My self-improvement endeavors have made my self-esteem rise to astronomical levels. Now I'm super-awesome. I'm also a self-absorbed cranky bitch.
I've struggled with clinical depression and general herp-derpery all of my life, but a year or so ago, I decided to do something about it. I got into therapy, I started reading some great books
, and I read a lot of "how to make your life awesome" askmefi threads.
A year+ later, my life has improved considerably. I'm no longer spending my evenings sitting on the couch eating fritos and wallowing in loneliness and misery. I'm eating healthier and exercising. I'm working on my master's degree. I'm involved in various musical and artistic endeavors around town (and have become a minor celebrity!). I learned how to dress well and do my hair and make-up, so now I've gone from "sort of cute" to "damn! she's hot!" I'm learning new instruments and new languages, I travel often, meet new friends and have incredible experiences. I love to learn from everyone I meet.
Most importantly, I've learned to take time for myself. I have a charismatic Christian background where service and self-sacrifice was highly valued. Now I'm learning how to take time for myself, how to say no to overcommitting myself, and how to enjoy life. I'm no longer a pushover or a doormat.
I feel really great about myself. I no longer think "wow, I'm such a loser, I'm such a waste of space". I feel productive and capable, and balanced. I'm "in the zone" and it feels great, but...
I thought all of this would make me happier, and it has, but I've noticed that my character has changed. I feel like I've worked so hard to improve my life, I look down on people who aren't doing the same. And that makes me feel horrible.
I'm secretly judgmental of my old friends who are still stuck in the same boring routines, living in the same town they grew up in, working boring jobs and not exploring life. I (politely) reject most of the guys that ask me out because I secretly feel like I'm "out of their league". I just feel like I'm the shit. I used to hate people like me. And now I am me!
If I were to give advice to someone like myself, I'd tell them to volunteer to work with people who are less-fortunate, to help them get their head out of their ass.
The only problem is, I already do this. That's my job. I work with homeless and/or low-income individuals to help them get a leg up in life. And I judge them like crazy.
See? I told you I was an asshole.
The problem is, I didn't always used to be this way. I've worked at this job for 4 years and the reason I started working here was because I was a tireless social justice advocate (probably due to my Christian upbringing).
Now, instead of feeling pity or empathy when I see a young woman with 3, 4, or 5 kids come to my job for help, or feeling angry at the societal system that has failed the man who has never worked , I just feel irritated...with them! I constantly think "Why did you make so many dumb decisions? Why can't you improve your situation?" even though I know
that the reason they're at my office is because they are
trying to improve their situation. I think this frustration is due to the fact that I work with such a large number of people and yet few of them, maybe 25%, actually follow through with the paperwork and steps needed to get help. I do all of this work, provide them with every resource I possibly can, and then they don't do their part, and end up wasting time and money. I am totally fine with helping people who will actually use the help I provide, I love doing that. I find it very rewarding to help people who appreciate the help and will use it to improve their own lives and help themselves, but I can't stand laziness.
In my logical mind, I understand the plight of the poor. I'm aware of class inequalities and privilege and institutional racism. I've read Jon Scalzi's "Being Poor
" (I can identify with a lot of the items on that list!). Two years ago, I was a staunch advocate for the rights of the poor and oppressed. Now I feel like I've turned into a closeted conservative. I hear the stories of personal oppression straight from the mouths of the people I work with, and I'm unmoved. I'm more concerned with checking my facebook status than helping a single mother find a job. In the classes in my master's program, we constantly talk about social inequalities and I'm starting to sympathize more with the 'oppressors' than the 'oppressed'.
I'm self-absorbed, impatient, elitist, classist asshole and I hate everyone.
What the hell is wrong with me? How did I become this way? How can I get my head out of my ass and back in the game?
I know I'm not explaining this very clearly, so feel free to ask any follow-up questions. If it matters, my demographic background is: female, straight, mid 20s, non-white.