen! That all sounds very nice. I am a strong supporter of multiculturalism. I think it is not difficult especially on a basis of education,and understanding. My oldest daughter brougt a friend home. (I wouldn´t say the nationality but north european). We had a serious domestic problem, the person (a young man) didn´t eat meat, fish or eggs (nor derivatives) Their customs were very peculiar. Obviously we did everything possible as hosts. We tried to talk to him but he didn´r respond or if he did it it was with monosyllables (Yes, no). Everything very tense. I think a person like him never should be accepted an invitation of a family in other country.
        My daughter knows she can bring home whoever but...providing the person knows to behave.
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          Jan 28 2014: Hi again Paco,
          Too bad that situation didn't work out so well. I have encountered some rather "peculiar" situations in my travels, and it always felt like an opportunity to learn about something that was not familiar to me.
  • Jan 26 2014: A Very good night from Spain. See you tomorrow.
  • Jan 25 2014: Hello Dame Coleen and Hannah. I´m very happy to hear from you. Well.. I would say that there is another way of escape.I call it The return to childhood. I love Walt Disney's Pinocchio! and not ashamed to say I am very fond of Comics I´ve just finished reading a thick book anthology of Félix the Cat by Craig Yoe & Don Oriolo. We mature people are also Magic!!
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      Jan 25 2014: Hello Paco:>)
      So, is it an "escape"? Or is it connecting to something?

      I think staying connected with the child part of our "self" is wonderful, and kids are masters of imagination, pretending, faking it, and creating "scenes". The child parts of us are curious, joyful, playful, and eager to learn and grow....it is very magical:>)
      • Jan 25 2014: Hi again. Well. Yours is a very good question, I think both an escape and a conexion in terms of a flight backwards (as in a time machine) ,that allows you to feel the sensation of being (example) in a theater with people who you so much loved, or fly to a time when the problems didn´t exist.
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      Jan 25 2014: I agree Paco.....I think it can be both, or either. We can perceive the experience in various ways, learn from it, and contribute to it as we choose:>)
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        Jan 25 2014: I do too
      • Jan 26 2014: Speaking of something else. I wanted to ask you if you hve been affected by the storm of wind and snow. The serious situation in your East Coast has been occupying much space in spanish news and... I ruide of me without asking
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          Jan 26 2014: Thanks for asking Paco:>)

          This area was seriously impacted with one of the first big ice storms about a month ago...lots of people without power, lots of accidents because of ice, and extremely cold weather.

          You know, one great thing about the situation, is that crews came in from several adjoining states to help with the challenge. Some of the crews that were here from other states didn't even go home for the holidays....they stayed in this state to help....which was inspiring. Lots of people here are grateful for that.

          Right now, the impact is further south of where I am located near the Canadian border. I believe crews from Vermont are now helping in other states that need it.

          We LOVE snow here, because Vermont has lots of ski areas and we know what to do with big snow storms! The cities further south are more impacted with big snow falls, and we're all impacted with ice storms and extreme cold.

          Thank you for asking my friend:>)
      • Jan 26 2014: Hi Colleen, I imagined something like what you say. I´m very impressed about the solidarity of other states.. I´ve heard that solidarity among the american population has its origin in the common aid of the first settlers. Anyway is very nice to hear that from a country (mine) now fighting for the fragmentation into small independent states..Anyway. I really like the way of being of you americans. I know a little because I had the opportunity five years ago to make by car a piece of Route 66. Starting from Chicago all by road to San Francisco and return to N.Y.then to Spain . I will never forget the human experience!! So glad that you have succesfully passed the storm. All the best for you.
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          Jan 26 2014: Sounds like quite a trip Paco! Were you faking it until you made it? LOL:>)

          My kids have both been to Spain and liked it, and their host family very much. We also enjoyed having the Spanish kids stay at our home when my kids were in high school. Sorry about the fragmentation and fighting in your country.
          All the best for you too my friend:>)
  • Jan 25 2014: Hello Hannah- Let.s see: The Nutcraker brings me the magic of Christmas. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller as dramatic is the play I prefer, and for pure entertainment any play by Ibsen or Chéjov and finally as a hard force in the dialogues, especially The Maids by Jean Genet. About the Swan Lake you can see something very spectacular in You tube.by the company of Russian Bolshoi Theater, if you watch it you´ll love it.
  • Jan 24 2014: Nice topic Hannah. As another experience in theater I´ll tell you mine: Being a spectator in a box and watch as life unfolds, because, if everything (as they say) in life is predestined I could feel that´s my role, hipothetically speaking.
    sometimes become a simple spectator is a way to escape the life situations and a method to self defense as valid as a temporary refuge in fantasy..land.
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      Jan 25 2014: thank you. I think that it is great to hear from people who are experienced in theater. I hope to some day publish a play. I write small scenes but nothing significant enough to submit to the world. Of course its better than some of the stuff that we have on T.V. Theater really does help you escape from the real world for a few minutes or a couple hours depending on the type of play you are watching.
      What is your favorite type of play to escape into?
      I like musicals, because I love the way that music, and motion can tell a story. Some of my favorite musicals are Phantom of the Opera, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, Rent, Cats, and the classic, The Nutcracker. I've never seen Swan Lake, but I can imagine that it is spectacular.
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      Jan 25 2014: Paco and Hannah,
      I agree that theater can be a way to escape life situations and a temporary refuge in fantasy land....AND...theater can be a tool by which we learn to be more aware of life situations and genuinely connect with experiences that may not be common for us as individuals, but are common with other people.....depending on the type of play we are watching, and depending on how we assimilate and apply the information learned from the play...either as a player, or member of the audience.

