Self-improvement or bust?

I’ve touched on this one in previous blogs. I’m on it again, so clearly it’s a subject close to my heart, or is it?

The thing is, it seems that I’ve gone through my whole life with a nagging Know-all situated somewhere behind my right shoulder, who just doesn’t know when to let it rest. I keep trying to call out Know-all and get rid of him/her. I move, change jobs, change lifestyle but still nagging Know-all is stalking me.

Yesterday, I got up in a reasonably good mood, with no particular plans for the day. We usually see my partner’s grandchildren on Sundays, but they were otherwise engaged so we had unexpected free time.

The weather was pants – cold, wet and miserable. All my plans for interesting dog walks took a hit in the face of driving rain and glowering skies. Just stick to the usual stomp around the golf course and get back, soon as, I said to partner. That we did, but from first thing Sunday morning, Know-all steps up on steroids, shouting at me that I’m not doing enough, I’m giving up too easily and when am I going to go out and get another job? It’s been 4 years since I left my last job. Is that it? asks Know-all querulously. Look at all those other folk, hacking away full time and doing loads more than you.

“You should have done this. You shouldn’t have done that. Why did you say that? Why didn’t you say this? Why are you doing that? Why aren’t you going to do this? Look at so-and-so. Why aren’t you doing what they’re doing?”

These are typical Know-all questions, by the way.

Hmmm. I argue fiercely with Know-all that I worked hard in a stressful job, for many years, cared for my elderly parents, tried to be a good partner and friend and loads of other stuff. Blah, blah, blah. Know-all’s not having it. When I point to the new stuff I have done since leaving my job, Know-all is very unimpressed. When I mention that I’m going to write a novel and I’m definitely going to finish it, this time, no matter what, I thought Know-all was going to swallow itself, so enormous was the snort of derision that met my protestations.

As previously blogged, I have tried to work on this self-critical thing and stop beating myself up and making unhelpful comparisons to other people. Just when I think I might be getting somewhere, Know-all comes hurtling at me from the Forest of Find Fault and I am going backwards again. Does this happen to other folk? I ask myself. Is it a good thing to perpetually push oneself through life and daily, nay, hourly, assess one’s progress only to deliver a critical end of term report? Is this mainly a feminine issue or do men suffer this sort of stuff as well? At what point, if at all, should one definitely accept oneself as one is?

I don’t think complacency is the answer here and it’s good to challenge and push oneself, but there has to be time off for good behaviour, at some point. The joke here is that I criticise myself for criticising myself. Really? Get a life, somewhere in all of this.

I do think I’m making progress, despite all of the above, but I could do better. OMG! There I go again…..