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.