Thursday, July 29, 2010

Evaluation...

I have never been good at dealing with negative evaluation, partly because I am constantly measuring my own worth by comparing myself to others and what they think, and because I often feel the need to be the one of the "best" at whatever it is I tackle to feel that I am of value.  However, convincing myself that I am "good enough" by these standards is not only impossible, but exhausting, not to mention a recipe for constant dissatisfaction. This sort of perfectionism is an element of my OCD that I am trying to work on.  Not that I have been a perfectionist in much of anything lately.  On the flip side, because I am trying not to force perfection on so many things in my life, I have probably been engaging in a certain amount of avoidance instead, because, if I don't actually "try," well, then I can't feel like I have failed.

So, instead of living in this all-or-nothing, either it's good enough or it's not, kind of world, I am trying to be more realistic and forgiving of myself.  I am trying to see things more for what they are rather than existing in denial that the things I do or attempt are either not really as good as people say they are, or not really as bad.   I am good at some things and bad at others.  Is it okay to only be good or even only kind of good at some things? Yes.  Going further, is it okay to be truly bad at things?  Yes.  It is natural and human, and I sometimes have to remind myself of this.  At the same time, things that others evaluate as good aren't necessarily good to everyone, and things that others evaluate as bad don't necessarily seem bad to all people.

With this in mind, I recently submitted my blog to a few sort of online blogging indices to try to improve the visibility of my blog and to connect with more OCD sufferers.  One such index gives your blog a rating when you submit it, a rating I didn't want.  I honestly didn't want to know what someone else out there, independently judging my blog on unknown criteria, thought of it.  I have been enjoying this outlet for my thoughts and feelings as a place where I can write without so much concern about how it will be "graded."  My objective is not to produce the best blog ever, or anything of that nature.  Rather, the reason for having this place to write is to give myself a chance to share and sort through my recently overflowing thoughts about my life and the role OCD has played in it.  In addition to that, I wanted to connect with this supportive community of sufferers that I observed for quite a while before actively taking a part in it.

Nevertheless, whether or not I wanted it, when I joined this particular blogging index I was given a rating - "good."  And of course, once translated into the language of my mind "good" no longer meant "good;" it meant something more along the lines of "mediocre" or "could be better."  When I saw the rating "good," I didn't feel "good."  Instead I was upset because "good" didn't seem "good enough" and thus somehow became, in my mind, "not so great."  Suddenly a word that is inherently positive took on negative proportions.

But if I have learned anything in the process of treatment, I have learned how to better recognize my own distorted thought processes, and if I can recognize some of the distortions I am making as I make them, I can then re-evaluate the situation from a more mindful and less judgmental standpoint.  First, I have to remember my objective in starting this blog, which again, was to establish an outlet for my thoughts about OCD and to connect with and support others in their battle with the disorder.  It would be nice if, by general blogging standards, my blog were also considered "good," but at the same time I have to acknowledge that that was not really what I set out to do.  I actually set out to satisfy my desire to capture and share my thoughts and to interact with others who have OCD.  Thus, if I really want to evaluate my blog, those two goals are the measuring stick by which I should "grade" my blog, instead of measuring it by others' standards which may or not coincide with my own.  In that light, I think I have reason to think that my blog is "good" or at least "good enough."  Being able to write my thoughts out here has definitely helped me sort out some of my own confusion and has subdued, to a certain extent, the raging flood of thoughts coursing through my head.  It has also allowed me to interact with others with OCD as I had hoped it would.  I would love to find and be found by even more OCD bloggers out there, which is why, in the first place, I submitted my blog to the index which gave me the anxiety-spurring evaluation.

Learning to evaluate myself on my own terms, rather than on those of others, is an ongoing process.  I have spent years comparing myself to other people in various ways to try to determine my relative worth.  But while this sort of comparison is probably inevitable to a certain degree as part of human nature, I hope to establish greater independence from this type of behavior as I also work to establish autonomy from my OCD.  Thus, tolerating a rating of "good," as determined by someone else in relation to other blogs, is probably a great opportunity for me to practice living that sort of independence that I hope to develop.  In that way, this blog in and of itself becomes another way to challenge the problem, rather than one more way to feed into it!

3 comments:

  1. I know how hard this can be. I often bargain that I won't be perfectionistic, just as long as I don't ever have to fail . . .which of course leads to avoidance. I have learned so much from writing my blog and interacting with readers such as you, and many times it would've been easier to avoid writing at all because of my OCD desire to do it "right" but doing it adequately has led to great rewards.

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  2. Great blog! Just what I am looking for! I have linked you on my blogroll!

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  3. Expowman - I loved how you said " I often bargain that I won't be perfectionistic, just as long as I don't ever have to fail..." I often feel that way about treatment in general. I want to be compliant with my exposure homework guidelines and get over my contamination issues, just as long as I don't ever actually have to feel dirty ;). If only if worked that way! :)

    And I am glad that you continue to write "adequately" because I always enjoy your posts!

    Beth - Thank you for your kind words! I am always excited to connect with more OCD bloggers out there!

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