Why Am I So Hard On Myself?

Saturday 23 August, 2003

Nine days ago, I met up with Eric in London and we flew together to Spain to work on his house. We worked on various building projects: tiling one of the terraces; building a barbecue; and erecting a structure to support part of the ground floor ceiling. It was great to spend time with Eric. What follows are the insights from my time with him and his family. (Karaj told me to contemplate a return to discipline while I am away.)

Friday 15th
I prefer to work rather than laze around. I said too much and tried to prove myself. Stop this. Also, I’m trying too hard on the back of the wedding success. Again, there is no need. Remember: competency is about slowing down.

Saturday 16th
Too much thinking and not enough talking is not good, but that is often the way I like it. When I do talk I am often at a loss for what to say and end up waffling unnecessarily. I’m still comparing and not happy in or with myself. Stop trying to prove yourself and relax.

Sunday 17th
At breakfast I felt a desire to talk about my emotions. Just get on with life. During dinner I was quiet but not withdrawn. (I am quiet, I am serious, and it’s okay.)

Monday 18th
My biggest problem is not accepting who I am. Only when I accept myself can I move forward. Be me and be happy with that. That’s all I have to do. Fuck it, I am who I am and if people accepted me when I was an argumentative idiot, then what’s my problem now?

Tuesday 19th
Excellent work. We both enjoyed it more today. I was more myself today too. I still take the jibes personally, though.

Wednesday 20th
We built the two towers on the ground floor. These will support the lintel, which will support the ceiling. In the evening, we watched a couple of movies. Eric fell asleep and I watched the final film with the women. I noticed how relaxed I was with them and how easy it was to have fun and be myself whereas with Eric I am trying to prove myself. Idiot.

Thursday 21st
Went to the pub with Eric. We played pool, which was great fun and a little competitive. At one point, when I was getting into the competitive spirit of things, Eric turned to me and said: ‘I like it when you’re like this.’ I am at my best when I am confronting people and causing them to think or react. Nevertheless, this comment of Eric’s caused me to stop and think for the umpteenth time this week ‘Who the fuck am I?’ By the time we returned to the house, I was slightly drunk and much more sociable as a result. When I’m relaxed, I’m good company, but when I sit and analyse everything I’m not. I let myself down with my own negative thoughts about myself. I am much better (in lots of things) than I give myself credit for. Why am I so hard on myself?

Friday 22nd
In the afternoon, the main job was to put the 4-metre long lintel in place to support the ceiling. I was extremely concerned about this. The week has gone well and this was the last job. The lintel was exceptionally heavy and could cause untold damage and injury if anything went wrong. Was I being negative, paranoid or was this an instinct. I remained calm and prayed, telling myself that if we could pull this one off then it is one in the eye for my paranoia. When we moved it into place, Eric said there was no way we could do it. I felt relieved. I had not wanted to verbalise my own negativity in case it was just that – negativity. However, when we rested it against one wall the whole thing became possible. I was constantly on the lookout and showed caution at every turn. I wanted to make sure everything went smoothly. In the end, after taking everything slowly, we managed it. A great achievement and an immense relief.

Today
Very tired and stiff this morning: right elbow, left shoulder, left groin, lower back and fingers. Eric drove me to the airport, where our goodbye was quick, easy and without sentiment. Alone in the airport, I am immediately relaxed. I like being on my own, yet I crave the approval of my peers.


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