When I come home for vac, I tend to take some time to think about life, the way I live it, and what I need to let go of and/or change. Some changes are external (for more of that you can take a look at my other blog, I Make Mac & Cheese), but others are internal.
One of the biggest things I take a look at each vac is my stress level. How high has it been lately, what’s causing it, etc. It’s important to know these things because that’s really the only way you can deal with them, and eliminate the stress they’re causing you.
This vac the theme seems to be: 1) what I feel people expect of me and who they expect me to be, and b) feeling like I’m being constantly evaluated by everyone around me.
I’m going to tackle “b” first because it’s easy. It’s not true. Of course we evaluate people around us and we’re constantly making little judgments as we perceive our world and surroundings, but think about it: when’s the last time you were obsessed with a judgment you made to the point of really letting it affect your opinion of that person. Example not based on reality, at least not that I can remember: I see a good friend of mine wearing a shirt that is, in my opinion, a little immodest. She normally wears modest clothes. Do I now think she’s fallen off the wagon? “Gone off the path?” Sold her soul to the devil?
Actually, no, I shrug and move on with my life. That’s the way we function most of the time; see, make a judgment, forget it and move on. Also, what do I care? Of course people are going to disagree with me, and I’m going to disagree with them. It happens all the freaking time. So then what’s my problem? My problem, uncomfortably, is that I have an insecurity that makes me feel like this is what’s happening, because that’s what I’m doing to myself. I want me to be perfect. I want me to be brilliant and wise and spiritual and funny and charming and smart and good at everything I do. I have set an impossible standard for myself.
Which of course led to a somewhat uncomfortable realization that this fear/stress factor of mine has more to do with the fact that I have a very strong need to always be right and to always let everyone know that actually I already know what’s what. So…yeah. That’s uncomfortable and awkward and about a billion other things, but it’s the truth. It’s pride and a bit of rebellion and some other stuff. Now I know and I can pray about it and work on it, so all in all, it’s a good thing, just…yeah…uncomfortable. And kind of makes me want to write a really long letter of apology to everyone I know, because how annoying that must be.
As for “a”…unfortunately, it’s a very real thing. But the thing is, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. I keep saying this partly because I wish it would just drill itself into my brain and stay there and not float off again like a fickle soap bubble, but also so that YOU will hear this and know this. Yes, people expect things of you. A lot of people, in fact, expect a lot of things from you. They expect you to be a certain way. And when you’re not that certain way, they get all ancy and weird and you’re left wondering what the heck is wrong with them. The thing is, you do this too. I do this. Everyone does. It’s what we, humans, do. It’s a fact of life and it can’t be ignored.
The solution is one of those really obvious, easier-said-than-done things, but it actually works.
God made you who you are. That’s not to say that there aren’t some kinks [read: sins] to be worked out, but you, the person you are, were hand-crafted, hand made, 100% organically processed, so-natural-you-aren’t-even-found-in-a-health-store natural, created by God. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knows all the days of your life before they happen. While you were still a sinner He died for you. Look it up; it’s in the Bible, I promise (start with Psalm 139).
It sounds stupid and self-helpish, but clearly some of us need help, so there you go. Be yourself. Practice the gloriousness of being completely and totally free in being YOU. Realize that 90% of the time you feel hurt or offended or like someone just dissed you personally, that’s not the reality. We all say things in jest or without thinking or without really meaning the gravity of the words. People are different. If I were to say something like, “Why on earth would you want to do that?” with lots of sarcasm, it would mean I am trying to hurt the other person, and so I don’t do that. But maybe if Annie Oakley says it she doesn’t mean anything of the kind, despite the way it sounds. Realize that other people are different from you (again, obvious and yet rarely practiced) and give them the benefit of the doubt. Choose not to be offended. Choose to give the people around you space. Choose not to constrict others, just like you don’t want to be constricted.
In other words: chill and live life. It’s actually all simpler than it sometimes feels.
*As always, I share this not to ramble on about my own issues but in the hopes that this might help you, too.