acceptance

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i have a a problem with accepting myself. 
i’m a perfectionist when it comes to what i think i should be doing & i set myself high, unrealistic expectations.
unfortunately, i’ve been this way since i can remember.

in elementary school, i would get horrible stomach pains on a regular basis.
i remember going to the doctor many, many times trying to figure out what was causing this problem. over and over again they would ask me and my mom if i was stressed out.
and i would tell them over and over again, NO!
i didn’t want to admit that i was doing this to myself.

because the truth was, that even at a young age, i was constantly stressed & anxious.
in 4th grade, i was diagnosed with GERD [acid reflux] which can be exacerbated from high amounts of stress. and even though i was only 9 years old, i learned to spread myself thin and expect too much of myself.

i had to do every.single extra credit assignment.
i had to get straight A’s.
i had to be the most creative.
i had to have the best ideas.
i had to have the most responsibilities.
and if i didn’t, i was a failure. 
and if i was a failure, then that meant i wasn’t liked & accepted.

i remember in 6th grade being completely devastated because my teacher didn’t choose me to be a leader of a group project. i was a hard worker. i got good grades. i had great ideas & creativity.  but i just wasn’t good enough.

unfortunately, this mentality has stuck with me my whole life. no matter what i accomplish, it is never good enough. if i mess up once, then my world comes crumbling down.

you can imagine how much this has affected my schooling, jobs, relationships, marriage, and parenting.  though this kind of thinking has always pushed me to be better, it has also brought me to my lowest.

this last weekend, my friend’s mother came to town to visit and i got to spend some time with her for a couple of hours. let me preface this by saying: in high school, i dated her son as seriously as little high school kids could be. because i was “the girlfriend,” i was always a little nervous around her and what she truly thought of me. so when she said the following thing to me, it meant more than anyone could ever know.

she said, “you have done more to bless other’s lives than you even know. you are incredible & amazing. and you need to know that! you are better than you give yourself credit for.”

i have thought about those words for the last week and can’t help but get emotional every time.
i know she was here to help her daughter but i couldn’t help but feel that in some small way she was here to help me. because i needed her. and i needed to hear that.

too often do i beat myself up over little things.
too often do i replay conversations & events {long in the past!} and wish i did it differently
too often do i allow myself to get so caught up in my feelings of despair that i don’t allow myself to see the good all around me and the good that i have accomplished.
i think we maybe all do that to some extent.

after having a good heart-to-heart with Adam tonight, i know i need to start changing.
i need to start remembering some of the tools i learned in therapy.
one of them being, “don’t be so hard on yourself!”

i’m ready to start practicing that.
are you?

18 comments:

Momma Bird said...

i can relate to this. such a hard thing to really tell yourself - that you are good enough. hang in there :) it will be better!!

Annette said...

I, too, can relate. It's quite the process to change all that, but it's doable. I admire your honesty and wish you all the best!! xoxo

Erin said...

I can really relate to this! Growing up, I was the SAME way. I did not have acid reflux, but my parents thought I was going to have a bleeding ulcer any day. I just wanted to excel and be the best at everything and that is literally exhausting and IMPOSSIBLE! I love that someone told you that because its so very true girl! THanks for sharing!

Jodi Ann said...

This was such a great post for me to read today. I have always felt the same way and still struggle with moving forward after making a mistake or not being "perfect" at something. I love your open and honest writing. And what your friend's mom said...those words are gold!

GingerPeachT said...

Wow, I just wrote a post very similar to this!! I wasn't a perfectionist at school, it's more with being the perfect wife in my case. I'm right there with you! Let's not listen to satan's lies that he feeds us. We are God's children. :-)

Amy said...

I think you and my oldest daughter must be spirit sisters. Do you have any great suggestions (she does see a counselor) to try to nip this in the bud and work on retraining thought patterns to avoid getting too caught up in the depression? As a mom, I'm pretty clueless to help her. :)

Lauren Gardner said...

Great post.I am the same way. And its exhausting! Lets get better at it together! :)

Blake said...

I just recently came to the reality that 99% of myself is self-imposed because of my perfectionist nature. I'm convinced that realizing it a huge step towards living a healthier life. I'm really excited for you as you walk through this. I know it's going to be so freeing!

jessica dukes said...

i love this. and could have written this exact same blog. thanks for sharing your heart.

Emma Frances said...

I love this. And I think we all need to be reminded of this often. It is amazing how others find the EXACT words we need to hear at just the right time. People really are God's hands {&voice} here on this earth.

Autumn said...

Ahhhh..thanks for sharing this! I have been realizing that there is a little bit more to me not having energy when I get home from teaching here lately. I kept saying "oh next week, I will have more energy..." or "oh, next week this will be back to normal." Now it's been two or three months and I'm still not myself still.

Thanks for sharing :)

Katie said...

Loved this post! We sound very similar. I had ulcers in 3rd grade because I was such a worrier! Ugh! We all need to be a little more forgiving of ourselves! You are great!!

Alexis Kaye said...

OH MY GOSH LET'S BE FRIENDS! Seriously I was the same way when I was younger. It wasn't out of the ordinary for me to miss both pictures days and not be in the year book. My mom said I missed half of kindgergarten because I was so sick from being stressed. KINDERGARTEN! I had more reasons that the typical 5 year old to be stressed, but still. Something I've learned from therapy is that when things happen I have to sort them out in to different categories. My therapist told me to use the "mine" and "not mine" to decide if things are my responsibility and if I should take offense. For example, the teacher not pickign you would be not yours. But now I've taken it further and sort things into "important" and "not important" it sounds silly but it really helps me :) good luck friend!

emilyc3313 said...

I happened upon your blog and read this post. It was like reading a page out of my own journal. Too often I worry about things I can't control, until I make myself sick. Thank you for sharing! It truly has touched me!

Bonnie Gutzman said...

ummm. I am you. that's all. ;) I can still remember those little things that happened when I was young and feel upset. I still cry when I don't get an A. I dwell and dwell and dwell on small, dumb things I said, mostly things long in the past. I stress so badly about not being a perfect wife and mom. I've not yet accepted that we can't reach perfection in this life. I try to tell myself, but then don't really mentally believe or act on it.

Sami said...

This is exactly what I needed to read this morning, very inspiring. I've been struggling with similar things but it all boils down to being too critical of myself. Thank you for this, it was just what I needed to read.

Your new follower, Sami =]

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stephie said...

I know we dont know eachother well but I just love you! I look forward to your posts and love hearing what you have to say. I struggle too to use the tools ive learned but just know I think your fantastic!!