Busy Bee

 

Bees in a Box

Bees in a Box (Photo credit: stewickie)

I’m too busy.

I was thinking about my post yesterday, and I am definitely too busy. I know what you’re thinking,(because I’m psychic!) because I thought it too when this post idea popped into my head: If you just said that you don’t have as much to do as you think, how can you really be that busy?

Well it’s all in my perception and attitude about everything. I make myself feel busy with the way I approach everything. It’s like when someone gives you ‘busywork’ because they feel better if you’re doing something rather than nothing. It doesn’t matter what it is, or even if it’s productive so long as it keeps you busy.

That seems to be how my brain has been handling and processing information. It feels better when it’s doing nothing, or everything. It seems to be one of the ways my brain expresses it’s all or nothing mentality. It makes itself feel busy when it’s a little occupied because it doesn’t know how to properly classify the in-between experiences.

I’ve never been particularly great at operating on a spectrum. It’s always been easier for me to think in absolutes. I think that’s what it’s all about, too. Easier. I’ve always taken the easy way out. It’s always been more difficult to think about things on an ever-moving, ever-evolving spectrum.

I can handle it sometimes. Certain issues and concepts I can separate the individual pieces out and think about them one at a time. That creates a crazy amalgam of concepts. The trouble is that I still think of the individual concepts in black and white terms.

I understand the problem with this, but like someone who knows eating hot wings will give them heartburn, I just make the decision. I can lay all the pieces out on the table, I can evaluate them, I can think logically and emotionally about each one. Then I just make a decision without regard to all those individual evaluations.

I just need to work at training myself to view activities for what they are. I am typically more able to do this once the activity has started, but I need to begin to do it all the time. I need to force myself not to feel busy when I’m not actually busy. Maybe it will help me slow down and view things in the proper perspective.

Who Am I?

I’m not talking about some crazy existential, quarter-life crisis here. I just mean, who am I, really?

English: A name label. (Hello, my name is...)

English: A name label. (Hello, my name is…) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it’s a natural desire to try to classify everything. We label things. It helps us to make sense of all the information that we process on a daily basis. People label and group, arrange and organize. Some people are more inclined than others, and some are better at it than the rest of us.

It’s not about judging people, although that happens all too often. It’s about our natural tendency to group things into more manageable information chunks. It’s part of why stereotypes resonate with us and why we find ourselves believing them without much reference information to back them up. What really intrigues me is how we try to do this to ourselves.

It starts with cliques and groups in school. We try to figure out “where we belong” and we tend to gravitate toward people with perceived common characteristics. We think its as simple as aiming for the lowest common denominator, but it’s really about trying to classify ourselves. We’re trying to label and group ourselves. It doesn’t stop in school though.

We tend to find like groups to identify with. Then we start giving ourselves labels and titles. Especially as we become adults. It makes things easier we think. We can speed up social interactions by identifying with certain groups, which will communicate information to other people very quickly.

I could tell people that I am a Sports Fan, I  am a Gamer, a Reader, and I am a Creative. I’ve just attempted to sum up the entirety of my 28 years in 4 classifications. Because it’s easier, right? We all try to find what labels we can give ourselves that are the most descriptive. It saves some of the messier questions. It gives dedicated topics and lines of inquiry that I am comfortable talking in depth about.

What I have really done is tried to simplify who I am. I have tried to compress myself into 4 little boxes for you and for me. Because it’s easier than opening myself up to scrutiny, whether from you or from me. Because we don’t really want other people to know, do we? More to the point, we don’t want ourselves to know, do we?

It’s much easier to call myself those things than it is to tell people about things that really matter. If I were to talk about things that really made me who I am, that really had a profound effect on my life, it would be more uncomfortable. I would have to tell people about how my mother died when I was 9, and how I’m not sure I ever made peace with that, or if I even know how to. I would have to tell people that I don’t know how different my life would have been if I hadn’t had a degenerative hip disease that resulted in a hip replacement that always has, and continues to, limit my physical activity. I would have to tell people about how my constant need for approval consistently puts me in a position where I’m not acting from a place of comfort and confidence, but rather a place of fear and doubt.

