AM I F'***ED UP?

We try  various strategies to "motivate" ourselves toward better survival.  However, we often end up using these strategies over and over, as a habit, without reexamining whether they are effective strategies.

Saying to oneself "I am really f***ed up!" is both an outmoded practice and an expression of hopelessness, of resignation.  The hopelessness and resignation lies around the idea that "this is a permanent condition I'm stuck with" and I can't do anything about it. 


Certainly, it is of the "fixed" mindset, where one holds oneself as of a certain intelligence and limited set of abilities.  In that position one is stuck with defending what one has, protecting oneself against criticism.  Since this is all the person has he/she will often counterattack as he/she is so "desperate" not to be "proven" to be "worth less".

This person will try to "get better", but for the primary purpose of having a better defense of what he/she has.  The person will often look like a person who is a growth mindset person, but he/she seldom is.  And we can tell which stance someone is taking by how slow their progress is.  The growth mindset person will see that one has basic intelligence but that, by itself, means little in terms of creating a great life - the intelligence is something to be used to actually do the creating, with no time wasted "defending" that intelligence.   He/she knows that if one cannot yet do something, he/she simply must persist and learn until one can in fact do that thing and then use it to improve one's life.  This person, obviously, I think, makes alot more progress in life.
(See The Measured "Fixed" Entity Versus The Growth Mindset - Screwed At The Start, Versus The Alternative.)

The fixed mindset person will never be able to be "flaw free", so he/she is fighting a losing battle in trying to be so.  The growth mindset person, who has a much wiser viewpoint, will see something that one cannot yet do as something one has not yet learned enough to be able to do.  It is not a "flaw" in the basic person, for the basic unit still has the basic abilities that allow that person to do all that is necessary:  to learn to do what is needed.  This person heeds The Limitations Of Human Beings - And How To Manage Around Them For A Great life, refusing to spend time defending oneself since that would be a waste of time and pointless. 

"I used a poor strategy, but that does not mean I am flawed.  Only the strategy is flawed.  I am just fine and I have the ability to learn anything.  And clearly in this case I simply need to learn enough to devise a good strategy that works."  (Short version:  "It's just a poor strategy and not about me.  I just need to learn what is necessary.")


As is often written in psychology books, the child will create an "internal critical parent" as a strategy to correct his/her behavior ahead of time so that he/she won't get criticized by the parent - which would be "disastrous" in the child's mind, since he/she is dependent on the parent and powerless to assure his/her own survival. 

However, the strategy is not a valid, workable strategy over the long term.  In fact, it is hugely damaging and should be stopped.  Stopping that strategy is an absolute MUST, perhaps the most important thing in life.  If it is not stopped, the person lives in "critical hell", always falling short of "good enough", often seeking unattainable perfection (in his/her quest to avoid being criticized for a flaw). 

Because this is so vital - beyond mere importance - I recommend that the person read the entire contents/links page pieces at Fault, Right/Wrong, Criticism, Anger, Punishment Syndrome Contents/Links AND study the best work I have seen around this, reading and studying the Building Self-Esteem book, provided at no charge at BarksdaleAboutLife.Com.  I have seen people do a superficial reading of the Barksdale book and say "well, I read it" (and wasn't terribly impressed, or "I got the idea" - but in truth he/she hasn't if he/she persists in criticizing oneself!!!!!)

That path is "the way out" - there is no path out in trying to fix each of one's imperfections in order to avoid criticism and its mirror cousin "lack of approval".  Seeking others' confirmation of one's worth is an unwinnable game, period!  One can only obtain true "confirmation" from one's own efforts at learning what is necessary to do to gain that self confirmation - now there is a winnable game!


The path out always has the same elements (always in writing):

Identify the problem.
Identify the result you want.
Identify what is needed to get to the result.
    Identify what needs to be learned in order to be able to implement successfully.
    Identify who can help and resources that help
Plan out what you'll do, in writing
Do sufficient learning that is complete enough to be able to meet the test of sufficiently
    being able to do what is needed to get the result you want.
    If you stop short, you will very probably not succeed; wishful thinking and hope do
       not often win.
Do enough to get the results you want. 
    Cheerlead, celebrate, acknowledge self along the way.
    Reward yourself in a positive-effect way for your success

Although all parts are important, no human being can succeed without sufficient learning, which means sticking with each subject until learned.  If you know what must be learned, put them in order and then commit at least a month (or so) to focus on that one topic and don't quit until you can answer this in the affirmative:  Have I learned enough to be able to successfully implement my learning and get the result I want?  Stopping short is always the path to not succeeding.  (Duh!)


Using such catastrophic language, even just within oneself, will signal the rather stupid amygdala that there is some major threat to be hypervigilant about.  And in that state of hypervigilance, the downward spiral is maintained and speeded up, where the "upset" makes one more prone to mistakes, not thinking, feeling more of a sense of foreboding, which then further signals that "we have a major, worsening tragedy on our hands!"  And so on, further down the rabbit hole into hell. 

As always, a spiral chain (a causal chain) must be interfered with or it will continue - and the earlier one intervenes that easier (and usually better) it is.

So, intervening with the routine that you should have memorized (and written down, stored in an easy access location; use also the instant reference page:  What To Do When... A Feeling, Concern, Situation, Or "?" Occurs.):

Is it really true?  Is it really provably true?
Am I really threatened or am I still safe overall in life?  Is this just an inconvenience?  Is this just a bonus in life that I am losing and am I intact?
Am I just using a poor strategy that needs to be corrected?  Doesn't this just mean I need to learn something? 

A problem is solved by systematically, calmly (or at least in patient paced flow), doing the basic problem solving process.  However, you need to do the focused learning and reading as soon as you can - and don't wait until you're in the problem!  Not preparing ahead of time and learning "the moves" is like a football player not practicing and thinking he'll be able to solve the dilemmas "in the moment" in the pressures of the game - a really, really dumb approach! 


Design a good strategy and you'll get a good result virtually every time.

Use a poor strategy and you'll get a bad result.

Either way, you'll be the same basic person with basic capabilities.

The flaw will not be in you, but will be in the strategy.

And you are capable of learning enough to be able to design a good strategy!


A person I know has the formula for unhappiness "down cold" (perfected). 

Anything that she does must work or she is a failure who is all f'd up.  And it is not good enough to be average or even be above average, as she compares herself only to the very best.

Her life is not about just taking care of herself and fulfilling herself - it is about ultimately being "good enough", which is defined as "being approved of by the best".

She does not "get it". She does not understand that she is far better off than a person who lives in the desert of Iraq, or that she has it "made" for a good life of opportunity, freedom, creature comforts...  It is always about being "short of", "not enough" - creating the Unhappiness Gap

As a starter, she needs to follow the program  for 

Getting To And Being Good Enough - The Plan

The irony is that she will find this program not to be good enough, thinking that there must be a better plan - and then doing nothing, waiting for that better plan to be available.  But this plan is proven to work - and, yes, it works on some really basic, rudimentary things first - but they are true and they are necessary to correct the fundamental misunderstandings she has about life.

They will free her from her self-imposed chains,


A person takes the full five years allowed to finish her thesis to get her masters. 

1.  It is awful that I procrastinated and took such a long time.

2.  Yes, I am human, with all our human foibles, but it is great that I did what was necessary to earn my masters degree!!!!

Is the latter just "Pollyanna" or is it a possible view and one that is more true and realistic?

Is the first one, the "hard taskmaster" and "it isn't good enough" and "it is not acceptable not to be better" at all true and/or helpful????

Interestingly enough, this person believes her "negative" view is "the truth" - when it is furthest from the truth and the reality of life.