I often spend time thinking about ways I can improve myself. Not just intellectually but as a person overall. Someone who’s more compassionate, more tolerant of things like stupidity and drama and bad grammar, volunteers more and works harder to accomplish my goals and spends less time binge watching Netflix, thinking of ways to eat peanut butter, or obsessing over what book to read next.
The danger with thinking, though, is that the more time I spend in my head, the more negative thoughts I have that are unrelated to what I initially started thinking about (I’m still trying to figure out how this makes sense but I suppose when you battle major self-esteem issues like I do, the mind is like a deserted island and when you’re alone with yourself too much, you start making things up that might also be a little true). Thoughts like:
I’ll never lose the weight. I’m destined to be fat forever.
I’ll never finish my book. I’m a terrible writer. Who wants to read what I write anyway?
I’m very unlikable. Perhaps this is why I have so few friends and don’t get invited places.
I’ll never get a job. I’ve been out of work too long and I have no skills left.
I’m not a good mother/wife. I’m incredibly lazy and contribute nothing to my family.
Most days, my head is not a fun place to live.
One of my main problems is that I often interchange the thoughts listed above with traits like the fact that I will never be tall. I will never need a Wonderbra. I will never have blue eyes without the assistance of contacts. I will never be bald (although the amount of shedding I do daily seems to indicate otherwise). I will never be able to stand the smell or taste of oranges. I will never enjoy the feel of satin. I will never be an early riser. I will never be tan, even with spending hours in the sun.
Did you notice the difference between the two lists? How the things on the second list are physical characteristics? And how the things in the first list are thoughts and personality traits? Totally different from each other. Yet I struggle with separating them. Because to me, who I am and who I am are completely intertwined. Like being short and having brown eyes somehow makes me a bad writer or unemployable.
Something my idiot therapist did teach me is that my mind maps all point the wrong way and I need to get reoriented so I follow the right path. The problem comes with the fact that I have always had a poor sense of direction. It takes me a lot of wrong turns before I get to where I’m going and while I’m not 100% sure exactly where I am now, I do know that finally acknowledging the difference between what I can change and what I can’t is a huge step towards the self-improvement I crave.
Cognitively, I know what I think about myself is ridiculous. For starters, it’s mostly untrue. Then there’s the undeniable fact that there’s absolutely nothing I can’t change without motivation, desire, and hustle. And hard work. All of which I’m ready, willing, and able to do. Assuming I can get out of my own way.
I’m a hell of a roadblock.
How about you guys? Are you able to get out of your own way or do you get stuck?