You can do anything, but not everything.
— David Allen
I did a small thing this week. A small thing that was a big thing. It’s going to sound really silly when I tell you, but I’m inordinately proud of myself for achieving it. I say ‘achieving’… it won’t seem that way to most people. But for me, it was an achievement.
For a very long time I’ve believed that I have to do and be everything. That the only way to be enough is to be perfect. To be all things to all people. The dependable one, the capable one, the reliable one. Superwoman.
I believed that non-perfection was failure, and that failure was unacceptable. And so many things fell under the non-perfect banner. Sickness, weakness, laziness, unemployment, depression, being single… there was literally nothing that I wouldn’t take as evidence of my absolute shitness. It makes me almost cry when I think about how much I’ve hated myself over the years.
I’m not really sure where that came from… I have a few ideas, though. Wherever it came from, I so fervently believed it. It was my absolute truth. I was not good enough.
So I pushed and pushed and took on everything that I could for years – and I kept failing. I kept breaking. Collapsing under the weight of it all. This, of course, was further evidence for my jerkbrain to throw at me when I was at my lowest points. About how incapable I was of managing even day-to-day normal life. And so the self-hate grew and grew. And you cannot take care of something you hate.
I won’t say that I’m totally cured – I still have a tendency to feel the need to do it all. But this time I know I’m overreaching. I know it’s headed for a big crash. And I know that something’s gotta give. The first thing to give was my immune system, it seems… I’ve been smothered with a nasty cold all week.
But for the first time ever, I just accepted it. I stayed in bed. I rested. I let D take care of me. I called in sick to work. I did not have a panic attack about calling in sick to work. I did not feel guilty. I did not offer to work from home. I did not go back before I was well. I felt entitled to time off to rest my body and my mind. And so my body and mind were rested.
A small thing. But a big thing, for me.
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