Dear FlyLady,Despite being a FlyBaby for two years, I suffered a burn-out from work and having my second baby. Too little time for doing too much tasks with a high level of pressure, from the others and from myself, this proved to be an insane situation for my nerves. I have been getting professional help without much success. Even being on medication wouldn’t help, because my big stresser never seems to go away : having everything done!
So no one truly understands the cause of my self-induced stress, except you : my perfectionism about that to do list. The medication I’ve been given is for anxiety and I felt it was wrong because I had no problem in that way, no anxiety attacks or racing heartbeat. I just had too much to do. But I had too much to do for everything to be perfect : perfectionism is the heart of my problem. It materializes itself by dancing every other second in my head with the words “I have to…”
If I truly examine my sensations when this thoughts arise, like Oh my ! With this sunshine dancing through the windows, I can see how dirty they are. I have to clean them ! and I am unable to act on them immediately, this is quite close to anxiety : I feel guilt, shame, anger, sadness, desperation which make me cry and panic, even if I am enjoying breastfeeding my wonderful treasure at that moment !
And then, after months of crying, trying to find a solution, I’ve had a revelation : I want PEACE in my work and my role as a mother like I already have in my home, thanks to you. I’ve decided to apply your wonderful and logic advices to my state of mind.
You tell us that the to do list is never ending and we won’t have enough time in our lives to complete it. So I won’t make this my goal anymore. Now that it’s clear to me that I won’t do everything, how can I stop myself from thinking of it incessantly ? These thoughts try to make me guilty because what if I forget to do an important thing ? I can tell now : if it’s really important, I will remember it in due time, and now is the time to enjoy life ! And if I forget, well, that’s not the end of the world ! FlyLady’s system will bring this task again in time ! I will trust my routines (at home and work) and I can declutter a lot of the rest.
You tell us that we can’t have peace if we nag our family, and I shouldn’t nag myself either ! I banish every “I have to” thought in between learning to recognize it, even in disguise, and to say to me : NO NAGGING ! STAY FOCUSED! Stay focused! Because they are just another form of multitasking, kind of multi-thinking. How could I really enjoy the life around me if I am not focused on the present moment, letting my thoughts drag me into this impossible perfectionism ? Staying focused on the present moment while banishing those pressing and long-installed thoughts is difficult, so I have transformed a little exercise you taught us.
To stay focused, I observe all around me and find 26 wonderful things in it from A to Z. Times for gratitude in my day…
If PERFECT is a word to banish, EVERY and HAVE TO are other ones. It took me two years of your wisdom to stop resisting it in trying and failing to do everything, exhausting myself and not taking pleasure in life.
I want rest, I deserve PEACE and I will have it !
Purple puddles here, I really love you,