You Are Doing Well Enough

Houston, I have a problem. I have a wildly overactive inner self-critic.

I already knew this a bit about myself, I have always been a Type-A, academic, people-pleaser (though admittedly this applies only to select people who's opinions I care about). Recently, it became quite a bit more apparent. I study a Counselling Skills class at night school once a week, and we were looking at Ellis's false/irrational beliefs. And we were asked (voluntary not mandatory) to speak about whether any resonated with us. Well, yes actually, yes those two specifically:

'One absolutely must be competent, adequate and achieving in all important respects or else one is an inadequate, worthless person.'

'One is capable of being a better quality of person if one achieves certain things.'*

Yes, yes absolutely. I do feel like I have to kind of be good at many things, and that only if I am can I somehow be a 'better' human. I have a terrible habit of ranking my achievements in certain 'categories' and then somehow adding up the points to see how accomplished a human being I've been that week. Some weeks I feel like I've been a totally pointless human (haven't contacted my parents enough, so a shit daughter; haven't exercised that much, so a crappy healthiness barometer... and so on).

The thing is I have no idea why I do this. I'm not sure what I'm actually aiming for. A few of these accomplishments will make me or others happy, but quite a few of them are things I think I should do. Not actually want to do. On weeks where I achieve them all I don't feel awesome, I feel overwhelmed. Additionally it's almost always impossible to carry them all off- if I do awesome, superhuman amounts of exercise, I guaranteedly just neglected my relationship for those evenings. If I spend all week with my S.O, I neglect exercise and work. You see?!

I'm thinking about this more both because of the CS class bringing it up, but also because it came up on Tinto Hill on Saturday. I was doing my usual, 'I'm so unfit, feel free to go on, you must be so annoyed' spiel, and N just replied, "Stop saying that, you're keeping this running up whilst doing a PhD. That's doing pretty fucking well". It made me realise that literally every time I mention running as a hobby, I mention that I'm no good. That I even do it to people I run with. Who know exactly how good I am, because they are physically there.

So maybe I need to give myself a break. I exercise 5 plus days a week, I'm a good child, grandchild, niece and sister, and support my family when I can. I am a loving partner most of the time. I am a runner, and I keep it up regularly. I am a good friend and I make time for my friends when I can. I am a PhD and I am trying. Maybe that's enough.


Can you see yourself in any of this? Please tell me I'm not alone in this!

*Second one here doesn't seem to be an Ellis original from looking it up, but is in our COSCA handbooks. 


  1. YES! I could apply the exact same thing to myself; although my line of thinking, for some reason, is if I don't do all these things I am not living my life to the full, I am wasting my life, I've got to make the most of it...

    It can be frustrating at times as it's not through lack of trying, but when your body fails you, or you can't make plans because people are too busy for you, you then sometimes wonder what's the point? So I just try to do what makes me happy whilst not affecting others negatively...

    1. That is my dads exact line of thinking so I definitely think its a common version of it too! "If I'm not doing everything, I am wasting my life". I have echoes of that too- especially with dissatisfaction following lazy Sundays.

      For sure the key is to work out what positively impacts you. If that's climbing and running and work, awesome. If its Netflix, also awesome so don't beat yourself up.

  2. I can relate myself to this. Not only do I set myself a lot of unrealistic goals which require me to spread myself really thing - but I also will often add more in on a whim. I give myself a lot to do - daily blogging, full time work, a second blog, running a twitter chat, trying to run several times a week - I leave myself absolutely no spare time but I don't even know how to stop!

    I would love a break but being away from the internet makes me feel scared, ha.

    Corinne x

    1. Yeah its perhaps something we should challenge ourselves to do though- to have a week where you deliberately achieve NONE of these things.

      It's interesting yours is so wrapped up in social media!

  3. You are everything and more but acknowledging what you are what you've achieved can be the most difficult thing :)