I received a message yesterday on Twitter from someone who asked “What do you actually think about yourself? How do you see yourself?” and I realised that this is a question that I have been skirting around and generally avoiding so far…. An enormous can of worms.
The short answer I suppose is that I don’t really like myself very much at all. I see myself generally as a failure and as someone who is deeply flawed. I don’t ‘hate’ myself, but I do have very low self-esteem. I look at my life and wonder why I don’t have the things that so many other people have. I’m Mr Average and I hate that. I constantly try and remind myself that I have so very much compared to so many people, but I just can’t help turning my sights towards and comparing myself to those that are richer, more successful, more popular, more respected, more attractive, more intelligent, better at this, better at that, got a bigger house, live in a better area, go on more exotic holidays, have more friends… you get the idea. I look at those people (there seem to be so many!) and wonder where I went wrong. Why don’t I have those things? Those qualities? I’ve tried really hard to convince myself that I am happy with my lot, but the truth is I’m not. Then I try and think how I can get to where I want to be and I realise that I don’t actually know where I want to be, or indeed who. I waste so much energy on envy, but actually I am envious of an ideal that doesn’t actually exist. Yes that person might have a more impressive job, earn more money and live in a bigger house etc. but that doesn’t make them happier. Their job is probably so stressful it will send them to an early grave, they probably don’t have time to spend the extra money they earn or enjoy their big house, and their family life could be a total nightmare.
So I’m often judging my life against a perceived ideal, not a reality – I can’t possibly win this one but I just can’t stop myself from doing it, and I can’t stop myself from feeling dissatisfied with my own life or achievements. I sometimes do manage to stop myself from thinking like this, and to be thankful for what I have, but it always creeps back to the envy and dissatisfaction.
What elements of my life am I unhappy with? OK – lets make another list:
In no particular order…
1. My job. I am 41 years old and I am someones assistant. I should have my own company or be the boss by now but I don’t particularly like the industry i work in and there is no real way for me to progress my career where I am. So I want a new job in a new industry but have no idea what industry or what role I want to fulfill.
2. Friends. My circle of friends is ever decreasing. Mainly losses to marriage and children, but also the occasional falling out. The friends I have left I don’t really share any common interests with.
3. Music. I’m a musician and occasional song-writer and I record music which I actually like, but unfortunately no one else does. My friends & family aren’t really interested which is a very bitter pill to swallow as it’s probably the only real passion in life that I have. This lack of interest has slowly eroded my confidence and love of making music. This probably needs it’s own post.
4. Being Single (& the reasons). This one is incredibly complex! I have been meaning to get stuck into writing about this area of my life since I started this blog, but I keep putting it off. It is probably central to everything…
5. My grumpiness / temper / general temperament.
6. My lack of motivation and drive
7. My low self-esteem and opinion of myself
And there we are – full circle. I think that pretty much covered every single aspect of my life. So where the fuck do I go from here?
The other part to the Twitter question: How do I see myself? Again in no particular order: Lazy, unmotivated, average, Jack-of-all-trades master of none, underachiever, damaged, cynical, grumpy, sometimes funny, often irreverent, defeatist, attention seeking (to a degree), lost, directionless, depressive, somewhat bi-polar (never tested or diagnosed), cowardly, dissatisfied, good listener, supportive, empathetic, strong in a crisis (someone elses), very loyal, good at seeing the bigger picture (apart from when it comes to my own life), polite, well-mannered (generally), perfectionist of sorts, wannabe optimist, addictive personality, self-deceiving, contradictory, inferior, self-conscious, self-centred, somewhat vain, self-loathing…
…and I think reading that list back I’d better include: confused.
Oh blimey – that’s a worrying list.