Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Completely irrational but....

I am really struggling at the moment with a sense of "not enough". No matter what I do, to me, it doesn't seem good enough, or enough done. Like this morning it's 10 am and I have one at school, one at kindy, one in bed, the washing is done, the dishes are done, the vacuuming is done, the ironing is done, the phone calls I had to make are done. But I can't seem to shift this feeling of restlessness that there is still more I could do or should do.

I know when I think about it rationally that I have already achieved so much today and my house is clean, tidy and inviting. BUT the big but is still there. So I am asking myself where this comes from. What inside me tells me this? What are my core beliefs? What are the coulds, shoulds, and have to's that I am letting rule my life?

On examining this on a deeper level I have come to the conclusion that my core belief really is that I will never be good enough, that there is always I higher level of achievement that I am missing the mark on. So where does the root of this belief come from? That one I am struggling with. I know there are a few issues of childhood which could add to this. The fact my Dad was a perfectionist and had very high levels of standard and my mum was very determined and did everything herself without asking for help. And what do you know - the two combined together equals ME! I have such a high standard for everything that affects my everyday life. I can't let other people do things for me because one, it won't be the way I do it and two it is a weakness to ask for help. I know both of these statements are completely irrational but it's rooted so deep in there for me that I hadn't stopped to ask myself how this is working for me.

The truth of the matter is it isn't working. I can't rest and relax as I don't ever feel like I have done enough to deserve the break. So how do I break the cycle of everything must be perfect, that enough work equals the right to relax, that my way is the right way? I know that identifying it is a start but the where to next is the hard part, as it will challenge every rule my life hangs by. Core beliefs really make or break us, especially maladaptive ones. I know my parents never meant for there well-meaning tidiness and determination to end with a child who is so critical of herself and scared to ask for help. But I know this is how I perceived it and it was a misperception.

But along the way other things have added to this belief. I remember getting my school certificate marks and feeling good about achieving passes in all 6 subjects. I got 83% as my top mark and my Grandfather jokingly asked what happened to the other 17%. I know that was a point in my life where I really took on board that I must struggle to achieve more. There have also been other incidents where I have asked for help and really felt that it has instead been turned around to something I have done or haven't done and I really adopted the attitude that just do it yourself, don't bother involving other people.

I know my hubby struggles with doing jobs or something nice for me as it is never good enough. I don't want to be this horrible person who people can't please so they would rather hide from me and give up altogether. As this leads to my next issue where I end up exhausted from doing everything myself and annoyed that no one every does anything nice for me, and on goes this horrible cycle. But why would they bother when it isn't going to be right anyway. So not only have I tainted myself with this horrible expectation, but I also put it upon the people I care about most. And rational response tells me that everything doesn't have to be perfect and that I'm putting way to much pressure on myself, husband, kids, family and friends. Although family  and friends probably don't know the extent of this as I wouldn't ask for the help or let them know if what they had done had let me down. I protect them but my family that lives under this roof know the full monster that controls my life.

God has been challenging me on this area too. As even He doesn't expect us to be perfect, so why should I be so hard on myself for this reason. He wants us to have vision and motivation and live an abundant life but never does He require from us perfection. That's why He offers us His grace and forgiveness.

So for now my journey is about being aware and changeling these core beliefs that are correct or working for me. It's definitely a hard this to do, but identifying it is the first step. next comes the vision of what I want to be instead, then the plan and doing it.


  1. I struggle with this every day! I was an A student right through school yet it was never good enough. Even in tertiary study I had a friend who used to spout 'C equals degree' but I breezed through with A's and always kicked myself that I should have studied harder to get even better marks.
    In daily life, like you, all the housework can be done and everything in it's place but there will be this nagging feeling something NEEDS to be done. I put a lot of pressure on myself unnecessarily - I would love to have the attitude of so what if I forget to clean the bathroom mirrors one day or I skip making the beds and not worry. My siblings are laid back so why aren't I? Was it because I was the first born? Maybe...
    Great post Jess

  2. Feeling for you - such a common feeling that can rob the joy from your day. Praying that you find a peace and balance in this area! xox

  3. I struggle with this as well. Except when I start feeling overwhelmed, I don't work harder...I just give up and the next thing I know I'm completely snowed under a pile of housework. I wish I had some of your discipline...but I also wish your discipline didn't cause you such troubling thoughts. Love you x