But, it’s been a pattern for me. This blog is another perfect example. My last blog post here was 11 months ago. And I know exactly why that is. I had a plan, a meticulously carved out plan that I would blog a book, chapter by chapter each week. I decided that each chapter would be 1000 words. But then I wrote one that was 4000 words, so that became the new bar. Then I wrote one that was 8000 words, and that became the bar. The research and writing was taking more than 20 hours a week. I couldn’t keep it up. I burnt out 3 months and 35,000 words into writing. I decided to take a break. And until today, I’ve remained on that break. Every time I’ve tried to start again, I’ve felt I couldn’t because I’d messed up by stopping at all. And then the snowball effect happened – “It’s too late to start again, it’s been ___ months!” And how could I carve out 20 extra hours a week to write? I sabotaged myself before I’d even began again.
The thing is, I know I’m not alone. I am among large numbers of people out there who set unrealistically high standards for themselves. Standards you simply cannot meet. We can decide that there is a particular way we need to do something, and then when we don’t do it that way, we believe we’ve somehow failed. We’d never treat someone we love with such harshness, yet we inflict it upon ourselves. Why?
I’ve spent years learning how to be nicer to myself, loving myself flaws, past mistakes, and all. And I’m so proud of the strides I’ve made. They are major. But this particular issue of believing I must perform on schedule and according to plan regardless of illness, exhaustion, or unexpected events is something I’m still working on.
In the Fall, I took a really amazing certification course with Joy Balma called Rock Your Feminine Type Academy. I learned that my type is the Excellence Girl / Nurturer. In essence, it’s important for me to do things “right,” on time, according to plan, and to not let people down. I like to take care of others, but have a harder time taking care of me. I learned that I can leverage the strengths of who I am, and not allow the challenges to control me. I also learned that I can dig into my shadow types to help me maintain balance. As a result, I have brought crafting back into my life and want to try to have more fun for fun’s sake. And I'm working on cutting myself a break and not expecting so much from myself at all times.
I still do not like having to cancel things because I’m ill, but I did it. I can honestly say that six years ago I was so sick that I passed out in my kitchen at 3AM, got back up, took some meds, got on my computer and did work, and then drove to go teach a class. I’ve made progress. Now, at least I realize my limits, even though I’m still not thrilled that I have them. I suppose none of us are huge fans of having limits! But, I’ll get there. We'll get there. We are always works in progress.
We don’t have to be productive all the time. We get to be sick. We get to take breaks. We get to cancel things when life happens. Sometimes we have to lower the bar for ourselves to raise our wellbeing.
I want to sincerely thank a client of mine who I made a pact with last week. He wants to launch a blog. I told him if he’d write his first blog this week, I’d resurrect mine. Thank you wholeheartedly – you know who you are :)
This resurrected blog is going to happen as frequently as I feel like. It’s going to be as many words as it ends up. It may or may not end up as parts of my book. And my book will happen when it happens. I’m giving myself permission to have no structure here. Freedom. I like it.
So, if you take anything from this ramble of a blog post, I hope you take this, “Be nice to you.” I may or may not know you, but I bet you deserve some kindness.