Monday, March 22, 2010

Short of Perfect

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
John Burroughs

...all the quality time I want to spend with Madi, all the spaces in my home that need to be cleaned, all the reading and studying I need to get done for school, and all the little constant issues and things that need to be addressed. I feel overwhelmed.

Okay, Okay... I will admit, I am guilty! I am busy and I still find it hard to prioritize, organize, and figure out how to live life functionally. I struggle with perfection, and there is no doubt about it that, sometimes I am just too hard on myself. Sometimes I feel as though I am being pushed to the limit. I am overwhelmed, and there is just a sense of discontentment in my heart.

'Am I a good Mom? Am I spending my time productively? Am I making good decisions for Mine and Madi's life?'
There always seems to be a constant, nagging, lingering question -of this type- that lurks in the back of my mind. I am always looking over my own shoulder to see if I am doing it right. I think that like anyone else, I too struggle with the reality that I am not perfect and I make mistakes, but so do we all. My Mom helped open my eyes to a little piece of necessary reality the other day, while we were spending some much needed time together.

Through tears she stated, "You're the perfect Mom! You have it all together. Your life is structured and organized." Then she proceeded to talk about how out of control her life is, and how overwhelmed she feels to face all of the things that life throws her way. She expressed how inadequate she felt, and more than anything the underlying message of everything was that she felt as though she was failing at life.

At that moment I had an extreme sense of humility wash over me, realizing that I too have those same negative feelings about my own life, as she does hers. My Mom gave me insight into the reality of what day-to-day life entails. Life is overwhelming, it is hard, and we all fall short of perfect. Regardless of who we are, or what we do, we all make mistakes. What I am learning in life at the moment is that we are all individuals and we have our strengths and along with it, we have weaknesses as well.

My weaknesses have become my enemy, and they often become the focus of my life. Often I overlook my strengths. I tend to dwell on my failures and disregard my accomplishments. I am constantly beating myself up for the wrong choices I make, and for the negative patterns of behavior that I continually fall into. I place many unattainable pressures on myself, and feel a sense of disappointment when I fail at attaining them.

Sometimes I wonder if it is a female thing. Often as women we are constantly trying to be better... look better, do better, act better. There is even a cultural strain on us, from media and society telling us that we need to fit a certain standard. This standard, as it is presented by the media, is near perfection. I am pretty sure that no one fits that media standard!! Yet, I notice and see, in my life and many others as well, that we are constantly putting pressure on ourselves to meet this ideological standard of life.

So, the answer that I gave my Mom, after I gave her a good chuckle, was this "Mom, I am far from perfect! I fail everyday. I make bad decisions, and I am in constant awareness of how imperfect I am!" She isn't alone in her feelings of shame and failure, many people -even the ones who appear perfect- have the same feelings.

The cliche statement is true, 'The grass is greener on the other side.' So, just remember when you see the woman that looks like she has everything put together, chances are she doesn't. I am learning to be kinder to myself. I am trying harder to give myself the much needed break that I deserve. I am starting to remind myself that I have accomplished so much in both the small day-to-day things, and the things that affect my life as a whole. We can all use a little more encouragement, especially from ourselves, because often we are the hardest on ourselves. Dwelling on the negative is counterproductive - and actually a time waster in my mind. Naturally when we think positively things tend to work out better. Why waste time thinking negatively and dwelling on the bad, it is a waste of time. Spending your time focusing on negative thought interferes with your ability to be productive, and is wasteful, instead that energy can be used elsewhere.

Alyshia, a girlfriend of mine, pointed out to me how much I insult, and complain about myself - mostly in the physical sense. She was right, and I was feeling the effects of it emotionally. So I decided to strive to stop being so negative and to start telling myself and others how great I really am. I am of seeing and believing the reality of all of the positive aspects of who I am. The great thing is is that I am happier. I am more comfortable in my own skin, and more content with myself, even if I make a mistake. Confidence exudes inner beauty. This is the type of beauty that I want to characterize. I need to be confident for myself, and for Madi.