I am always incredibly optimistic when it comes to my energy levels. Nevertheless, my body rarely agrees with me. After last week’s redoing of our laundryroom, my body’s energy supply quickly exhausted. It is Thursday now, and all I can do is sit on the couch. Today, I will have to choose my activities carefully. I want to do so much, my head is buzzing, yet my muscles are aching and I have trouble focusing my eyes, which always is a sign that I have crossed the line.
On days like these when I am confined to sitting on the couch, yet want to do so much, when I can only do things I love so much that they don’t cost a lot of energy, and then only in moderation, I struggle with feelings of grief and guilt. Grief for not being able to participate as I want to and guilt over being ‘lazy’. It is absurd, I know. Yet, in a society that values busy-ness over health and status over authenticity, it is something everyone who is not living a ‘mainstream’ life has to work through. We have been brought up with the idea that if you want to do better, you have to work harder. I still have that mantra in my head, but I understand now to which degree it is an untruth, and a very dysfunctional at that too.
In these past years, I have talked about ‘living my best life’, ‘being my best self’ and ‘doing the best I can’, I will not use these terms anymore, because they set me up for failure. In my mind, ‘best’ is associated with ‘the best’, it is associated with winning and working harder, or worse trying harder. For me, and I guess that I am not the only one, this unconcious idea, this socialized version of success is a recipe for disaster. I am the ambitious type, even when I play a game, I want to win. I love being good at stuff, I love excelling, I love being active and doing things to the best of my ability. So yes, the idea of living my best life resonates with me. Things is it resonates with the fighter in me, and consequently the loser in me, because they are both on the same continuum. Using words like ‘living my best life’ not only activates the image of living a great life, but also the idea of failing when I fall short. ‘Being my best self’ implies a right way of being and a wrong way of being. ‘Doing the best I can’ in my head translates to that I can always be better and do better and that challenges the belief that I am perfect as I am, it makes me feel imperfect.
From now on I will live a life that is true to me, my choices and my actions will reflect my true self, and I will be as true to myself as I can be at any given moment. I am enough whether I am sitting on the couch or bursting with energy, I am perfect as I am, I cannot fall short. And so can’t you!
picture by bschwen