See? People don’t really want to hear those things. I’m not sure if I want to dig at those things. It’s much easier to try to label yourself, isn’t it?

Think about it. Think what you tell people, and then think about what really makes you who you are.

Try, just a little. Try sharing a small piece of that with someone close to you, or someplace like a blog. You might find it’s more meaningful that just being another “Sports Fan.”

Pro and Cons

So, furniture delivery tomorrow! Hooray!

A table set for two people.

A table set for two people. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Furniture could be delivered anytime between 7:15 am and 10:15 am. On a Saturday. BOOOO! Hiss!!!!

Whatever. It’s fine. I’m getting old so I’ll probably want to be in bed by midnight anyway.

I reblogged something earlier about insecurities. It got me pondering earlier. I am definitely my harshest critic.

I also have to think that I approach this in a fairly negative way. Some people use criticism as a way to improve. They take a step back and evaluate and allow positive changes to result. I have always taken criticism hard, and self criticism even harder. I can sometimes ignore someone I don’t respect as an authority when they give me some feed back that I don’t agree with. It’s damn near impossible to ignore that voice when it comes from inside my head.

I’ve also always had a brain that was turned up to eleven. I’m not trying to brag about intelligence, I’m just talking  like functioning speed. It was always most evident in grade school when I would think faster than I could write or talk. I would leave multiple words out of sentences when I wrote or get tongue tied trying to explain something. It’s the same thing that bothers me about my writing, and my drawing and computer art: I’ve got a fully completed, beautiful image inside my head, but I can’t get the damn thing out in an intelligible representation.

So having a brain that always seems to be running on jet fuel means that once it gets going on a self criticism binge, I tend to end up in a pretty dark place. I can never seem to use anything that I recognize as constructive criticism. I ‘m not particularly good at perceiving external criticism as constructive either.

I think that it’s my own self-doubt and overly critical view of myself that makes even external criticism hard to handle. If I constantly feel like I’m not good enough, that I can’t do anything right, and that I’m a failure of epic proportions, on every level, then hearing any criticism tends to feed that monster. It’s as if The Monster is just waiting for any scrap of critical thought to creep in, so it can latch on and distort it into the most damaging perspective.

I’m not really sure what the answer is, but I do know it starts with self perception. The question is, if I don’t think I’m good enough, and the person I need to convince that I am is me, and the only person who can do that convincing is me, where does that chain break?

 

I Aim To Please

I am a people pleaser.

I suppose this is something that I’ve known for quite awhile, but I’m only now beginning to realize what that really means. I’m not sure if it stems from my particularly intense desire for approval, or if I just never properly learned to say no. What I do know is not only do I fail to say no when I ought to, I somehow manage to volunteer for any number of things I’m not actually capable of, or have any real interest in.

It really is a problem, because at this point in my life, I ought to be able to politely decline a request or a favor. I might decline because I am too busy, or maybe I don’t have the particular skill set required to accomplish the request without significant additional time commitment to learn how. It’s possible I should decline because I am allowing myself to be taken advantage of. It’s also possible that I should decline because by agreeing, I’m actually allowing someone else to continue to ignore something they should be paying attention to.

What it really comes down to is that it’s beginning to become a problem for me. I set unrealistic goals for myself and then come down very hard on myself when they aren’t met. I guilt myself into feeling obligated to attend something or do something so that it becomes impossible to enjoy myself. I don’t want to do something, but I feel I ought to, and then I feel angry that I feel I’m only doing it because I’m guilty. It then becomes an impossible situation because I’m going to end up viewing it negatively no matter what.

It certainly doesn’t help that I tend to be negative and cynical. I’m not sure if that’s caused by my lack of patience, or if both the negativity and lack of patience are the result of some other underlying factor. What I really need to do is decide what is important to me, and begin to make active decisions according to that. If I feel a particular family gathering is not something I care to be a part of, I should politely decline attending, and be satisfied that I have made a decision for myself, based on what I believe to be important.

That’s all well and good, but it’s all a little bit easier said than done.

-Christopher