“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
That quote has a lot to answer for. Most regularly interpreted as being “inspirational” in that cheery, positive-thinking “You can do anything you put your mind to” kind of way, all it does for me is create pressure.
There is something that is hard-wired into me, pushing me to be The Best. The Best What? Doesn’t matter. Not important. Right now, this has to be The Best blog post ever written. In a while, I’ll be cooking Cullen Skink for Le Homme and his mate to have when they come in from a (very wet) hill walk. That will need to be The Best Cullen Skink anyone has ever made. Later, I’m going to a Body Pump class at the gym, where lightning shall surely strike me down if I’m anything other than The Best in the class.
I’m not The Best. I will not be hit by lightning. But knowing that doesn’t make the ever-present little knot in my stomach go away. I can try to rationalise my feeling till the cows come home, go to bed and get up again the next morning, but I still seem to spend my time trying. Right now, I’m not thinking “Yay! I’m finally posting about all this rubbish that lives in my head!”. If I’m thinking anything it’s “Oh, this is so pointless, I’m never going to be able to explain myself the way I’d like.”
Which, some people would argue, is natural. And maybe they’d be right. But later, when I’m cooking, I’ll be thinking “Will this be good enough?”. When I’m at Body Pump, I’ll be thinking “Am I doing it right? What if I drop a weight? Will people laugh?”. And in between, when I’m just mooching around the house I’ll be thinking “Does my hair look right this way? Shouldn’t I be putting the washing away, instead of reading? I really should clean the kitchen floor or I’m disgusting. I must remember and text J or I’m a bad friend.”
I know most people have times when they want to get things right, and I can really see the value in that. But with me, it seems constant. From the second I wake up, till I fall asleep, the thoughts in my head are a constant litany of “shoulds” and “musts”.
And when things do go wrong? When a mistake happens in an area of my life that holds a significant amount of my self worth and value? I panic, freak out and make stupid decisions that lead to getting fired for misconduct. Which does not really work as a long term plan.
I have more to say on this (a lot more), but what it comes down to is simple. I want to be happy. I want to blog, cook, exercise, and live in a way that’s about enjoyment not anxiety. Simple, and yet somehow such a lofty ideal, I can’t imagine it.