A long time ago, I took a masters degree in Business at a renowned university far away from home, mostly because I wanted to move out on my own but also partly because I secretly aspired to live on Michael Douglas’ Wall Street, where everyone acknowledged that greed (aka the market economy) was good and everyone drove BMWs.
There at business school, I learned many things that helped propel my career to the next level. As a management consultant, I was paid handsomely for my critical analysis of business operations. But now that I have been without a financially satisfying career for nearly 10 years, I find that my critical thinking skills are hampering my pursuit of happiness. To quote Merriam-Webster, to criticize is “to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly”. To quote my dad, “if all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.”
Over the course of my day, I analyze:
– my skin for suspicious moles,
– my wardrobe for seasonal updating,
– my home’s decor for seasonal updating.
– why my weight won’t go down despite my workouts,
– my husband’s tone and touch,
– the nutritional content of my home cooked meals versus the cost to produce them,
– my children’s behavior, breath, and choice of outfits,
– my parenting failures,
– my friendships and whether they are growing and loving,
– the appropriateness of my extroverted-ness as it relates to glasses of wine consumed,
– books I’ve read, movies and shows I’ve seen,
– and the list really does go on and on.
The problem with all this critical thinking is that the analysis plainly shows that there is always room for improvement and that nothing is ever just good enough. Maybe my beloved grandmother was right when she begged me not to get my MBA, as the high school dropout couldn’t see how that much education could possibly be a good thing for me. But maybe, just maybe, this time I’ve analyzed myself into a vicious circle and the only way out is to just be me.
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So true – I think of all the “shoulds” in my life – whether it be for family, for business, for myself, and how free I would be without them.
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