Not gonna lie. Today’s not been excellent for me.
In a testament to how pitiful I am, I’m someone for whom even the slightest irritation can bog down my entire day. Even something as minor as a bad experience with a show or, in today’s case, a few bad rounds of a videogame. How amazingly pathetic is that? When other people around the world are dealing with genuinely pressing concerns, here I am. Brooding because I suck at a stupid game.
Of course, me being bad at a game is just a gateway to other issues. Once my mind goes in that direction, it doesn’t relent. It has every intention of holding me there, going well out of its way to form connections to every other part of me that’s awful. It must be such a fun game for it to play, reminding me of all the ways I’m less than.
I’ve been told the best thing to do is get your mind off of it by doing something to distract it. But what would I even do? Watch something and maybe talk about it? “You could do that. But you don’t feel anything and no one cares about your input.” Oh. Right. Well, maybe I can play a videogame. “That could be fun… if losing a ton is fun for you. Or you could win. But it would probably just be everyone else carrying you.” Yeah… I suppose. I know. I’ll write something. “And sit for hours, spinning your wheels on fruitless ideas that no one’s gonna read, anyway?” Ah. It’s pretty obvious when you put it like that.
That’s the kind of stuff my head tells me. Constantly. Is it any wonder I get to places where all I feel any comfort in doing is just going to bed? As if it’s telling me “Why do anything when everyone else is or will be better than you anyway? Just sleep.” My mind doesn’t allow for a sense of accomplishment. Hardly anything ever feels rewarding. When it does, it’s fleeting, at best. So quickly and easily replaced by everything else. But I can’t really describe the sensation. It’s like being constricted or crushed, but mentally.
It’s debilitating. Even today, I was supposed to write two episode reviews and get some work done on some Burning Sky stuff. But no. I decided to put in a couple hours of gaming first… then somehow spent the rest of my day in bed, on and off. It’s especially funny because the two trains of thought are entirely contradictory. “Honestly, who cares about my episode reviews anyway? They’re hardly saying anything worthwhile.” It’s a sensation that runs directly counter to how much missing these self-imposed deadlines makes me feel like an utter failure. “If nothing else, you could at least try to be punctual.” Why stress over it if no one cares, right?
At least it wasn’t as bad as last time? Telling a friend you’d just be wasting his time when he asks you to play some rounds with him is an upgrade over repeatedly playing out an argument in your head that has you verbally throwing around words like “worthless” and “screw-up” about yourself. I guess. I wasn’t unable to move. And I haven’t non-referentially said the sentence “I hate myself” today. So there’s a win.
I don’t feel up to work tomorrow. But when the last time the world stopped turning because someone wanted it to? Knowing me I’ll just go to bed, wake up, and be back to neutral until something else drags my mind into that place again. Who knows? It might be days before I feel like this again. Weeks, even. At least it’s triggered and not random. I’ll probably have a decent enough day tomorrow. I’ll just spend it hollowly complaining with my coworkers about how much the job sucks, thinly veiling that deflection of my own inadequacy as humor, like I always do out of habit. Then I’ll go home, hop on a meeting with Bob, do some writing for our next project, then spend the rest of the evening just watching videos on YouTube or something until it’s time to repeat the process. Oh. And I’ll probably upload my anime reviews tomorrow. So there’s that.
Maybe this’ll finally all just go away when we’ve actually started publishing our stuff. Maybe that’ll make me feel like I’ve actually managed to accomplish something, for once. That’d be nice.
I’m not really sure I’m doing this right. Journaling is supposed to help, from what I’ve been told. This feels… strangely self-defeating. Leave it to me to somehow turn journaling into a task that I could conceivably “fail” at. Well, whatever. I’m going to bed, now. A far cry from “early to bed, early to rise,” but I’ve spent enough of today sleeping to probably make up the difference.
You are far from pitiful. You simply are a person, like many, who give every win and every loss, no matter how trivial, FAR more credence than either deserve. One must qualify the importance and significance of everything he takes on PRIOR to engaging him/herself in it, so the results do not have an effect greater, positively or negatively, than they should.
I read something an NFL coach said recently that resonated with me, because it applied to me in my earlier years. He said that wins had far less effect on him than losses, regardless of the importance of the win. In other words he was saying that winning the Super Bowl, while a great and ultimate accomplishment, has far less of an impact on him mentally than losing in an earlier round of the playoffs. In the same light, the Washington Nationals won the World Series two months ago. An accomplishment the organization hadn’t experience in over 100 years. But the ace pitcher, who was a big reason for their success this year, says the effect from losing the previous year has more of an effect on him NOW than winning the ultimate prize THIS year does.
For many of us, we wrongly let the sting and pain of losing resonate with us in a way winning rarely does. This is what you must overcome. Losing a trivial game is setting a tone within you that is affecting your entire psyche, even though you realize how insignificant the game is.
