It's been a while since I've shared anything personal. To be honest, for the better part of this year I've been battling old demons that I thought were far behind me. Negative, self-critical thought patterns have crept in, slowly, insidiously stealing my joy and my focus away from what's actually important to my soul and instead replacing it with doubt, worry, self-judgement, perfectionism and anxiety. It sucks balls and I'm consciously committing myself to turn things around.
It's taken getting to the point of feeling like I was having panic attacks over ordinary things, like being invited to social engagements, for me to step back and really, honestly, examine myself and try and figure out what the heck is going on. I guess there are a lot of things that have possibly contributed to my rising stress levels over the past year. Raising a large family - more often than not- on my own, renovating a house whilst living in it, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, quitting drinking, and frequently failing to live up to my own expectations of myself as a mother, wife, friend and person are no doubt all taking their toll.
However, the rational part of me knows that these things are just normal parts of life and really not worthy of the anxiety i lately find myself experiencing. So what then? At the moment, what seems the most likely explanation for my lack of inner peace, is that somewhere, deep inside my being, I've taken on the lie that who I am is simply not enough. No matter what I do, or how I do it, lately it's just never good enough and that inner critic is loud and vocal in whatever i find myself doing or NOT doing.
And so, here i am today, realising that the power to change lies within me. True self worth doesn't come from 'outer' accomplishments nor does it diminish from external criticism. I know that feeling 'enough' is not going to come from doing more or better. It comes from living in the present, feeling the moment and being grateful for it instead of comparing it to an imaginary expectation of it. It's shutting down the 'should be's' and 'should have's' and just focusing on what is and loving the people around you while you get on with it.
More and more, I find truth in old and forgotten bible verses. 'Make careful exploration of who you are the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself to others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you with your own life. - Galatians 6:4-5
The work i've been given is to raise my little people and impart to them things that matter to me. The last couple of weeks have been a huge reminder to me to stay true to that. Right now, they are my purpose. Having a quiet, clean and ordered house aren't the memories I particularly want my children to have and yet that's exactly what I've been focusing my attention on. Rather than pulling out the finger paints, making play dough and encouraging them to sing and dance, Jamie and I have been focusing on 2mm discrepancies between fence palings, scuff marks on the freshly painted walls and how high to hang the letterbox. Stuff that sort of matters but that shouldn't be the focus. I must remind myself that we can always go back and redo the house stuff but we only have one shot at their childhood. There aren't any do-overs. This is it. This is our life. It's more than enough just as it is and moving forward I'm choosing to believe that I am too.