take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Because I'm not worth it... 

Max Ehrmann once wrote:

"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself"

Why do I find it so hard to take what is clearly such good advice?

The trouble with blogging is that it provides ample opportunity for comparison: the primary fuel of status anxiety. The fact that there are millions of people who are "better" than I am never used to be so much of a problem because I wasn't so acutely aware of it. Now, this fact confronts me every day, via my very own blogroll. I torture myself daily by visiting the sites of people who are far better writers than I am, who have more fulfilling or more interesting careers, who are slimmer, more attractive, more stylish, who are more intelligent, more eloquent, posher, richer, more self-sufficient, more self-assured, wittier, funnier, who have more sex than I do, who go on better holidays, who live in better places, who read more, travel more, see more films. In short, it seems like their "selves" and their lives are better than mine. So then I use these things as yet another stick with which to beat myself, as if "real life" didn't provide enough of its own.

Am I just eternally ungrateful? Will whatever I achieve in life be overshadowed by the fact that Joe Blogs has done it better, more quickly, with more style and panache or has, at the very least, written about it more eloquently?

This is truly the dark side of blogging for me. I sometimes get so lost in it that I wonder what it's all for. Now is one of those times. Quite apart from the time wasted, staring glumly at the computer in the evenings and at weekends when I could be doing those all those activities which engender such envy. It's an eternal cycle of beating myself up.

"Do you think you were happier before you started blogging?" Big asked, as he was forced to listen to yet another self-indulgent lament. I honestly don't know the answer. I can hardly remember the time when I didn't have this metaphorical millstone round my neck, even though it was less than three years ago that I started this nonsense.

When the negatives seem always to outweigh the positives, I have to wonder whether I would be better off without it...

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