Something happens inside me when I read well-written works; I develop a writer's envy. I wish I could come up with something as wonderful as what I'm reading. That I could be that funny or that wise, or able to communicate so well my struggles and inner-turmoil. Somewhere within me, my self-esteem takes a total nose-dive and wants to bury it's head in the sand of 'I'm not as good as'.
This is one of those revelation things I discovered about myself while reading the aforementioned book. And through closer examination, I've found that it extends into other areas of my life, not just my writing. I've been on a traffic exchange site where you receive reviews from others about your site, and almost everyone of them has given my writing praise... I say this not to brag, but to demonstrate how pervasive and destructive this line of thinking can be. With triple-digit extremely positive reviews, I still manage to deem myself not good enough in the face of what I consider to be well done. It's all about one's own mind taking over with a skewed perspective and producing an unrealistic and negative self-worth. I believe this is how a skeletal anorexic can look in the mirror and see themselves as fat-- internally-fucked-up-self-image. While mine may not kill me, or even be all that visible to the naked eye, it is there and destructive all the same. It may even be more insidious than anorexia, for without the outward obviousness of suffering from this self-negating delusion, there is no one to step in and try to help you with it.
I've gone for years; sabotaging relationships and my professional life because of this inaccurate, self-imposed self-portrait. I have spent these last few days dissecting this mindset with all the intricacy implemented by an OCD-A-student-in-biology-class. This 'condition' is neither recent, nor something I was born with. It was cultivated at an early age and allowed to fester like an infected splinter for thirty-some-odd years. So, it was about damn time I copped a clue!
I am as good as I was made to be. I can improve my behaviors, but as with everything in life you will be better at some things than others, and there will always be someone who is better at your 'good' things than you are. It is no cause for throwing in the towel and not doing it at all, or taking a defeatist attitude, thereby giving yourself permission to do a slip-shod job.
The only comparisons you make between yourself and another should be for inspiration. If they are so you can have a dialogue inside your head where your ego works to make you feel lousy about yourself, then you are in dangerous and destructive territory. A territory that is just as deadly to your self-worth as anorexia is to your body. It's a sick and twisted perspective that needs to be cured and set right.
Of course, how to do that is different for everyone, but I recommend following this strangle-vine of thought down to the root and digging up how it was that this seed took hold and was able to flourish within you. Then systematically pouring mental herbicide on it by examining your own behavior as it comes up and doing whatever method works for you to change it--in a healthy, balanced way, not going total opposite end of the spectrum like a whore turning into a nun because that is a whole other line of destructive behavior that I won't get into here...
So, thanks Liz, for opening my eyes... I really enjoyed your writing, and I'm also not sure you could have said this better yourself.