Happy Monday, friends!
So a few months ago, we were over here just trying to scratch out 2020 and leave all that way, way behind us.
Was that just me? Surely it wasn’t just me.
We made our goals and set up our plans and charged ahead. And now we’re here – several months into a new year, and we have a perfect opportunity to stop and evaluate how that’s going.
Ok, fine, maybe it IS just me. I’m starting to feel self-conscious, y’all.
Still, I feel like April is a really, really good time to evaluate how I’m hitting my goals. Maybe because I’m also evaluating every piece of furniture I own because spring fever has HIT ME HARD and I’m moving everything around and cleaning all the things and contemplating new décor when I have literally no business doing that right now.
But I’m getting off track.
I sat down this weekend with my planner, not to map out this week’s to-dos, but to evaluate how I’m doing. A tough and honest assessment of how I’m handling the day-to-day, if you will.
If you don’t deal with anxiety, then this won’t make sense to you. But if you do, you’ll know that it likes to hang out in the recesses of our brains and lament about what we haven’t accomplished, and it can be really easy to drown in that narrative.
And then depression shows up. The feeling of helplessness that comes with knowing that you’re falling short of your goals, or goals set for you, or just, you know, winning at life can be devastating.
It can convince you that it isn’t even worth it to keep trying.
The problem for me – and since I’m not so unique that it’s all about me, I would venture to guess for you, too – is that the vicious cycle, those spinning doubts and thoughts and fears rolling around your brain in a wild circle make your inner narrative completely about YOU.
Sometimes, the simplest, most effective way to fight your way out of that quicksand is to look outside of yourself.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about; one of my goals is to read a set number of books with EV each day. I have a super cute bullet journal style sheet in my planner that we fill in when we’ve hit the mark.
Guess what? I’m a hot mess mama some days. I’m working, driving, cooking, cleaning, and generally just mommin’ and sometimes we don’t get to color in a square. Sometimes she doesn’t want to read four different books because she’d rather read the same book four times.
Anxiety worries about filling in those squares and achieving the goal. Depression says that I’m already failing at being a mama to this sweet girl and that I should just give up.
You know what I hear when I choose to walk away from that narrative and see things from a different perspective? The little girl who is excited to read, whether it’s one book over and over, or a whole collection of random books. The toddler who can make up her own stories as she reads on the kitchen counter while I’m chopping veggies. The compliments of her caregivers and leaders in her life who recognize that she’s growing her vocabulary in leaps and bounds.
I’m not an expert on psychology. I mean, technically, that’s the entire subject of my undergrad degree, but believe you me, I got out of that field for the next one! But I know what it feels like to live with post traumatic anxiety, and what it means to shoulder past it every day.
This weekend could have been devastating for me. Looking back over boxes not checked, line items not crossed out, or tasks moved from one week to the next…. And then to the next. All of that is a perfect opportunity to dwell on ME and my failures. I could even start spinning out on all of the things that prevented me from hitting the mark. You know, a good old fashioned pity party, which snowballs into a victim mentality.
It wasn’t, though. It was tough to admit where my carefully-laid plans have fallen short. But I did it, y’all. I stepped outside that narrative to count my blessings.
Maybe I didn’t finish one of my lower-tier tasks for four weeks. I’m thankful for the moments that filled each of those weeks so completely that I didn’t have time to cross off that note. A life lived to the fullest, and one I’m blessed to live.
Maybe I didn’t read the right number of books to EV. I’m so grateful that she has the sight, and the voice, and the mental acuity to make up stories along with the pictures. Hearing her ‘read’ stories that make absolutely zero sense to anyone but herself is a joy, and as a PCOS warrior, a privilege I wasn’t sure I’d ever have.
Anxiety and depression are thieves in the night. If you’re not vigilant, even the most ambitious plans can’t stop them from coming in and robbing you of peace. Of calmness and centeredness. Of the ability to let go of things. Of confidence in yourself and your faith.
So maybe today you’re feeling like I felt on Saturday morning. Maybe you need to give yourself a little more than grace. Maybe, just maybe, you need to step outside your internal dialogue too. Count those blessings, girl. You’re doing an amazing job. You can do this, and you can do it well. And it’s time to see the good in what you’ve accomplished so far.
Oh, and just in case no one else tells you today – that outfit makes your butt look GREAT.