Live Inside Out Not Outside In!


beware…the content of this blog may apply to grown ups ūüėČ


Dana-1One thing I have said to my own kids and my students, too, is that:

everything happens for a reason.

We may not always know the¬†lessons¬†in the stuff that happens to us, and that’s because we sometimes get so caught up and attached to what WE¬†WANT¬†TO HAPPEN!

In other words, WE WANT CONTROL, RIGHT????

FLASHBACK to my chubby, freckly, middle-school self: 

I can remember trying to¬†get¬†other kids to like me or be nice to me.¬†That sounds so weird to me as I write it down as a grown up (although I must admit I still catch myself doing it!!!! YIKES! Please don’t tell anyone!)


In 6th grade, I remember¬†“liking”¬†a boy named Kenny (last name to remain anonymous…¬†shout out to Kenny if you’re reading my blog!), and I wanted him to “go” with me (whatever that means in middle school…). I gave him, like, over 20 packs of gum, wrote notes to him, took ridiculous detours through my school so I would see him between classes, and lots of other¬†cRaZy¬†stuff.

…what we do for love… ūüėČ

GUESS WHAT?…Kenny never¬†“liked”¬†me back¬†ūüôĀ ¬†sad face ¬†and, of course, in my mind¬†I made up¬†that it was because I was chubby and freckly (he never told me that, though–he barely talked to me at all!)

DANG[email protected]@#^%&% …that was a lot of gum…


I know you can all relate—like, for example, thinking:

If I keep kissing butt to the kids who¬†(I think)¬†don’t like me . . .

  • maybe they’ll¬†stop treating me like¬†crap
  • maybe they’ll quit¬†taking my stuff¬†or¬†copying off my homework
  • or even stop¬†hating¬†me on Facebook
  • or at the very least maybe they will¬†LEAVE ME THE HE(L)K ALONE!¬†(I can remember actually praying about this one as a kid…)

When I was¬†really¬†in a fantasy land, the stuff I made up in my head was even more wishful–like, for example, thinking:

  • maybe they’ll invite me to their¬†lunch table¬†(that’s a huge one!!!!)
  • maybe I’ll get to go to one of their¬†sleepovers
  • maybe we could go to¬†summer camp¬†together!

You get the picture, right?

Trying to manage what other people think or feel about us is living from the¬†OUT:SIDE IN.¬†Living from the¬†OUT:SIDE IN¬†is, quite frankly, a butt load of work. But here’s the good news:

You can relax…¬†(and actually, take a deep breath now! I am¬†controlling¬†you! LOL!)

Living from the¬†IN:SIDE OUT,¬†not the¬†OUT:SIDE IN, is much easier!¬†And,¬†(top secret information)¬†even some of the grown ups don’t know this…but you can share it with them, if you think they are ready…

What I know now, is that I can’t¬†get¬†other people to like me, be nice to me, or anything else! My job is to¬†be¬†myself¬†(who, BTW, is very likable!), like and love¬†myself, ¬†and¬†surround¬†myself¬†with others who like¬†me¬†for¬†me. I don’t actually have to¬†DO¬†anything–just be¬†myself. Whew!

I wish I would have known this stuff earlier…(which is one awesome reason I started my blog, really).

Actually, knowing now that this stuff is just plain out of my control is such a relief!

And guess what? I get to breathe, enjoy myself, and just be the best person/mom/teacher/friend I can be… and I think I actually do a better job of¬†all¬†those things when I am not freaking out trying to control things from the¬†OUT:SIDE IN¬†all the time!!!!!

Let me know what your thoughts and feelings are!

Love and Light,



Dana Lynne Curry, Ph.D., has been teaching middle school English (with no low bun) for over 23 years. She is a gReaT-fuL Writer, Storyteller, Teacher, Student, Irreverent GoofBall, Blogger, Servant, Philosopher, Spiritual Collagist (is that a word?), Mama, LoVer of LiFe!, Amazing Friend, and one cOOL pUsSy caT!! Find Dana at funfreeME  on Facebook and on Twitter @funfreeMe1.

  • Laurendecabia

    Excellent blog!

    • Roz

      To Thine Own Self Be True . I am full steam ahead with what u are saying , this is a light bulb moment for me . I have a lot to learn and do not know where to start , any suggestions any one please . Blessings Roz

      • Dana

        Well, let’s see–
        I think what has worked for me first is becoming quiet with me; listening to my inner voice. I do this through connecting with nature, meditating, yoga, and journaling.
        Another amazing thing is to be consciously present and engaged with what is directly in front of me. It makes me feel more fully alive.
        Getting down to the nitty-gritty: when I’m really racing, I just BREATHE and concentrate on my own breath.

    • Dana

      Thank you so very much!

  • Luz

    Completely Agree! Living IN:SIDE OUT is our way to happiness, peace and love. Thank you for reminding us of this powerful truth! 

    • Dana

      Question is, how do we teach our kids about Living IN:SIDE out?

      • Patty

        Great question Dana!¬† I think it’s stories, examples in their lives, doing experiments with them…particularly ones with play and fun.¬† Change the ‘I don’t think I can do that’ to ‘I did it! with a game, like an Improv game, where they experience themselves differently.¬† Thanks for the work you are doing with kids!!!¬†

        • Dana

          ¬†I think there is a book for kids/teens incubating in me called “Living from the OUT:SIDE IN!”

  • Phil Garcia

    Loved the blog. It resonates with me back ten years ago, when I used outside things to validate me. Since then, my spiritual journey has enlightened me to a place where knowing that life is not about them, it is about me. It an inside Job. 
    Walk with purpose.Felipe.

    • Dana

      Hi Phil–
      Wonderful! We all learn in our own time; I know some of my greatest lessons have been in the past 5 years. It truly is an inside job.

  • Ojars Greste

    Thanks for your thoughts. In years I am very grown up, but have realized that I am trying to please the lady who is currently making my heart beat faster. You have reminded me that it is much better to be authentic to myself – it’s being authentic that makes you attractive. Thank you. All the best. OjńĀrs

    • Dana

      ¬†You are the only one who can be authentically YOU! That’s why YOU are here!

  • Drew

    SO awesome Dana!! Thank you my fellow educator… VERY very well said! So true, and like you if I had known this when “I” was in Middle school, WOW– the amount of energy I could have saved. Took a lot of undoing, but now today Im learning this very valuable lesson… life is getting sweeter! Thank you!!

    • Dana

      ¬†Thanks, Drew–you are sweet!
      I, too, remember middle school as being, well, TERRIFYING. I walked around constantly in fear; I am so grateful I no longer believe the crappy stuff I used to think and say about myself. I have learned that thoughts are not necessarily true, and neither is anything that anyone says about me. I know my truth and I am in charge of it.

  • Thompsly

    You’re cute, I enjoyed your post. I’ve got 10 more years than you teaching and I still remember those wasted packs of gum :)))

    • Dana

      I’m still feeling like a middle(aGed)-schooler (in LiFe!) in so many ways! And–I let my kids chew gum in class!
      Love to be a teacher and learner . . . ūüėČ