Sunday, August 18, 2013

Expectations...Give me an Anvil and I'll Pound in my Head

Trust me, there's no one in this world who's a greater nemesis to me than myself. Oh, yeah, I have people that upset me, anger me, frustrate me, drive me crazy, and often make me question the direction of the human race, but when it comes right down to hate, it's that woman in the mirror who gets the brunt of the blow 100% of the time.

Don't get me wrong. I'm generally a very positive person. Even about myself. I have improved through the years. It's just that I've become so good at self-depreciation through the years, it comes easily and naturally. Especially in times of stress. For me, it's easier to take the fall, take the blame, take the bloody nose rather than try to prove I'm smart and lovable and wonderful...

...because deep down I still think I'm not.

I can think of some off-color phrases my husband, my close friends, and my family would insert right now that are not "G" rated contradicting my belief. I smile and blush and thank them profusely.

So why can't *I* see this? Why is it that we can't see the wonderfulness that is us? As a teacher, I run into the same issue with kids at school. I see their potential, their inner beauty, their amazing nature to learn and see and grow, yet many of them are limited because they think they are ugly and stupid and worthless. I coach them and push them and cheer their every success yet still, in the end, they still believe, as I do: I am not the wonderful person everyone thinks I am.

I think what it comes down to is expectations. We each have a set of expectations that are set based on some ridiculous bar set by society or media or fiction that is unattainable. Don't get me wrong. I believe high expectations gets you great results. But sometimes in the night when all you're left with is your thoughts, those little negative voices, they whisper poison in your ear that is counterproductive. And when you start listening to those thoughts, they start eating you from the inside out. It's a pain no one can see and no one can help you with unless you ask...but how do you express your pain without it sounding like, "Hey, would you give me a compliment today? I'm all about me and you should be, too." That is so not the point.

So when I get in these moods, I remind myself of how hard I've worked to get where I am physically, mentally, and spiritually. Peace doesn't come easily nor does it stay without constant effort. Counterintuitive, but I have found, true. I remind myself of the people around me who care about me and wouldn't STAY around me if they didn't care. What do I have otherwise that they would want? My furniture? Ha! And I also look at my expectations: am I expecting TOO much of myself? Do I need to say "no" so that I can focus and be wonderful at the things I need to do rather than being stressed about the million things I have to be doing?

Finally, I remind myself, I cannot allow myself to be defined by my failures. Failure is merely an opportunity to rise above the shattered remains of the past and grow stronger to face the next challenge. What is past is past. Leave it there.

On to the next revision, then.