Buy the flowers …
Quite often I get so lost in the list of things unticked but still to do instead of taking stock of what I have actually achieved. It is a downward spiral that leads to anxiety, self-doubt and the deterioration of self-care. I lose sight of the ‘all done’ list that is a mile long, filled with amazing accomplishments that could purpose to encourage me to keep going. I give up on tooting my own trumpet, I won't buy flowers or treats in favour of bashing myself over the head with a couple of things I didn’t get done amidst the chaos that is this life.
After a humdinger of a session with my Coach, Kim who is amazing and I cannot recommend enough; I felt the darkness of the week slowly lift off. Not because she waved a magic wand, but because she made me stop and think about where my focus was. I had put all my energy into the negative and it had sent me into a spiral of anxiety which I was struggling to come out of. It was literally taking my breath away, like what I’d imagine drowning to feel like. But when she wrote down the list of negatives, unfinished woes and compared it directly to the list of things I had still managed to achieve it stopped me dead in my tracks.
I had stopped caring about myself because my focus was on a few things I felt I had failed in. And by a few I mean one thing, whilst dealing with some pretty full on trigger stuff. Phil’s Mum was admitted to hospital which is a worry because the woman is hardly ever ill. Our friends funeral is Monday, and the trigger of emotions about losing my own Dad is lingering in the background. Ells has had a tough time at school thanks to some idiotic rumour mills who haven’t got anything better to do and so the churn of anxiety over her hurting herself is ever present. There are a couple of other things, but they are too sensitive to talk about right now. But the fact is under normal circumstances that is a pretty full plate of life right there. Even on my best days I would struggle with all of that emotional expense, and yet here I am berating myself because I haven’t been Super Woman this week.
In the rational it is preposterous. There is no such thing as Super Woman and it is ridiculous to even attempt to be so but here I am doing my best to a be just that. My achievements this last week went by unnoticed, overshadowed and that’s not balanced. I remember my Mom talking to me about the 80/20 rule, whereby we become so trained at not seeing the 80% that’s done in favour of focusing in on the 20% that isn’t. It is like painting an entire wall single handedly only for some git to come in and say ‘you missed a bit’ instead of praising the achievement. And of course the crux of that analogy is that you are the one doing the painting and the pointing! We truly are our own worst critics.
Kim showed me the list of achievements from the week, of which there were about 25 items on her list, and asked what I would say to a friend in the same situation. Deep breath in because we all know full well we would never berate a friend for the little bit they didn’t accomplish and ignore the arm long list of things they did. We would toot their trumpet for them, cheer them, encourage them, even buy them some flowers. So why do we speak so harshly to ourselves? Why do we allow that negative voice to speak so freely to us, making us feel less than? Unworthy? It is ludicrous when we say it out loud and yet we do it to ourselves in the privacy of our own minds all the time.
My perspective needed adjusting massively. I needed to be my own best friend for a moment and show myself more than a little kindness. I needed by myself a bunch of flowers, to toot my own damn trumpet and not feel weird about it. I had not dropped a single ball, my kids were fed and safe, the washing was done, the house was clean and everyone was alive! I needed to allow myself the space to acknowledge that it hadn’t been a terrible week at all, in fact it had been a pretty good week with a little justifiable emotional expense. And that is ok.
All too often we spend all our time staring at what feels like a mountain in our lives. In our rational minds we know it isn’t a biggie, but there it is like Everest before our eyes. But when we take a step back, be our own friend, speak kindly to ourselves and adjust our eyes to take in the bigger picture, all that’s really before us is a bit of a mole hill. It is so much easier said than done, but maybe try having your done list next to your to-do list to keep that balance, to encourage you, to help you toot your horn because you are amazing, I am amazing and contrary to the status quo of society it is not conceited to think that way either! So get yourself a treat, reward yourself with some self-love, buy the flowers and eat the chocolate because it is better to be your own best friend than your own worst critic.