Friday, May 18, 2012

Noticing Progress

I want to be perfect.  I want to have all the answers.  I want to be able to do anything and everything all the time.  Be everything my family and friends want me to be.  Is that really so much to ask?

Of course it is, and it sounds ridiculous.  But time and again those are the standards I judge myself by.

I walk through my house and notice everything that needs to be done.  I notice the mess.  I notice things that are broken.  I notice what I've never really liked about the house that I still haven't changed.  And I feel bad.  I feel like I am not enough because it's not all perfect.  Right now!

I wake up and start moving at the beginning of the day.  From the moment I start to stir, I feel tired.  So tired.  As I get moving I notice how much my head hurts.  Maybe I notice how dizzy I am or how blurry my vision is.  And how little motivation I have to do anything.  I try to get my kids up and off to school, getting irritated and grumpy in the process.  And I feel like a failure because I lose my cool and snap at them.  I want to be the mom that's happy all the time and participates in everything they do.  I want to be at every event.  I want to play with them and study with them and help them when they are sad.  Every time!

But I can't.

I am a problem solver by nature.  My mind is constantly working to fix things:  physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological -- and all the other "al" words.  Which serves me well much of the time.  But it also holds me back and causes me pain.

We can only truly focus on one thing at a time.  Sometimes we fool ourselves into believing that we are multi-tasking, but we're not really.  Our brain isn't paying attention to lots of things at once.  It's swapping out attention from one thing to another, sometimes so fast that we don't realize that's what is happening. 

Why does the inability of our brains to multi-task matter?  Because if we are looking at the problems we are not seeing the successes.  This is a major struggle for me.

I see the messy house.  I don't see the six trailer-loads of stuff I cleaned out and gave to charity or the five trailer-loads that went to the dump.  I don't see all the things I gave away to family and friends.  I don't see all the free things that were offered to me that I politely refused to keep from bringing more stuff into my life.  I see that my life isn't spartan and pristine, not that it's so much better and more peaceful.

I see how tired I am.  I don't see all the doctor's visits, therapy visits, prescriptions, tests, lifestyle changes, and progress I've made.  I don't see that I used to go to bed for days, semi-sedated just to face another day full of pain.  I don't see those months on end when I didn't leave my house except for church.  I don't see those times when I was so depressed that I scared my husband.  Or those times when my mental state was so bad that I sliced my own arms open.  I don't see that these things aren't true anymore.  I overlook the fact that I've checked back into life.  I don't see that I am doing so much, so many things.  I only see all the things I want to do but can't.

Not today.  Today I see progress.  I am not all I want to be.  My life is not all I want it to be.  But I have done so much and come so far.  And that's what I'm going to focus on today.

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Blogger Jennifer Grigg said...

You are my favorite problem solver. Free photoshoot for a consult on 11 truckloads out of my house.

May 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger MaggieJo said...

I have been thinking about this so much lately. That meditation book I picked up has helped because it is something for me that in nothing. It doesn't have to be fixed, picked up, finished, etc. It just is. Which I need! (The Mindfulness Solution if you care) I'm also trying to focus on better choices, not perfect choices. Yesterday went well under that theory. Today, not so much.

May 18, 2012 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

I tend to focus on the haven't dones as well. But you make a great point that there is so much we do get done and we shod be focusing on accomplishments.

Your progress in the area of your health alone is amazing! What a difference, and really, that's something that you should be so proud of.

Stopping by from SITS.

May 19, 2012 at 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Kacey @ Well-Rounded Home said...

Oh my goodness...I totally needed this post. This is so where my head's been this week. Thanks for getting me to start looking at things from a different perspective.glad I found you through the SITS sharefest.

Your header image is brilliant! It gave me a good chuckle.

May 19, 2012 at 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Bonnie said...

Been There. So sympathize. If we can turn the compassion and perspective that we have with others inward, we would heal, ... someday. It's so zen to accept the present, to embrace the mess, to live in peace with chaos. But it's better. And it's divine, because he meets us there. I love you. Only you would think to offer me an opportunity to help and buy me flowers in the same moment. You are amazingly perceptive. That's more important than a spotless house.

May 19, 2012 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Louise Ducote said...

Sounds like you're doing great, Robin! We call ALL do better, always, but since it can't happen instantly (darn) steady improvement is as good as it gets.

May 20, 2012 at 4:43 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

It sounds like you have accomplished a lot for many people just by sharing the ideas in this post. I really like these lines: "But I have done so much and come so far. And that's what I'm going to focus on today."
It is all about choosing what to focus on ...
Thanks for stopping by my blog ... there are times I choose to focus better than others and that happened to be one of them!

May 20, 2012 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger jamie @ [kreyv] said...

I saw a quote that read, "If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?"

I think that (especially as women and mothers) we are way too hard on ourselves. I love your post and the reminder to focus on what we have accomplished rather than what we haven't.

May 20, 2012 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger K and D Roylance said...

I'm glad the sun was shining for you today and you could feel it's warmth of it's rays.

You have always gone out of your way to be supportive and encouraging of me in my efforts, especially in things that have been outside my comfort zone. I know for a fact that you offer this love and support to so very many others. I hope you can feel the same being returned to you on the good days and on the not as good days.

May 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM  
Anonymous tori said...

Oh lady, I struggle with the Fix All Things All The Time issue, too. We all need those days where nothing gets done, no tasks get completed, but we still feel okay with the calm.

May 22, 2012 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Melinda@LookWhatMomFound...and Dad too! said...

it's ok to say no sometimes. let things go, it'll still be there later or someone else will take care of it.

May 22, 2012 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Suz said...

I have been thinking of you lately, I know I don't fully know or understand all that you have and continually face; but from what little I have read, you amaze me.

Keep strong !


May 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Ginny Marie said...

I love the picture in your header! You're right; it's so easy to focus on the negative aspects of things instead of looking at the positive. I'm so glad you are making progress!

Thanks for stopping by Lemon Drop Pie!

May 22, 2012 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

You could have been writing so much of that about me. I've made a lot of progress in my life, especially over the past couple of years. Deep down I know it, but I have a hard time recognizing it. I focus on all the stuff that's still wrong and don't realize how far I've come.

I don't think it's wrong to want things to be good. I don't think it's bad to always be striving for better. But some of us beat ourselves up far too much over it.

I'm going to do what you're doing and decide to see the progress. Even if just for today.

May 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Good for you! I like that you have made a commitment to yourself and being well.

May 23, 2012 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for being so positive and for reminding me to remember the little things. What an awesome perspective.

May 30, 2012 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for being so positive and for reminding me to remember the little things. What an awesome perspective.

May 30, 2012 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Running Circles said...

Robin sometimes I swear you take a page out of my own life! I could be looking at the most beautiful thing in the world and only see what's wrong with it. Good job at recognizing it and choosing to see all the progress!

May 31, 2012 at 2:57 AM  
Anonymous Libby said...

Not far into reading this I exhaled a quiet 'yes'. Is it a female thing or a Mum thing that makes us see what isn't rather than what is? Thank you for sharing your progress.

June 5, 2012 at 4:53 AM  

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