bunt sign

Friday, October 6, 2000

Sometimes I'm too hard on myself. I look at how I spend my days (and nights) and measure them against the standards set by others, or by myself on behalf of others. That's when I realize how far short I fall. I don't really make much of an effort to be as good a person as the people I admire. I'm as good as I have to be, as good as I can be. I can beat myself up over the disparity between what I am and what I think I could be.

But how is it being hard on myself to look at my life realistically? If I'm honest, I'm probably too easy on myself more often than I'm too hard. I let myself off the hook for my failings, because the turmoil I create by examining them too closely seems unnecessarily unpleasant. The less I think about how I could be better, the happier I am being myself. I'm just not fully convinced that I am myself, and not someone playing a bit part in my own life.

It's so hard for me to step back from my life and assess it objectively. I guess that's a problem for anyone, but I think there are a lot of people in the world who don't even try. And maybe that's the way to go. Just live your life, do what you feel, and don't try to put a spin on it. Don't try to give perspective to something that just is.

The only purpose of analyzing would be to find elements that could be changed to improve the whole. Break it down, clean and polish the parts and pieces, replace those that don't work, and put it back together, a shiny new life.

When I try to do this, I end up obsessing over my limitations. I think that's why I cut myself so much slack the rest of the time. If I spend too much time in close self-scrutiny, I get a terrifically unflattering picture of myself that I can't shake. I get in one of those downward spirals that take days to recover from.

Since I gloss over the warts on my soul most of the time, I give myself few chances to make repairs. I skate by with as little effort as possible, because I haven't had much success with past improvement projects. I get bogged down in the details, to the point that the only sanity-saving solution is to give up and retreat from mindfulness back to the usual unconscious state.

When my head gets all twisted around like this, I don't know where to let it take me. Is it being too hard on myself to be hard on myself for being too easy on myself? After all, there's no natural law that says I have to make a work project out of living.

I've had too much time to think tonight, and I'm ill prepared for it. There's no use looking at something this closely if you're not ready to make some use out of what you find. And analyzing the process of analyzing is the most unproductive kind of mental exercise.

Just because I'm not following through tonight, though, doesn't mean I should give up on self-improvement. I know, even without the statistical output, that there are areas of my life that would benefit from a conscious program of inner diet and exercise. Most of my life, maybe. Too daunting a task to take on, almost. I'm intimidated by the possibilities, and it's way too easy to put them aside and go on as I've been doing.

Despite all my doubts that I'm living even close to my potential, the fact is that I'll probably keep coasting until I find myself skidding out of control or drowning in a ditch. Sometimes I look down so much that I can't see the sun or the sky. When I hit bottom, there'll be nowhere to look but up.

previousbunt signemailnext

Latest recommendation:

You won't be able to resist joining Mo's list after reading the poem in this entry.

Other recent recommendations can be found on the links page.
Subscribe to the list to be notified of updates.