The Measuring Stick

Am I crazy?

Many people who come to see a counsellor eventually get around to a version of this question. We are cognizant of the fact that we are trapped in our own little bubble. Most of us wonder if we are getting better – or more precisely, if we are getting better right. What if we are fooling ourselves? What if your mother-in-law is actually correct? How far down the rabbit hole have I actually fallen?

People like to measure their success. If only there was a Crazy Scale (there are several) that I could gauge myself against. This may be born out of the unspoken frustration we feel because we don’t feel like we are getting better. How is anyone supposed to know when they are fixed?

You could ask a professional, but chances are they have no real idea of how you are doing. If all else fails you could put it out there to your Facebook friends, even if those posts look needy and pathetic. Please, someone tell me I’m awesome! Probably not.

A little better than I was a year ago. That’s the only measuring stick that matters.

I really believe that. It’s not a competition, though if it was, I want to win. The only marker to which I can compare myself is myself. It doesn’t matter how my friends are doing, or my parents, or ultimately even my family or ex-spouse. Wholeness is about momentum more than it is about a random target on the wall to which my in-laws think I should strive. Who cares if you do not measure up to someone else’s standard of success; people are fickle children. What matters is whether or not I continue to fight the fight, continue to get up on days that suck, and keep practicing this crap (in spite of the fact that it isn’t working right now). It’s like the oft-stolen cliché says, “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I was”.

who-is-awesomeIt’s hard to admit to oneself that the race never ends. The journey towards wisdom and wholeness is not measured in terms of attainment, only degree. Every life is a series of disappointments and wins, setbacks and problems. Some people may get through life unscathed, though not around here. I have a responsibility to myself to be more me than I have ever been, not more you (as scary as that may seem to some). Comparing myself to others rarely leads to wisdom; although it can be fun to take a shot at someone not coping as well as we are. A better me is probably the only goal that ultimately matters. I have to live with me the rest of my life. A better me is a better husband, better dad or granddad, better friend and human. Everybody wins.

A little better than a year ago may not sell many motivational posters but it just might be a standard I can work towards.

So how are you doing?

10 thoughts on “The Measuring Stick

  1. Interesting post Scott. I was accused by my ex narc of being crazy, and a flying monkey minion of his agreed. However, I don’t put much stock in that sort of thing as neither of them have the education, training or experience to qualify them.

    Years ago, I consulted with real mental health care professionals who do have the training, education and experience to be qualified to speak in such matters.

    One was a psychiatrist, and the other a psychiatric social worker who both worked at a major local mental health center. Both were in agreement that that was I normal and healthy, and if anything more so than most people.

    I also have worked in the academic sector for the training and education psychologists for over 15 years. I grew up with people with real mental health disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia.

    So people people can say about me what they will, and that’s okay. I’ll just smile and go about the business of living my life and enjoying it’s many pleasures.

    Good post. Have a great day!

  2. Thanks for that, one can feel like a failure when you believe that with counselling you ” should ” be fixed. I love your blog, fellow Canadian!

  3. I am a whole person different than I was last year. Going no contact with my narcissist mother last year has let me see that I am someone. By this standard of better than last year, I won the lottery 🙂

  4. Hi Scott, my name is Ryan Lotze. I just wanted to take the time and say I really enjoyed reading this post. I have been struggling with my own self-image until recently I started listening to John C. Maxwell’s “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”. One of the parts of his audiobook that I am listening to over and over again are the steps to build self-image. Comparing yourself to others is one of the steps that I repeatedly listen to so that I remind myself that I am the only person I ought to be better than. Seeing this post helps encourage me to believe in myself and keep growing. And avoid the comparing of myself with others.

    Thank you for this post, I look forward to continue reading more of your content!

  5. No toxic, difficult (truly crazy) person ever asks the question “Am I crazy?” Like ever.
    Only the truly introspective (and yes possibly crazy in a good way) genuine person ever asks this of themselves.

  6. I am good, thanks. I have been trying to accept my flaws. That I often do not think of all angles before I speak and that I am not socially adept in so many other ways. I am going to keep trying to improve on what I can, but some things I think are just me, and I ought to stop trying to change what cannot be changed.

  7. I still wonder if I’m crazy sometimes. However, I can honestly say I’m better now than I was when I started my journey to wellness. It’s more difficult to tell over the last year or two. I think not because I’m lacking in progress, but because I’m fine tuning, which isn’t as easily measured.

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