14 June, 1999


I don’t always like the human nature. It would seem that sometimes we human folk are so tied up in looking inside ourselves that we assume that everyone else is looking inside us too. That everyone else is as critical of me as I am of myself. In my more rational moments I realize that this simply can’t be true. If I’m so busy looking at my own faults, surely others are too busy looking at their own faults to see mine.

In less rational moments, especially when I’m feeling insecure and as though my world is caving in, I read criticism into every word spoken or written to me. A passing comment about a child, the work place, or even someone else’s home is taken as a stabbing and painful criticism me, my child, my workplace, my home. I mull over the words looking for hidden meanings. I interpolate and extrapolate every phrase.

Of course what I’m really doing is examining my own doubts, insecurities and imperfections. The ones I know best. The ones others probably don’t see but I assume they do. I assume they not only see them, but that they spend as much time and energy worrying about them, talking about them, mulling over them as I do.

It’s a paranoia, really. Paranoia that feeds on my self hatred. Paranoia that is fueled by my need to be self-critical. Paranoia that is self sustaining and spiral in effect. The more I doubt myself, the more critical I am. The more critical, the more I read into others comments and the less secure I feel. It plunges when I strike out at others and further isolate myself from them with my scathing words in defense of my weak self-esteem. The more isolated I am, the more self-critical I become. It is a set up for loneliness. A game plan for depression.

How to end the spiral effect I don’t know. I do know that the only way out of the basement is to climb the stairs or crawl out a window. Reversing the downward climb means reversing the trend. Looking for the positive in everything. Being more like Norman Vincent Peale and less like the fear mongers. More like Emma Bombeck and less like Willa Cather. Not that I’d want to emulate either Bombeck or Peale. I can’t be someone I’m not. But the first step is to turn away from the negativist tendency. The second step is to find things in myself that are likeable and good.