Everyone, whether they know it or not, is on a journey. Life itself is a journey, and across the spectrum of personalities which make up the human race, we all pursue different paths. I live by the mantra of “you do you”, and so it’s my belief that the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the person with family-centred goals like caring for children are equally as important as those of someone who’s running for Government. Live and let live.
The problem I have, however, is that while (in the spirit of “you do you”) I embrace and champion the journeys of other people, I struggle with “doing me”. I’ve been a naturally anxious person since childhood, it’s a family trait, and yes I know that essentially makes it a learned behaviour blah blah blah, but some of it just comes down to the way I’m made.
Fundamentally I struggle with being an adult. Although I’m responsible, work hard and pay my bills, I can’t help seeking constant approval and reassurance, like a child would. Every single life decision I make requires days, even months, of deliberation beforehand, and days, even months, of reflection after the fact. Inevitably I seek the opinions of others, which usually ends up leaving me even more befuddled. It really is an odd status quo. I’ve visited a friend in hospital and held her baby boy who had passed away 20 minutes after he was born, I can stay calm in a crisis, but the thought of me myself with adult commitments like mortgages and children either makes me laugh or want to run for the hills.
I suppose what I’m describing could be likened to impostor syndrome, I spend a lot of time feeling like a fraud. I remember vividly the night before I started secondary school, lying in bed thinking, “I’m not old enough for this!” To be honest not much has changed since then, and that was 23 years ago! I’m also fixated with being “good enough” – for example, I have ideas for this blog, then procrastinate over them for a few days, occasionally I’ll even get as far as deciding the title and save it as a draft, but if I get as far as writing it I will spend *ages* poring over every word, every punctuation mark, every paragraph, reluctant to hit “publish”. Obsessing that it’s not good enough. Compared to what, though? Every other person you meet these days is a blogger, whether they blog for money or for fun, and I would never dream of scrutinizing their creative efforts or raining on their parade, whereas I effectively let off a fire hydrant on my own. There are friends and family reading this who believe in me very much, so my constant trash-talking about myself drives them nuts. I don’t do it for effect, it’s just a pattern of behaviour I’m finding it very difficult to break.
At this point in my life, my main aspirations are to reach my weight loss/health goals and to forge a successful career. They seem clear-cut, right? You would think so, but because I’m me, instead of keeping my head down, working hard and taking each day as it comes, I fire questions at myself:
Why am I so weak-willed when it comes to food?
Why have I gained weight since last year?
Why have I not reached my target?
Why do I keep sabotaging/comfort eating?
Why did my last job not work out?
Am I a problematic employee?
Do I lack ambition and drive?
Do I really have potential?
Why am I not earning £X,000 a year?
Will I ever earn enough to live independently?
WHY AM I NOT GOOD ENOUGH?!
So yes, I have what you might call analysis paralysis. I see myself as the problem at the centre of everything. When my rational brain makes a rare appearance I can put all these “issues” into perspective, but most of the time I just feel like a massive failure.
Today I’m feeling slightly more rational; I think typing this blog has helped. The past 3 weeks I’ve been eating well, drinking lots of water, haven’t touched a single biscuit (my kryptonite) and have walked every day. I’m trying to overlook the fact that despite this, I feel huge, and just keep on going. Likewise, today I’m trying to enjoy work and not worry about where I am or where I should be from a professional point of view.
What’s the stock response to a child who’s whining are we there yet? “Nearly – look out of the window and tell me what you can see.”
Let’s have some faith in the now and give it a go.