There was a time not too long ago when hostages were being held in various parts of the world. There are probably people being held prisoner right now somewhere in the world. Please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers. These innocent people are subjected to all types of torture.
We have all heard the horror stories about being deprived of food, water, and sleep as well as being bombarded by noise and physical and mental abuse. These poor prisoner’s bodies are forced into survival mode by the stress of this situation. They begin to lose focus on what is real.
You are incensed that people would treat other human beings with this kind of disrespect. Did you know that you are one of those hostages? Your jail is PERFECTIONISM and your jailer is TIME! Yet when I tell you to take care of yourself you say, “I don’t have time, there are too many other things that need to be done.” So as a result you are taken hostage.
It all started many years ago: Since the day we were born we have been told that if you can’t do it right; don’t do it at all and the other side of this perfectionism coin told us that we were women and we could do it all and have it all. No wonder we thought we were superwoman.
Well superwoman, we’re not! That didn’t stop us from pushing ourselves to the physical limit. Our first little home had to be perfect; you know this attitude. We could pull it off when it was just us. Then add into the mix a new husband and his stuff. We still wanted to have the perfect home. But guess what we did it. Only a few times did our perfectionism rear its ugly head and we put things off because we didn’t have time.
Then we found out we were pregnant. During our pregnancy we were waited on hand and foot! This is when we first started losing sleep; some nights the heart burn and leg cramps kept us jumping up and down not to mention being uncomfortable in our own skin. At least we could nap if we got a chance and not feel guilty. This is also when we fixed up the nursery and let our perfectionism go into overdrive. The rest of house fell into CHAOS, but it was OK because we were pregnant.
After the baby arrived we prided ourselves in being the perfect mother. Then reality happened: Night feedings and losing even more sleep; not to mention the hormones running amuck. Throw into the picture of this perfect little family a new mom not eating properly, drinking enough water and getting very little sleep. This perfect picture is no longer feeling perfect to this mom. So she starts beating herself up because every thing seems so much harder now. Now some new moms can continue to hold it together until the second or third babe comes along. Then things start to fall apart.
I believe that you can never catch up on lost sleep. Sleep refreshes your body and heals. If you have to drag yourself out of bed; your body has not gotten its “nap out” like my granny always said. A good judge is how many times you hit the snooze button in the morning. Your body is begging for sleep! Then add in not eating right or drinking water along with perfectionism pushing you into crash and burn fatigue. Your body shifts into survival mode; you are being held hostage. Imagine being pushed into a pond of ice cold water. We have heard about children falling through the ice and when their core body temperature is lowered their little body starts to shut down. This is what happens to us. Our bodies think we are about to starve to death; unessential functions for our survival are turned off. Our hair gets thin, we are cold all the time, we get sick because our immune system has been depleted by the stress, we gain weight even though we are not eating that much, we feel depressed and we are so tired that we can barely move. All the while we keep pushing ourselves instead of listening to our inner voice say something is wrong.
When we finally do go to the doctor we are looked at like we are nuts. Aren’t you superwoman? Or they pat us on the hand and say there there; Bless your little heart; Take two of these each day and you will be fine.
So how do we get out of this perfectionism jail that time has imprisoned us in. The strange part is that there are several keys that unlock the door to your jail cell. Sometimes it takes a combination of keys; you just have to start turning them one at a time.
1. Start going to bed at a decent hour and getting the sleep that your body is craving.
2. Eat food that is good for you and eat smaller meals more often. This keeps your body from feeling attacked and in survival mode.
3. Set up small routines to keep from being stressed out by daily life. Your routines put your home on automatic pilot. You don’t have to think; it just gets done and your stress is relieved one babystep at a time.
4. Catch yourself pushing too hard with the perfectionism. Stop and tell yourself it is OK. Housework done incorrectly; still blesses my family.
5. Remember that you can do anything for 15 minutes and then you get to rest.
6. Don’t allow yourself to be beaten up by those superwoman voices in your head.
7. Find a doctor that will not patronize you and will listen. Ask questions. Have them check all of your thyroid levels. Check your body temperature. You may be in survival mode and your body is protecting you.
You would not treat another person the way you treat yourself. This is why the golden rule is so important; Love your neighbor as yourself. You can’t love anyone else until you love yourself.
I want you to find the peace that I have! It came from taking care of me and listening to my body. Are you ready to FLY out of this perfectionism jail that time has imprisoned you in?
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