How often do you hold onto stuff, before it builds up and takes you over?
The past few weeks have reminded me of my ability to the above…very well. I’ve noticed a pattern in me. I have something on the horizon; it could be work-related, a talk I am giving or a family event, but it’s out of my comfort zone and I begin to catastrophise it. I become full of self-doubt. My ego takes over and my self-esteem is kicked to the curb.
I worry myself to the point that what starts out as a dot on the ocean, suddenly becomes a tsunami ready to destroy me. It builds in my head, slowly but surely, until it becomes paralysing.
The event is of course never as bad as anticipated, but I spend far too much time thinking about whether I did a good job, what everyone else thought and wondering why I wasn’t praised personally. Of course, this is a very self-centred of way to live…it’s also pretty demoralising.
In the past, if I made a mistake I would spend hours berating myself. I felt like I needed to punish myself…it’s a behaviour closely linked to my eating disorder. My anorexia was all about me ‘paying my dues.’ It’s a bit like feeling you are a constant ‘sinner’ and you have to repent all the time.
In recent months, I have become pretty good at feeding my self-esteem and not my ego, but in times of stress the negative chatter creeps back in, and I start talking to myself as I’m an enemy to be tortured.
Throughout my eating disorder I was a total people-pleaser, and whilst I am less so these days, I do realise that I am often a sponge for other people. I take on other peoples ‘stuff’ and feel obliged to appease them or make their life easier…at the detriment to my own. The sponge can only soak up so much before it’s saturated, and that is what I am all too good at doing. Historically I haven’t found it easy to say no to people, I feel peoples pain and like to help others, but I actually think I need to start to care for my own needs again.
I struggle with this feeling because I don’t want to come across as selfish, but you know what, I think I just care too much! I need to let shit go. Just walk away and not think about others so much. Yes, I might fuck up at work, yes I might have offended someone, yes I put myself first, but hey, I think it’s time for a bit more me and a little less of everyone else.
I know that this isn’t going to be easy, but I am actively going to do a few things to help me…
- Just get on with it…not wait or expect feedback.
- Care less about others, by acknowledging that everyone has their own stuff and it is not always about ‘me.’
- Write my gratitude list every night and either share it with another or say it out loud.
- Journal more – get it out on paper.
- Don’t overload myself with work and stuff.
- Get out in nature more.
- Do not compare, do not compare, do not compare.
- Get sleep, eat and repeat.