when it’s hard to like yourself

I just finished reading Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums. It’s the first Kerouac novel I’ve read, and I’m not going to kid you – it was a challenge to adapt to his writing style. Once you get the rhythm, however, wow. He was brilliant. His descriptions are fantastic, and his writing is intense. He pulls you into his world and keeps you there, sharing his thoughts and philosophies, and detailing what life was like for those in the beat generation, for those who dropped out.

It’s all philosophy and striving for contentment and learning to just be.

There were also some very interesting parties.

I wish I’d been there.

I wish I could write like that.

My feelings about my writing are problematic.

My feelings about everything I do are problematic, for that matter. My brain is not a member of my fan club and it seems to take great pleasure in pointing out my shortcomings. Why do our brains do that to us? It seems counter-productive to attack oneself for any reason.

The problem I have with my writing is that I sound like me, and I kind of hate that. I want to sound like Kerouac, or Stephen King, or J. K. Rowling, or Marcus Aurelius.

Why is it that being ourselves and liking ourselves has become so difficult for so many?

I want to be brilliant; doing the best I can never seems to be enough for me. No matter what I do, or how well I strive to execute something, in my own judgement, I always fall short.

That’s the problem with perfectionism and making comparisons. They’re harmful behaviours, but it’s hard to stop them. I don’t look like the people I admire for their appearance, I don’t sound like the people I admire for their intelligence, I don’t paint like great artists, I’m not as physical as top athletes, and I’m not the life of the party. When I compare, my brain points out all the ways I don’t measure up.

I’m a well-rounded average and my brain tells me that’s not enough.

My negativity doesn’t push me to greater heights, instead it leaves me feeling insufficient and miserable. So why then, do I keep behaving this way?

Habit, I supposed. So many things we do are attributable to that characteristic. I am a fan of inertia. I keep doing what I’ve always done, long past the time that it has ceased to serve me.

Nor is credit is given for the changes I’ve made, for the alterations and improvements.

I feel like a train at times, chugging along a predetermined path.

Which is an inaccurate analogy, because of course, I can change. A better analogy is that of a car, driving down a multi-lane highway (I hate those). It’s easy to stay in the same lane. There’s no risk of impact, no chance of sideswipe. Unfortunately, when you stay in the same lane, you don’t get where you need to go.

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