Sick of Myself

Sometimes, I just don’t know what my problem is.  I mean, I know what my problem is.  Plenty of people have told me what my problem is.  And sometimes I have to admit, they have a point.

Why can’t I improve myself?  I do the same stupid things over and over again that I know are not going to help me achieve any of my life goals.  I make the same mistakes, stick to the same patterns, and generally don’t seem to care.  But I do care.

I really want to fix my issues.  Is it that I don’t know how?  It is just too hard?  Am I too lazy or selfish?  I honestly don’t know why I can’t break free of myself and just be better than I am.  I am a reasonably intelligent person, and one would think that I could figure out a way to stop doing all the things I would like to stop doing.  And yet, here I am.  Being myself.  Doing all the things, good and bad, that I do.

Now before you all start with the commenting, I just want to say that I am not fishing for compliments here, nor sympathy.  I am fully aware of all the awesomeness that I possess.  My frustration is not that I suck, just that I don’t seem to be able to do anything about that parts of me that do.  I know, I know, nobody’s perfect.  But couldn’t I just be a little more perfect?  Is that so much to ask?

Externally I’m doing fine, my career seems to be improving and my family is super cute, but internally I feel stalled.  I don’t need suggestions like “stop being so annoying,” “don’t be so forgetful,” or “try not to be so funny looking.”  Believe me, I know the what.  It’s the how I can’t seem to figure out.  Anyone out there have any tips on meaningful and lasting personal growth?  If not, just send cash.

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  1. Courageous honesty here, Adam. Try getting in touch with Ragnhild Malnati (Silver Spring, MD). She offers a program called Life Stress Reduction. “Stress,” in this case, means anything that disturbs inner peace and happiness (i.e. as opposed to the frequently used, oversimplified definition: way too busy). In my opinion, there isn’t anyone better, especially when you’re having trouble putting your finger on just what it is that’s standing in your way (and there *is* something, or you’d be unstoppable). She will help you see what it is and pull it out like a weed.

    All my best to you,
    Hilary Dean

  2. The thing that’s helped me stop being overwhelmingly blocked is having a couple of friends (not family members) to meet with and talk about my issues over coffee (or beer). They talk about their issues, too, and we kind of push each other to be better without nagging or browbeating. I find that knowing I’m going to talk with equally broken people every week helps to lean me toward self-improvement. They can also see things that I can’t, but without the “tell me how that makes you feel” crap of a therapist.

    Just my two cents.

  3. I’m not certain, but I think the biggest hurdle that you and I both struggle with on this front may be that we shoehorn ourselves into caricatures of ourselves that no longer seem to fit properly. Or, at least, that’s the way I feel when I’m with a group of people. I’ve always felt a lot more comfortable dealing with people one-on-one, because when there’s too much stuff going on at once my brain can’t keep up with my mouth and then I get myself in trouble more often than not. I believe it has something to do with the Krebs cycle.

    The way I look at it, we know there are great people inside of us, we’re just terrible salesmen a lot of the time. Some people know us well enough to see that we’re struggling hard to be better people.

    I’ve recently been utilizing something similar to Carin’s suggestion of simply not burying it like I usually have in the past, and it seems to be rather effective. But it’s an ongoing process, and there’s no easy solution. The struggle itself may end up being the extent of the personal improvement. And that’s okay.

  4. Hi Ad (and Carin and maybe Steve and miscellaneous others I don’t know),

    I should be a better friend. I should read more for school. I should be a better “mom” to my pets. I should exercise more and eat better. I should be more frugal. I should work out my relationship issues rather than repeating the same relationship over and over ad nauseum. I should study more for work so I can be a better nurse.

    But. Tomorrow I’m hanging out with a college friend who I haven’t seen in 5 years. I have been going to all of my classes and being present and participatory. I just spent the past 10 minutes holding and soothing my 19 lb. cat because he was freaking out about who knows what. I’ve been to the gym once this week and am going tonight; ate crackers for snack instead of chocolate. I’ve worked out a budget. I now know what kind of men are toxic to me, even if I don’t always avoid them. I looked up fetal circulation and printed out a few pictures to study. I’m doing the best I can.

    Any self-aware person has things about themselves they’d like to change, and change is crazy-hard. Your relationship with yourself is, apart from your relationship with God, the LONGEST relationship of your life, so you have to find a way to make peace with you and cut yourself a break.

    I know you know this, just like I know you know you’re not alone in feeling this way, but it’s part of my own self-improvement campaign to make “cut yourself a break” a mantra. 🙂

  5. I definitely know how you feel. I have had those feeling myself and sometimes it is hard to break through. And sometimes after trying for a long time, something small happens to make it work.

    For example, I always wanted to be in better shape, but I hated exercising and I was too cheap to get a gym membership, especially since I knew I probably wouldn’t use it. I tried New Year’s Resolutions, tried forcing myself into a workout routine, etc., but nothing ever worked.

    Then I found out about NikePlus that keeps track of the distance and time that you run and gives you feedback during the run. I am such a goal-oriented person that just the simple ability to keep track of my total miles, times, etc. and get feedback when I run faster and/or farther was all I needed! I’ve since run a marathon and a 190-mile relay race.

    Anyway, that’s one example of how something small made a huge difference to me. I don’t know what you are struggling with, but I know I still have struggles that I wish I could overcome myself. I keep trying, seeing what works and what doesn’t work, and trying to take two steps forward for every step back.

    And, of course, I have to admit that both church and family have been great strengths to me as well. Lean on those you love and trust, and they will help support you.

    I’m always here if you need to talk!

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