Distracting yourself with other things isn’t the answer, because you have already allowed yourself to slip into a funk that will effect any task you take up as a distraction. So eventually you’ll end on reflecting again on the loss once the distraction has run its course. The key is recognizing the significance of the win or loss BEFORE you even play the game or take on the tasks. Or else you’ll find yourself sleeping a lot. A conscious effort to qualify the things you are doing before doing them, will reduce the effect insignificant things have on your psyche.
But it seems you’re already aware of this error in judgment. You state that the effects of accomplishments are “fleeting, at best”, while losses ruin your day and make you want to sleep. I hope we can talk about ways you can assess value and effect prior to taking on a task.
Next, let me touch on this defeatist mindset you have adopted when it comes to your creativity and how you, again like many, critique your own work far more harshly than you would critique the work of someone else.
Your gifts are real and they are yours. Your creations are real and they belong to you. They can be as fantastical and bizarre or as mellow as you create them. But once they are in existence, they are yours. What someone else does has no effect on what you have created. How much someone likes someone else’s work has no baring on your creation, just as how much someone likes your work has no baring on another person’s creation. That you have the ability to create something original is a gift. Respect YOUR gifts and their value apart from any other creation by anyone else. I have engaged in creative works my entire life. Once I create something its in existence and it is as it was intended to be. I can tweak and edit and re-write and re-produce it til the cows come home, but the gist of it doesn’t really change. It has been created and it is what it was intended to be. And that is the case whether anyone ever reads it or hears it or favors someone else’s piece over mine. Don’t judge your work against what someone else has done or may do. Their creation is not yours. And even the general public being aware of their creation more than your doesn’t lessen what you have created. Of course we all want to be known for what we have created. And hopefully God allows that to happen. But the best thing about creating an original work is that its not like being an athlete where your talent is pitted against someone else with the same talent. Your talent and is your own. It’s unique. It’s original. It’s special. So pit it against no one. Respect their gift. But respect your own gift equally.
Nothing you have created is a waste. ALL of it is a part of your creative expression and has value. You are a gifted young man. Where you are now in your life-long maturation process is not the goal you need to be focused on. Most of us have to find our way. You are blessed to have people who love you and support your creativity and allow you to continue honing your craft while you are making a way through your day to day tasks. Count that as a blessing and favor, because there are many who don’t have your gifts or the support you have around you.
I hope we can also talk about what joy really is and the importance of recognizing it in everything. Many of us struggle because we can easily find misery in every situation but have difficulty finding the joy that is just as apparent if we allow ourselves to recognize it.
Love you son.
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Thanks, dad. We’ll talk soon.
I used to get in slumps when I went through a period of unemployment and lethargy several years ago.
I then started to self reflect more often. Set aside some time every once in a while, go for a walk while listening to songs that I consider “introspective” – (My Immortal – Evanescence, 4am – Our Lady Peace are some examples of songs I like to use, generally songs with an emotional component) and then just pick myself apart.
Doesn’t have to be the same criteria every time, but these are the sorts of things I examine about myself:
– Where I was, where I am, where I’d like to be
– Personal flaws (for example measure yourself against the seven deadly sins – which are you most guilty of, why, and how could you change your mindset going forward? Or what’s something that’s troubled you, and what can you do about it? If nothing, why is it troubling you?)
– Productivity and my daily routine – what can I be doing to self-improve? How can I ensure that tomorrow I will be a better me than I am today?
– What makes me happy, what do I want to see / do more of
Things like this. The point is basically to stop and take stock of your life, where you are, and where you want to go. Lot of times we get caught in autopilot just going to work and then going home to sleep, over and over, without ever stopping to actually look at ourselves and figure things out. How can you move forward if you don’t even know what forward is?
And moving in the direction that you determine is forward, achieving personal goals, no matter how small they may seem, can help you go to sleep every night feeling more satisfied. Just remember that this is all about YOU, not anyone else or what anyone else is doing. Even the most “successful” people on earth often fall into misery. If you consider writing a single blog post an achievement, let it be an achievement. It all comes down to what standards you set for yourself, what criticisms you find of yourself…
Even setting aside 10 minutes per day to do stretches for example is productive in it’s own way. Small steps don’t seem like much till you look around and realize you’ve walked miles. And even self reflecting doesn’t have to be productive. You could spend an entire hour thinking about a single question about yourself, and not even find an answer. But the thing is, if you never look, you’ll never find what you’re looking for.
I think it’s more important to recognize your own shortcomings and then address what you can do about them than to just feel bad about yourself and not do anything about it. I chastise myself all the time, fail to reach my own standards all the time, but I’ve also accomplished a lot since I started talking with myself more, picking myself apart more. Build yourself up, be your own worst critic and your biggest supporter.
Anyways, I don’t mean to sound like I know everything, I only know what I know worked for myself and it may not be a one size fits all solution. Just something you can consider if you want, because it’s worked for me and whenever I feel like I’m falling into a slump I take some time to re-evaluate myself. If you wanted to give it a try, I hope it could help you too.
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Hey, dude. Advice is advice. And I deeply appreciate it. Partially what I made the new blog for, yeah? To take it all in from anyone willing to share their own input and figure out what all works for me. Thanks.
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