I don’t know about you but many of the expectations I have placed on myself are unrealistic. They did not take into account an injured knee, an emotional job, or the fact that cleaning ANY dishes will be the straw that breaks this camel’s back. Also, my judgments have lacked perspective. I’ve come to conclusions about myself without seeing the big picture.
Specifically, I have always had an eye for what was “wrong” and seemed to skim over the multitude of good deeds and characteristics that I shared with the world every day. These unrealistic expectations and harsh judgments lead me to feel helpless and “not good enough.” I might as well have been dodging hammer fist punches while walking a tight rope!
My solution? Grind a little harder. Make a better plan. Be more organized. Say it in a new way. Really commit. Sound familiar? Now, this extreme way of living required relief. Yet, a nice cup of tea and yoga session did not do the trick. No, only a Netflix binge, bottle of wine and package of Oreos relieved the worrisome pressure in my chest. Yikes, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel, but unfortunately it was a train.
After numerous consequences to my mind, body, spirit, relationships, and career, I reluctantly surrendered to the fact that my way was just not working. To me, this was the toughest blow of all…especially for a person whose main goals had always been to “do well” and “fix it.” I felt deflated, yet strangely grounded…humbled. I woke up each day and took a good, honest look at myself. I wrote in my journal and read my own words. I cried…a lot…and considered what I actually wanted out of life. How did I want to exist in this world? Why did I even want to exist?
Hmmm, I had never asked myself these questions. How interesting that my whole life I had frantically and ferociously tried to meet and live up to expectations and judgments that weren’t even mine. If you are nodding along to my words, then we can take comfort in the fact that we are not alone.
Okay, let’s take a collective breath. We have proved time and time again that we possess creativity, compassion, problem solving skills, and a killer work ethic. We are not lacking in any way. Our efforts have simply been divided, interrupted, and unfocused. We need to take time to consider our values…what is most important to us above anything else…Maybe we step out and put our own well-being at the top of that list.
Alicja Carter, MHR, LADC, BHWC, has been working in the behavioral health and addiction treatment field for over ten years. She is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Wellness Coordinator/Coach for Gateway to Prevention and Recovery in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Alicja is passionate about pursuing a well life and collaborating with others for the purpose of stimulating positive change in her community.