lowering the bar

Eli & mommy[this picture is blurry. and maybe over pixelated? i don’t know much about pictures. but i just know that i love this one. it’s rare that i get a picture with my baby boy!]

one of my biggest struggles is saying no.
i want to help everyone and do everything and make everyone happy.
my friend Jessica tells me all the time, “you can say no! it’s okay. people will understand.”
and i know they will understand and be supportive, but I can’t handle it.

i set incredibly high expectations for myself. and it doesn’t help that i compare myself to others [or what i perceive from others] and use it to set my bar.
and after this last month, i realized how dangerously thin i spread myself causing me to nearly have another breakdown.

granted, things happened beyond my control [sicknesses & accidents]
but i could’ve stepped back.
at any moment i could’ve recognized my limits and stopped pushing myself. but i refused.

one night, Adam was trying to be sweet and wanted to cuddle and watch a movie.
instead of melting into his arms and enjoying the moment with him, i snapped at him, told him to give me my space, and that i was really stressed and needed to finish some work.

he just kind of looked at me and said, “what work do you have to be stressed about?”
nothing.
i had no honest reason to be stressed other than i expected more out of myself.
i had been creating all this turmoil & exhaustion for myself because of my own ridiculous expectations.

i could be reveling in the fact that i get to stay home with my son all day, have absolutely nothing on my schedule besides some work for my assistantship, and just relax.
but instead i tell myself i need to write this, and do that, and go here because that’s what good moms do!
and if i want to be a good mom, a good wife, a good blogger, a good friend, i need to do everything! 

when i was going to therapy, my counselor pointed out my constant need to live up to some unrealistic ideal that i make for myself. and because of this unattainable bar i set for myself, there is no way for me to feel fulfilled or accomplished because nothing will ever be good enough.
and if i keep raising it, i will never allow myself to be happy with my life and my circumstances.

for a while i was very much aware of this problem and i felt like i did pretty well to keep it under control.
but it all came back to me recently.
so now that’s what i’m working on again.
i’m working on understanding my own limits.
i’m working on allowing myself to be human.
i’m working on putting my own needs at top priority.

in a way i think we all push ourselves to dangerous limits.
we expect too much out of ourselves and demand perfection instead of “just good enough.”
i know i struggle with this every.single.day.

i just read a quote tonight from this talk that really hit me.

“In all of these cases there should never be just two options:
perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only
options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and
development take time. Learning takes time.”

i realize that i’m not allowing myself time to grow. instead, i’m expecting it RIGHT NOW!

so part of my simplifying is lowering my bar.
doing my best but staying within my limits.

i have a lifetime to learn and to grow.
i don’t need to waste all my energy, time, and emotions on things that won’t matter in the long run.

19 comments:

Sara said...

Meg you look great and seem so happy! Miss you guys!

Jessica Sebastian said...

Yeps....THIS is what you need/should be writing! I loved this post. It reflects so much of what we've been talking about and I think it's a step in the right direction. You are amazing so it's time to take a step back and realize it! <3 you!

Cassie @ Live.Laugh.L0ve. said...

LOVE this post! You are such an inspiration Megan! xoxoxo

holli h. said...

amen sister! haha. though i have a hard time relating to this--i think my problem is that i am too EASY on myself. I often need a push from other people to accomplish what i really want to. but we are all different and have different strengths and struggles. Most of us need to simplify our lives in some way or another. sounds like a worthy goal :)

Mel said...

*applause*

Jeff Chase said...

I really relate to this. I have to remind myself that the reason I try to do so much is that I want the most joy out of my life, and if it's just stressing me out instead I need to reevaluate.

Aubrey said...

I am the WORST when it comes to saying no. I just can't do it even and usually at my own expense. Thanks for this post.

Chrissy said...

Wonderful post! And I love that pic of the two of you, so sweet! xxx

Mrs. White said...

I have this exact problem. Paired with the fact that I want to make everyone happy, so I rarely speak my mind if I think it's going to cause turbulence. I'm happy to hear someone else is trying to embark on the same journey I am :)

Aubrey said...

I recommend reading the conf. talk from Julie. B. Beck called "Mothers Who Know"

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/mothers-who-know?lang=eng&query=mothers+know

{Hope that link works!?}

There's a specific section called "Mothers who know do less" and this is something that she was inspired to say- because it really does affect so many women. Women who are trying to do well- but in the end get burnt out. I think you're last post about priorities is important to note- because doing less is better- so that you can choose and put the most effort into the most important things- and cut out the time wasting distractions.

Thanks for your insights on this- keep up the great work!

Aubrey

Ly said...

It's hard to say no but sometimes at the end of the day you have to do what makes you happy!

http://www.lyzhang.com

eighteenthofmay said...

This is such a refreshingly honest post, I'm glad that you feel like you don't have to take everything on anymore :)

Say x

Bree said...

I'm so the same way, I'm always telling my husband, "if I can't even be a good wife how am I going to be a good mom??" I need to learn the quit having this unrealistic view all the time! I don't expect that of others, why do I expect that of myself?

Gentri said...

Good for you, Megan. :) And remember, when things get tough, you can always come visit me. haha!

mistergandme said...

definitely words i needed to hear today!!! thanks :)

Health, art, and the girl gamer said...

I fell you 100 percent. I have been blogging on my travel site for a year, andit was like banging my head against the wall on some days, on others make incredible friends, and on others feeling like a failure. The whole 'wow so and so has such a popular blog and great life' entered my mind a lot, and also friends of mine and readers would think I had some sort of perfect life, where in reality we had severe financial struggles this year that caused me to be depressed often. I now feel I am in a place to stop obsessing and comparing. Take good care of yourself gorgeous and d what is best for you and your fam!

Michelle Sexton said...

I complete understand having the bar raised too high. My husband and I spent the first several years of our marriage spread very very thin due to over-involvement in churches. After we had our son, we had to take a step back and drop a lot of our commitments. Even now we have to re-evaluate our commitments about every 3-6 months and decide if we should keep them or get rid of them. It's hard, because a lot of times there is a need, which is why we are involved. So it's hard to drop them. But we have to remember our sanity and having a peaceful home is more important. We are just getting to the point to where we are able to say no. Sometimes I still feel bad about saying no, but I just have to stick to what I know is best for myself and my family. I've also found it hard to say no, due to the fact that I am a people-pleaser. I want everyone to be happy, and I want to do everything they ask me so they will be happy and like me too. That's bad. It's just something that I always have to stay aware of and keep those tenancies in check

Alexis Kaye said...

You are awesome Meg! I met with my therapist today. Something she told me today that hit me was that with anxiety, we do this thing called mind reading to try and make sense of things like people SAY i don't have to be perfect but they don't really mean that. Okay I'm explaining it really crappy and I don't remember why I'm saying this but part of your post made me think back to it. I think we can lead such happier, more fulfilled lives if we can be satisfied with ourselves and just average. Special, but average. Satan uses that to his advantage.

Lara said...

Wow. Thank you. I just clicked through from BlogHer, and I needed to read this.

I don't know how many times I have had to learn this lesson, but I'm still working on it. I especially love the quote you shared. Going to have to post it somewhere I can see it all the time! The sad thing is, I really notice that I am setting a poor, perfectionistic example for my children. I watch how upset they get when they aren't perfect at drawing/playing their instrument/making their bed/understanding math and I see my own attitudes. I have taught them to do this!

Anyway, thanks, and I am continuing to work on this. :)