When I was living in my disease I would push myself past my limit until I broke. I did it with everything. Exercise, what I expected to accomplish in a day, anything that had to do with expectations I would push far beyond where I should have stopped. I was in constant competition with myself to do more and better than I had ever done before. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s healthy to set goals and to push yourself, to not sit stagnant, but not to a point where your body and mind are breaking down. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to go above and beyond where we’ve ever been before? And, if we don’t meet that goal beat ourselves up for being a failure, or less-than?
For me it came down to not liking who I was. For always feeling I was wasn’t good enough, so when I couldn’t reach my unrealistic goals I could continue to tell the narrative that I just didn’t measure up, and never would. I would force myself to workout, even when sick, I would over schedule myself and when I ran late or wasn’t able to get it all done I again could berate myself failing. I would never let myself rest, or relax, or just pause and breathe, I was always on the go, and I was going to eventually hit a wall and crumble into the ground.
I realize now that I was doing that because I, yes, was trying to prove to myself that I was worth more than I thought I was, but also hoping I would fail to continue to tell myself I was a failure, that’s a viscous cycle to live in, and also because I wanted you all to think I was some sort of super woman who could do it all, so that you all would be impressed and wouldn’t ask too many questions, or would be so intimidated by me that you would keep a safe distance. Again, not a healthy cycle to live in.
When I was able to learn to love myself, along with that came adjusting my expectations to realistic proportions. To also learn and practice self-care, to give myself breaks, to allow myself to be human, I had to first admit my humaneness and get comfortable with it, and I had to let go of the notion that if I didn’t do everything on my list each day that that didn’t make me a bad person, I was OK. Now I still can get frustrated when I get less done than I think I should have, but, I can let it go and put that stuff back on the list for the next day, because, I’ve learned, nothing is worth my peace of mind, especially my to-do list. I can juggle a lot of things at once, and I still pride myself on that, but what I place more pride in, most days, is that I’m working on finding balance in my life. To get done as much as I can, but also leave room for some improvisation in my day, or perhaps spending some time in the middle of the day the with myself, or someone who deserves my attention. That’s a big step for an overachiever like me. But I no longer need the validation of a completed list to give me worth or value, I know that regardless of what I got done that I am still a good person, maybe even better, for listening to what I may have needed that day instead of my ego telling me what I should have done.
Make sure to go about your day and listening to what you need. Push yourself in areas where you want to see improvement, but not to a point of exhaustion, frustration, or a complete meltdown. Be good to yourself, honor yourself, and listen to what you need, set goals, and do the best you can, being proud of that best, and knowing that that best can change and grow, but, it doesn’t have to today. Put taking care of you at the top of the busy to-do list. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you set unrealistic expectations for yourself? List three. What makes them unrealistic? Why do you think you set them? What can you do to make them more realistic? What can you do to continue to set realistic goals in your life? If you don’t reach a goal how do you feel? Do you beat yourself up or, tell yourself you’ll get there eventually? Do you feel the need to always one-up other people in your life? Why do you do this? Do you let your ego take the wheel and push you past the point of your limits to a point of exhaustion? What can you do to stop this behavior? SLAYER, this all falls under self-love and self-care, making those two things a priority above any goal you may have, which, makes those goals you do hit, even sweeter, because they’ve come when you were ready for them and not when you told yourself you were.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you