Criticality and Frustration

News Flash: I’m probably about as sensitive as they come when it comes to being criticized about anything. There isn’t a day that goes by where I am not fighting internally to avoid taking criticism personally when it comes to my personal or professional life, and it makes it hard to be objective when people are calling me out on things that I know are in need of change or “fixing” since everything feels like a personal attack.

I have been seeing a therapist lately, and diving into the dirty waters of my past is an utterly unpleasant experience. I have been finding more and more that the experiences in my past have had much more subtle effect on my life than I previously thought, and has been creating many more problems for me. I have found that in the last couple of weeks, things have intensified fairly rapidly and have been causing me to be more rough than I normally am. The toll it takes on my personal and professional life is measurable, and it’s only been getting harder to keep a lid on it.

I often times feel like I want to snap. There is un-tapped rage sitting beneath the surface. Maelstroms of anger and deep sadness wash in-and-out of my view much like the tides’ ebb-and-flow, in which there is very little relief. Much of my energy has been spent recently trying to divine ways to get out of my chosen profession in Systems Administration and to focus purely on climbing, in which I am the only person I can blame for things not going well or in which I am having a bad time of things. I find that here at work, I am always under constant pressure from my own expectations and the constant fear that I am not good enough. I fear that my lack of coding experience will eventually get me fired, and that my apparent inability to pick up programming languages will cause me to remain unemployable. These fears are probably unfounded and are probably hurting my image, but I can’t help the way I feel.

The last few years, I’ve repeated the mantra of accountability, challenge, and self-knowledge, and in retrospect I think I’ve been failing pretty miserably. I haven’t learned how to do much more of anything besides try (and fail) at managing a large fleet of virtual servers, learned some stupid bash scripting tricks, and how not to write a code review. And all the while, I’ve been watching my friends and coworkers blow past me in their pursuits. I honestly wonder sometimes if I’m making any progress at all.

I probably ought to just stop thinking about this sort of thing. It doesn’t serve any purpose, and just works to make me feel worse about myself and the situations that I find myself in. The critical voice in my head is too powerful to stop under my own power, so I have to either find a way around it or find a weakness in the armor and exploit it… whether that’s through therapy, chemical alteration, or a complete change of environment.

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