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So, Why?

November 30, 2009

Why is it that I so frequently choose to beat myself up over the deserving, underserving and no man’s land of my actions?

Why do I not let myself taste the sweet smell of success, even for a minute of a good grade, a good suggestion or whatever else it may be. Generally, such success needs to be met with chastision and abuse: why thankyou, the work may be good but it could be better, n’est pas? I got the results from last week’s grammar test back today: 67,5%. Not bad, as my teacher said, a lot better than last year’s buuuut in a moment of indecision I changed some of my answers and they were right before; not changing would have meant a First. A lovely shiny first on a scruffy piece of paper. (Although, I suspect, I may not have been pleased with that either…).

Why do I feel this need to berate myself for not having done things well enough? Well enough to who’s standards? My super organised course mate who get work done ages before the deadline? When if we bring it back to real life, recently we’ve been getting similar grades. Why, therefore, am I worrying? I think perhaps part of it is showing myself (and others maybe) that I can still achieve, that I can still do very well academically despite what is going on in my personal life. Perhaps even, to beat the depression: ha! Except that when I don’t perform, or when I feel I’ve not done as well as I could… then it makes me feel worse. There is very little logic behind this decision, this course of behaviour; that I know. But I still feel as if I should always do my best, like in the Guide Promise: “I promise that I will do my best, to love my God, to serve my Queen and Country and to keep the Guide Law”. I may suck at pretty much the other three, but I want to withold my standards for the first.

Why am I so competitive? Who am I trying to kid, or to show off to? Well, I’m already break neck with my mother’s achievement language wise, so anything more will show that I *can* be better than her- I might be bigger, fatter, “have more covering on me”, but you know what? In a couple of years I’ll have a degree. In two languages. And therefore, I *may* be just a tiny little bit better than you. Mean, but true. The fightback at my parents continues: I want to be good. I want to be great. I want praising, the praise I’ll receive half heartedly on results day but will never seem to echo through me again: maybe I just suck at accepting it, or making myself feel it, or maybe there’s a problem here, as in how I want to beat my parents. Healthy competition, sure, great but am I taking it too far?

I guess sometimes I feel a little overshadowed by my father’s unconditional love for my mother, which, although lovely, means that no-one can compare in any way shape or form to my mother. Nothing I do will ever be good enough: she’s thinner, smarter, hardworking… But what am I, and why am I searching for such validations? It makes no sense. Why am I searching for validation from my parents when I’m pretty sure there are lots of other people who could validate me, perhaps people who know me better: friends and my girlfriend. Except I choose to play them down, be ‘over-modest’ in their eyes… except I’m not. Because inside I’m shouting them down like hell: lovely? pretty? awesome? Not me… you must have got the wrong person.

I feel I don’t deserve the positive remarks, in fact, scratch that: I know I don’t; I’m simply not a good enough person to have nice things said about me.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2009 8:54 pm

    Let me tell you something about me. I’m very, very impressed by this post, by the questions you ask in it, and by the answers you seem close to discovering. I’m not saying you are a good person, or that you deserve praise. Pah! What do I care about how good a person you are. I’m just saying I’m impressed, that’s all β€” what you write here has meaning and resonance and truthfulness. Me, I wish for you that all your life had such meaning and resonance and truthfulness.

    • December 1, 2009 11:38 am

      Are we playing spot the psychologist? πŸ˜‰ I think I won! :p

      In seriousness though, Cbtish has a point. You are asking the right questions. Questions I think will help you. You are realising that you don’t let yourself receive praise and that you don’t think you’re worthy of it, which I guess is a step towards realising you should accept praise and realise you’re worthy of it.

      Well done on the result btw xx

      • December 1, 2009 4:02 pm

        Er, the psychologist was mine? If that’s what you mean?

        Realising is a step, doing something about it is a leap!

        Ta, xx

  2. December 1, 2009 7:16 pm

    Kate – I was referring to cbtish’s reply. You could tell it was written by a psychologist!


    • December 1, 2009 9:04 pm

      Ahh okay… just don’t tell him/her (I’ve always wondered I have to say!) that they’re a psychologist: CBT!

      • December 2, 2009 9:52 am

        You’re right β€” best not to tell me, although as it happens I find the idea of being a psychologist rather funny and only slightly insulting. And I’m “him”, but I have only rarely given hints about that.

  3. Alison permalink
    December 1, 2009 8:10 pm

    I am getting good grades now in college and I’m proud of that fact but I am not so keen on the endless praise I am getting off tutors because I am simply not use to it and I find it a little disturbing… One particular tutor has praised me around five times publically since I started college about how good my English is, my assignments, my research, how I present them etc… it’s feels too much to take in, especially when it’s done in ear shot of others!

    I am just not use to being told I am doing so well at something, especially when in my school days I was the complete opposite and most of my work was marked ‘see me’.

    • December 1, 2009 9:08 pm

      I definitely don’t like praise in front of others… I just sort of play it off with a large stick! I’m not used to it, never had it when I was a child, never from a teacher… seems that the french are a lot nicer in terms of this!

      But well done to you too; you’re obviously doing something right! (I’ve found blogging has helped my academic writing no end too- the researching and error checking that I didn’t do before!)

  4. findingmecrazy permalink
    December 2, 2009 12:02 am

    I completely feel everything you’ve written in this post, it’s so hard to just ease up and give yourself a break. I’m always comparing myself to some crazy standard I have in my mind that I can never live up to.
    I guess I should just try to give you the same advice that I’ve been giving myself: eventually you need to realise that holding yourself up to a really high standard isn’t practical and you can never live up to it, try and give yourself a break (and I’ll try and do the same!) x

    • December 2, 2009 11:33 am

      I’ll try πŸ™‚ *Tries not to listen to friend with awfully high standards and then tries to compare herself with that*

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