Wanting to Give Up
It's easy to start off on a new path with confidence and determination. Maybe you've decided to start exercising and eating better. Maybe you've decided, like in my case, to start writing a blog, or maybe you've made a vow to simply hang up your clothes when they are done drying. You blast off in your new found inspirations with an upheaval of exuberance, you feel unstoppable and in control of your life. You stay this way for a whole week, really killing all your expectations. And then it happens...you start to slack. At first you say that it's only a day of not meeting your goals and you will get right back on track tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes and you really talk yourself out of doing anything, "I'm too tired. Work was stressful, life is stressful. I'm not really seeing any results anyway, so why does it matter?' You eventually give up. Then you roll around in self-pity because you feel defeated.
I have been in this situation many times, more times than I would like to admit. I make a big spectacle of myself to my friends and loved ones about the changes or advancements I have made. Then I look like a fool to everyone because I didn't stick with it. I end up feeling too defeated to keep trying. I feel as though that once I fail I don't get another chance. It's like I'm living my life under the thumb of impossibility. I am so strict with myself that I don't give myself any leniency. Once I fail...that's it...I must be a failure.
This type of thinking is self-destructive and very far away from self-serving. The problem with me is that the idea of perfection was bred into me early. Anybody that was worth something, for instance, dressed and looked a certain way, with jobs or careers that were impressive and worthy of praise. I was never able to meet the many strict standards placed upon me. I always fell short. For example, my outfits were never put together correctly, my hair was never styled fashionably, I wasn't skinny enough, my taste in music wasn't acceptable (depending on the parent), hell, even the way I walked across the house was wrong. The way I opened doors was wrong. The way I loaded the dishwasher was wrong. The way I chewed my food was wrong. The way I answered the phone was wrong. The way I drove was wrong. Being was wrong and I could never get things right. On the few occasions I did, the rules would change, the next time; defeated again.
This type of emotional abuse breeds a woman who is so afraid of not meeting an imaginary, ever-changing, and ever-subjective standard that she berates herself regularly. This is why whenever I slack at something I feel like the world is over. I start telling myself that my parental figures were right, and I can never live up to being a smart, respectable or lovable individual. Don't get me wrong, I am a determined young woman. Most things I dedicate myself to I achieve, eventually. But during these battles for self-improvement I am so hard on myself that I've had many full blown panic attacks when things didn't work out exactly as planned. This type of abuse has taught me to always doubt myself, but I'm relearning a healthier thinking pattern through EMDR therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication therapy.
Anyone can feel as though they are defeated. The trick is, as I've slowly learned, is to be kind to yourself. Humans are fallible creatures at best. We make many mistakes and have many faults. Perfection is non-existent and it is impossible to live trying to meet someone else's standards. Standards that we make for ourselves, however, should be realistic and forgiving. Slacking or falling behind is normal, learning to get back up and keep trying is what makes us successful. Life cannot be perfect because perfection does not exist. Again, be kind to yourself and let other's opinions of how you should be living go in one ear and out the other. Nobody is in your head but you and when you start changing that narrative to a more positive, loving, and forgiving voice, anything is possible.