I was bustling around as I normally do. I had to grab the camera, the checkbook, get together all of the pictures to return to the Lifetouch so that I wouldn’t have to pay for the whole package of preschool spring photos, and preschool graduation photos (this is a racket), I wanted to grab my chai…oh yeah and the girls bathing suits.
Tommy had just passed his kidney stone an hour or two earlier and was feeling much better and it was time to swing by and pick up Ava from her last day of preschool (sniff), get a picture of her (hence the camera), and then run her to a friend’s house, where Grace already was, so that we could then come home, make a picnic, and then head up to the elementary school for the end of year picnic.
My thought upon entering the car? “You should have gotten gifts for all the teachers….you’re such an ingrate and look at all that they do. You didn’t even write them thank you notes.”
That was this afternoon. All of a sudden I was in a terrible mood about the day. I felt like snapping at Tommy…maybe he would make a comment about how I took too long in the house….
Me: “What time is it?”
Me: “I don’t think we’re going to have time to go clean out the car now.”
All of a sudden I recognized it. I hadn’t even noticed that I’d thought the thing about being an ingrate…I just recognized that my mood had completely changed, and I was about to pick an argument with my spouse over it. Then I’d apologize. Then I’d probably cry about how stressed I was. Then Tommy would ask what I was stressed about. I would list off a million bajillion things, and then he would tell me that I’m doing enough, that I’m doing a great job, and then when I was almost half way convinced he was right, I would push it all aside. Yep, that is our pattern. True, it is not the worst possible pattern.
But today I noticed it. Today I felt myself going into that horrible shame spiral that makes me awful to be around for a little while. And today I let it go, while in the midst. I am not sure exactly what I did, but somehow I was able to look through all the B.S. that that awful voice inside of me sometimes says and answer with a resounding “I am enough.”
I’ve tried to reason my way out of it before. Listing all of the things that I do. Listing all of the things that have gone wrong so that I wasn’t able to do the thing that I’m beating myself up over. But the truth is that as a person, I am enough. That’s it. I don’t have to prove it. It just is. You can’t convince a negative voice to stop berating you. You can’t reason with the unreasonable. This sort of negativity is not the sort of thing that you can say….But we’ve had a sick person at home and spent all of Monday in the ER. Also, it’s been very busy with two climbing babies and also…laundry.
It just doesn’t work. The negative voice is only satisfied with perfection, and as you approach the bar always moves….and if you sink the bar moves…as long as you listen to the voice, the perfection gets harder to attain. Harder to grasp at. Here’s the thing though. Perfection does not exist.
Perfectionism is real and debilitating…but there is no such thing as perfect.
Here’s another thing though, I’m also really bad at not working towards it. No matter how unattainable that mark is…I always try for it. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Brene Brown yet in this post…but here it comes. She talks about how one way that people arm themselves against shame and vulnerability is to keep ourselves constantly busy. She calls it numbing.
I did not think I would relate to the idea of numbing. I don’t smoke or do drugs or drink alcohol. I don’t even watch much tv. However, when she said that keeping ourselves busy was a form of numbing I was reminded of a conversation that I had with Tommy the other day. He was suggesting that I just enjoy myself and sit.
“Yeah, I don’t really do that.” Was my response. I really don’t. That’s not to say that I never sit. I sit plenty. I sit to nurse, but I try to read or listen to something to expand my mind at the same time. The one and only time of day that I just sit and do something enjoyable with no other purpose is when we sit and have dessert together at the end of the evening. We usually watch one episode of a 22 minute long show.
I was feeling pretty proud of that. I felt like I was maximizing on my time. Using my hours wisely. I write this blog. I go pull a few weeds in the garden. I listen to an interesting podcast. I do hundreds of tasks for my children. Etc.
And there is nothing wrong with any one of those things. Absolutely nothing wrong with it. However, I’m noticing that I still push to accomplish things with a fear of not being good enough, smart enough, accomplished enough. Because if I sit still, the shame floods in. I can’t stop up that negative voice with my good works.
I have to somehow learn to stand in the posture of “I am enough.”
Tommy has been helping me with posting on Facebook. I get bogged down and sometimes forget or get paralyzed about posting stuff on the Conscious Doer page….It’s also a weird perfection thing. This week he asked a really good question over there, and by chance…it relates to some stuff that I’ve been considering lately (imagine that).
Anyway, I had a realization about my name the other day. As I’ve posted before, “the conscious doer of everything” is the english translation of my given name Karta Purkh. As I was reading about shame and perfectionism earlier this week I realized that I need the focus to be on the conscious portion right now. I’m really good at the the doer of everything. What I’m bad at is recognizing that the motivation is coming from a place of fear. Fear of that negative voice who tells me how imperfect I am.
You know what, I am imperfect. And so is everyone else I know….and I love them way more for it. Not less.
So, everyone, take that with you. You’re enough.
Also, I did post last week’s winner of the xoxo soaker pattern prize giveaway. Thank you to those who participated, and also to those who helped us share our pattern with the world.