      I like musicals too Hannah, because I like to sing and dance as well as act a role. I also appreciate the way music enhances a story, and some of your favorites are some of my favorites as well...Phantom, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables and Cats:>)
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    Jan 23 2014: Its like living in an illusion when you think to believe in fake things or situations. Truth would be revealed either sooner or later. I think the World now is mostly surrounded by fake situations and being real in this World counts.
    Be good, try hard and always think not to impress anyone
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    Jan 22 2014: well, one way to fake it is when you're trying to come up with a solution with another person for a problem: Let's say you've been batting it around a while, and you're not satisfied. What you can do is try to sum up, you can say "So the best solution we have so far is ________________, would you agree?" Then see what the other person says, and go from there. Something about the summing up is powerful, it draws together what you've already said and forces you to look at it clearly.

    Do you know why you were nervous? Were you afraid that someone would stand up, draw out a gun, and shoot you in the heart?
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      Jan 24 2014: Thank you. After I read your comment I evaluated myself. I just need to get out of my own way. I grew up not speaking unless spoken to, and when I did speak no one was interested in what I had to say, so I started writing down all of my thoughts and emotions, and keeping to myself. I have noticed a significant change in my point of view from when I was an adolescent, to now. I have grown a lot intellectually. I used to think about who I had a crush on and how the kids in gym class treated me. Now I think of how the world works, and the psychology of the people around me. I sometimes get lost in my head with the deep thoughts that I think. I do really want to verbalize what I think to others, but first I need to learn how to reconnect my mouth to my brain, and I think I know how I am going to do it. I am simply going to speak more. I do notice something good that comes out of not talking a lot, and that is that you learn to really listen to someone.
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        Jan 24 2014: is it a case where you want to get up front of an audience again and perform, or speak? What sort of audience?

        Sometimes a way to fake it until you make it is to simply repeat what the other has said. Let's say someone has said something to you, they might say "I don't like Joe." Now you're not sure how you feel about Joe, but you feel like the other person wants your opinion, so, to stall for time a little bit, you might say "You don't like Joe? Let me see, how do I feel about Joe? Well, he's nice sometimes, other times he's mean, well, I probably give him a 6 on a scale of 10." But you see, you gain time at the beginning by simply repeating back what the other person said, although in question form. Does it work for you, Hannah?
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          Jan 25 2014: I find myself doing that sometimes, like today in my psychology class we were talking about guns, and the instructor said that having a gun makes you dangerous. I think he said that to get people to disagree with him, the i proposed that it wasn't the gun that made the person violent, but that person's violence that led them to have a gun. We also were talking about how alcoholism is hereditary, and I asked if it was a gene, or if it was the fact that we learn from our parent's example. I figured out that there actually is a gene in your brain that causes you to become an alcoholic if your not careful. That is interesting. This was the first time that I have added input in my class, and it made me look less like I didn't know what I was doing. I enjoyed the felling.
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        Jan 25 2014: well, what would you have done if your professor had then said something strong, like "You're crazy, the statistics are all on my side," then waited for you to say something, and your mind went blank? How would you fake it until you made it?
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          Jan 25 2014: I can accept being wrong if I actually am, but if I know for a fact that I am not wrong, and he told me that I am, that would not be the appropriate situation to fake it. Further more I do not fake intelligence, I fake courage, so maybe I would pretend to not feel stupid if he were to prove me wrong and I would say "thank you for actually teaching me something.', but if I knew that I was right then I might tell the instructor that I need more time to think about it, then the next class I would explain why I feel that I am right, in more depth. I want to get better at connecting my brain to mouth on spot like that, but its hard for me, because like I said I grew up quiet.
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        Jan 25 2014: well, what I was thinking about, Hannah, is let's say your professor is normally a calm guy. So one day this calm guy says something and you put up your hand and say "I disagree." And for some reason your disagreeing angers this calm guy, and he says in a sharp, angry voice "You're crazy, I know what I'm talking about." And you're so surprised by his sudden emotion that you can't think, your mind freezes. What are you going to do to hold the floor until you can recover, until you can think about what he said and form a coherent reply?

        Now were your parents supportive of you growing up, if you said something did they listen and think about what you said, or did they just say "Shut up, you're stupid."?
  • Jan 22 2014: Once I read a book which was sth about psychological issue,it mentioned why people felt nervous,because we care too much how others look about us but not immerse ourself into the thing we are doing,it is definitely from our inner minds.So I understand why 'our the most enemy isn't anything but ourselves'