Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Superlative Free World

Growing up, it was never enough to be good at something, I had to be the best. Part of it was me, part of it was family, all of it resulted in making me feel as if I were never quite good enough, as if my accomplishments mean nothing.

This has been rolling through my head lately in that I'm trying to rework my thinking.  I know, intellectually, that I am enough, but emotionally, it's just not true. There is always someone smarter, better, prettier just ahead of me.

It's also been rolling around in my head in that I'm trying to figure out what it means to just be me.  If I'm not the funniest person on the internet, or the one with the most followers, or the best worker-bee, or the most dedicated employee, where does that leave me?

What if I'm not a superlative? Does that mean I'm not worthy?  I know, if I were talking to a friend or, in particular, my daughter, I would tell her that just being her is enough.  That there is no race, no contest.  That just being her [or him, for my guy friends] is what makes her [him] superlative.  And that's all good and well for everyone else, but what about someone whose entire world view is that there is the superlative and then there is the abyss? That the only thing I would have to offer anyone, anywhere is my resume of superlatives?

Which is lacking, anyway, because there is always someone ahead of me in everything.  That's just how the world works. I'm smart enough to know that there are smarter people, I'm self-aware enough to know that I'm not the center of the universe.  YET.

So how do I live a superlative free life? I'm reading my zen books and talking to lovely people but I feel like disparagement and self-loathing are just waiting for those quiet moments to suddenly pounce.  What is good enough? And how do I get there?


  1. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. I'm doing the same thing. I started when I was told I need to go to a meeting of Sarcastics Anonymous. Because being sarcastic is a sign of extraordinarily low self esteem. Can't say that didn't hurt.

  2. Of course I don't know you, but I think that being you means just that. If you strive for perfection, then that's you, but if you want to shoot for far less, then that's you too.

    Do you like who you are? I sure do. Well, at least who I perceive you to be. Maybe in real life you are a total cunt, but I doubt it. I find you to be thought provoking, funny, and somewhat neurotic, in an endearing way. I also think that you have way too many bad days, and I think you need to address that. Make yourself happier.

    I know, easier said than done,

  3. Look, sometimes it's ok to be averalative. Because then you can rest and not compete with anyone, which leaves you time to be happalative.

    Let's go back to yesterday's Dean Martin. Do you think he spent his time competing to be the best at everything? No. Because he was too busy having fun. Sometimes having a blast just getting to the 'finish line' is better than be the first one there. Enjoy the journey.

    (This comment is filled with so many words of awesome wisdom, I just hurt my arm while patting myself on the back).

  4. a little superlative thinking is not all bad. It keeps the drive going. You are the best you for someone in your world you know, even if it's not yourself.

    Oh, that sounds very after-school-special, or like a card with an adorable turtle on the front of some such shittery. But seriously--it's true. We could all use a little more self-satisfaction though, couldn't we.

  5. Okay, this is some seriously deep, meaning of life kind of shiz. I'm not sure I'm equipped to give you any guidance at all, but I can tell you that you are not the only one on the road. We're all here, muddling along. It's a daily process, it takes practice to accept yourself, love yourself, be as kind to yourself as you would be to someone else. Try a little every day. If you fail, try again but don't beat yourself up about it. It's the trying that matters.

  6. I wrestle with the same dilemma! Why can't we take our own advice? Why can't we listen to our own logic? When perfection is the goal, failure is the only option. It's no way to live, and yet we do it. I don't know how to fix that, but I can tell you that I feel the same way, and yet I know you are loved just the way you are.

  7. I simmer in a stew of envy 24/7. I've been doing some stuff to get over that and it's actually working. Get up here for a visit and I'll tell you all about it over wine (after we snark about the skinny bitches at the next table)...

  8. Live like me! I've told you a thousand times:

    The secret to a happy life:



    And HAPPY.


  9. Lady, I spend most of my time wishing I were best at everything, and if you've ever heard that "wish in one hand..." saying, you'll know just how far that's gotten me.

    Even if we're not the most awesome, the least we can do is point out what's wrong with everyone else, right? Ok, that's not right either.

    I kinda hate all that uplifting "you're special bc you're YOU" self-esteem crap, so imo, just do what makes you happy. If that's striving to be the best, go for it. If it's giving up & eating a bag of chips while watching reality tv in your underwear, that works, too.

    It sounds like you are your worst critic, which I totally get. Don't let your self-criticisms turn you into a bitter bitch like me though, dear, & you might find that people will love you even if you suck at stuff. Attitude is everything, or so I've heard.

  10. As you know, I actually have the exact opposite problem: I have very low expectations of myself so I'm constantly surprised when I surpass bottom.

    I think it's born in me, though. I can't give advice about how to get low.

    So to speak.

    Let's plan a Skype date (with alcohol) and try to be average. I'll come up a bit, you step down.

    And we'll stumble around in the middle together.

  11. If you figure it out, let me know? Because I know I'm not the best at anything . . . I'm just me, and I can't stand not being the best at anything I do. This really, really hurts me when I run a race . . . because, as much as I can tell myself that it's just me and the course, and nothing else, I grow angry when people when people pass me, and I try to pass them right back . . . and then I get too tired too quickly.

    And that's not even getting to work or musical items.

  12. be like the hummingbird. that's why that little bastard is so happy - he moves around too fast to let worries stick to him.

    society trains us to be competitive - but our true nature is cooperation. when i cooperate with my fellow funny people - life opens up and abundance flows in.

    sounds so corny. i know. but for me - it's true. also, my new meds are totally working!

  13. You are like me - if I'm going to be zen and relax, then I better be perfect at it or not at all! I have recently reminded myself that I need to be as kind to myself as I am to all the other fuckers out there.

  14. You'll get there when you realize there is nowhere to go other than where you are at.

  15. Haha...nice blog. Low self-esteem and self loathing aint that bad.I think we're just too aware of ourselves and maybe a little delusional which kinda exaggerates our deficiencies and lameness. I'm not helping, am i? Again. Nice blog :)

  16. You and I are on the same path, Lotus Flower. OK, enough of the Zen jokes. Seriously, I wrestle with the same issues, especially when I have a spouse on the ascent and I am wallowing in the jobless pool, pitifully waving the SAHM flag. One thing I've learned in recent years is that appearances are very deceiving. Don't you know folks who have it all -- looks, money, smarts, career success, fitness, health, one of those Dyson vacuums -- and yet they are miserable to the core. I'm probably happier and more at peace now that I ever was when I was working 50 hours a week with juicy paychecks.

  17. I love good enough, I've been a B student most of my life. I don't care if they are skinnier, prettier, smarter than me. Long as I have cute shoes and little time to play online or with my Nook, I'm good. The house & the dishes will get dirty again. The laundry never goes away.

  18. There ain't no prize at the end sister, but if it helps, you are my blogging hero. My husband likes to quote Jimmy Stewart in the movie, Harvey:

    My mother used to say to me, Elwood....she always called me Elwood...Elwood, she'd say, in this life you must be oh, so smart, or oh, so pleasant. Well, doctor, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you may quote me on it.

    But substitute Happy for Pleasant. You and I...well, I wouldn't call us pleasant, but we can be happy.

  19. Perhaps it brings some comfort to realize that "superlative" is only two letters away from being "superlaxative."

  20. How about Apathy? I win in the apathy department. I am the best apathizer around.
    There is SOMETHING that sets you apart. Just look at your blog. And then go read a mediocre one. You stand out, man.


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