I guess you could say I’ve always been an over-achiever, believing from the time I was a child that the more I accomplished, the more I’d be appreciated. Actually, this was probably as much about avoiding punishment as from any hope of praise or gratitude. I kept up this driven behavior throughout my school years, chasing that elusive goal of being “good enough”. Unfortunately, I carried this attitude into my vision improvement studies in the early days too, reading one more book, or lowering my strong eyeglasses prescription a bit too aggressively before I was completely ready. “No rest for the weary!” could have been my motto.
Yes, I’ve accomplished a lot in my life. However I’ve realized in the past few years that I also missed out on a lot of fun! Last night I had my monthly coaching call with Carol Look, my outstanding EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, or “tapping”) teacher. My own issue of the moment happened to be not doing enough, my usual pattern brought to the forefront with the extra holiday hustle-bustle. I hadn’t done my Christmas cards yet! I should be promoting my coaching business! I had laundry to do! Etc. Rather than focusing on Task X which I wasn’t getting to fast enough, Wise Carol dug below the surface issue to my feeling of not being enough, and we tapped on that. I was surprised to find that several other students on the call had similar issues, trying to be perfect at everything, at all times, and not to need any help or attention (or Heaven forbid, down time!) themselves.
Because it seems like it’s only daylight from mid-morning to mid-afternoon now, I’m also feeling like I’m not doing enough with my vision improvement. I’ve gotten outside nearly every day to do some sunning with the actual sun, not just my full-spectrum lamp, but we’ve had 2 significant snowfalls in the past 3 days, so the skies are gray and dim, the sun nowhere to be seen. I look out the window frequently when I’m at the computer, but is that enough? I palm for brief periods, yet wonder if I could fit in more.
It’s starting to dawn on me that my straining to achieve and produce is actually counter-productive. This is subtle, as the culture rewards performance, and people are always glad to have you do more for them, whether it’s a service they’ve paid for or you’re helping a friend. Carol Look un-layered my “I should be doing more!” wrong thought to find my perfectionism and my “I’m not enough” false belief, then we tapped on that to loosen it. She reminded me, since I was so in it I couldn’t see the pattern clearly, that the feeling underneath the belief is what holds it in place. We tapped on “I need to be different!” and “Is that my mother’s voice?” and “Did I take on her belief?”. Big movement for me, big shift in energy.
To counteract this anxiety, I’d been compiling evidence of how much I’d done, which didn’t scratch the itch, because how much I was doing, or not doing, wasn’t the real problem! The problem was my feeling that I wasn’t enough (no matter how much I accomplished), which isn’t true.
So during this busy holiday season, I invite you all to be gentle with yourselves, and to know you are doing enough. Please make sure you leave time to enjoy the people in your lives, and to relax and have fun during the holidays. Those who really care about you will be more interested in whether you are happy than if the house is perfectly decorated! Be gentle with yourself about your vision practice too, enjoying looking at the colors and sparkling lights, being grateful for what you can see rather than grumbling about any blur. I am grateful for every one of you who reads this. Deck the halls, and ho ho ho!
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Funny thing, as I was reading your article I realized I was putting myself through a lot of stress to understand every single word of what you are saying instead of relaxing and focusing more on ideas rather than words. Which, in turn, made me realize a lot of other things in my life which I’ve been doing with stress, even though it was not necessary. What I realized a few days ago, is that the more I relax and take it easy on myself, the more I’ll accomplish in less time and the more I’ll enjoy the time doing the activities. Thank you so much for your time writing this mind opening article.
Mohammed, yes, you got the point of this post — good work! Just about everything I write about is something I’ve struggled with myself, and learned to do better, or maybe is still a problem for me. I’m so glad it was helpful to you too.
Oh yeah! I am all for working on doing less and relaxing more! It’s not in my nature, but I’m working on it, nevertheless. Just remembering to breathe deeply and sit quietly a bit each day can be life-changing. Important article, Nancy. Thank you!