I am coming to confront some things about myself these days – not terrible things, and not confront as in finger-pointing and nasty – so perhaps a better word is recognize. Because it’s true that although I understand certain things about the way I behave, I do not always recognize what they mean when all is added up.
The first recognition is that I am some kind of WORKAHOLIC. While it’s true that I don’t spend all my waking hours at my job, I do spend all of my waking hours busy with something. As in, I can’t just relax because I feel like I should be doing something all the time. ALL the time. For real. And if I’m not doing something ALL the time I hear a voice that tells me I’m lazy and not a very good person. Having said that I am very FORTUNATE that I am not an office-driven workaholic and instead I subvert most of that drive into household activities like gardening, sewing, housekeeping, cooking, canning and so forth — all things I love to do. What I don’t love is feeling like I need to keep going all the time in order to keep up my sense of self-worth.
And it’s not only that I’m busy all the time, but I set really ridiculous standards for myself — which is my second recognition — I am also some kind of a PERFECTIONIST. I have never felt at home with that label because I am so un-perfect in everything I do. But as I talked to my psychologist the other day it dawned on me that I set impossible standards anyways. For example – it’s not enough that I make the occasional piece of clothing for myself if I don’t make all my own clothing. Or it’s not enough that I meditate every day if I don’t sit in the position of greatest discomfort to myself while doing so. Top that off with the fact that I can’t sit in a room with a crooked picture on the wall without straightening it and one might get the idea that I am UPTIGHT. But I am not uptight about other people. Just me.
The good thing is that I am somewhat aware of these behaviours and I am definitely not on the extreme end of the spectrum. I just need to take care a little more to step back from myself and determine what I really need in terms of self-care and self-talk.
So yesterday, for example, rather than taking a lot of meds and powering through my chronic sinusitis attack (which has been going on for days and is really painful), I stayed home, watched bad TV in bed all day and didn’t feel bad about it. (The fact that I finished crocheting the above sweater was a bonus, but nothing I felt like I had to do). The staying home is something I am willing to do when I am sick — but the not feeling bad about it is an entirely different fish than I am used to. And the fact that it was as easy as telling myself “this is okay, you need to rest and not feel guilty about it” makes me wonder if I end up feeling bad about myself just because it’s a habit and not because I actually, deep-down, feel that way.
Like I said – recognitions. I’m having them these days. Hopefully in the discovery I can also find ways to change these things and go a little easier on myself. Because I enjoy my life – and it would be just that much better if I let myself truly enjoy myself.