A couple of days ago I had an instant messaging conversation with one of my youngest sons. Trent is stationed in Okinawa, Japan, so I find myself looking at my phone every day that I get up in the middle of the night to see if he has messaged me, replied to my messages, or just to reach out if the previous haven’t happened.
Trent had organized a platoon event this week, and like his mother he wanted it to be hugely successful, so he agonized over the details, he noticed the little overlooked things, that nobody else was probably even aware of, and in the end he needed validation from someone besides himself that it was successful. Unfortunately, out of 30 people no one said anything. He felt unappreciated and started to doubt himself.
I know my children fairly well. I see myself in them when it comes to tasks, we want everything to be perfect, and that results in a lot of undue pressure and stress. Perfectionism can be a blessing and a curse. Perfectionists will do their best at whatever task they are assigned. Speaking for myself, though, you never feel as if it is good enough, and it is hard to take pride in what you do, when you only see what you could do better.
When people here that word, perfectionist, I think they imagine someone who has it all together and everything works out well “perfectly.” Maybe that is true for some people, but for me it means that I want to know everything, I don’t like making mistakes, I agonize over them, it preys on my mind that I overlooked something. I see how things could have been better, and struggle to see my accomplishments. It feels more like a curse than anything else.
At 50 years old I have experienced these moments too many times. Just last month, at my work’s appreciation I experienced it. I had only been at this position for a little over a year, the awards that were being given out would have required me to be there several years in order to even qualify for them, but I still felt embarrassed and like a failure. We all have are crosses to bear, so the real question is just that bearing them, understanding them, and realizing our own self-worth.
This summer I began to question myself as a mother. I kept seeing grown children doing things that acknowledged their parents. It must have subconsciously ate away at me, I have three boys, and I love them to death but I don’t really hear much from them and there were other things happening, so needless to say I was questioning why my children didn’t seem to care for me.
One Saturday I decided to go for a bike ride, I needed to get away and process and cry. My husband and I always ride together, so he was surprised when I was getting ready to go without asking him, he quickly grabbed his bike and tagged along. I was quiet a good sign that things are weighing heavily on my mind.
Finally, I pulled over and sat on a bench my husband asked what was wrong, and I just spilled everything out and cried. My husband, was fantastic telling me that my boys, including my daughter in law, love me. We moved over to a small picnic table and sat and talked for probably an hour. It has become a very positive and uplifting spot for me still.
Back to Trent I instant messaged him and asked if “I could ask him a question” I asked him he loved me and thought I was a good mother? I have it in writing that my son loves me and thinks I am a good mother! I explained to him that just because people don’t say they appreciate you doesn’t always mean that they don’t. I asked him to think back to what he observed, did everyone look like they were having a good time. We talked about how he struggled to make everything right, and I stated that others didn’t see the struggle, because he made the coordination of the event to look easy.
I hope that I helped my son and in so doing helped myself. I will never be perfect none of us will and therein lies the struggle. Whether it be with my weight loss journey, starting out my blog/website, or life in general. Life will always be a struggle, it is with the help and insight of others, that we need to be introspective to find the answers. When you are angry ask yourself why, don’t stop at the surface answer, look deeper, when you feel anxious, depressed, hopeless, these are life’s struggles that can bring clarity, a deeper understanding of ours and others psyche as well as moments for growth.