I've been thinking about a new year, resolutions, and the idea of improving oneself. I remember other years when Adam would ask me around Christmas "So, what resolutions are you going to make?" I would temporarily shut down when unable to immediately come up with something. So this year, I've been trying to figure things out, and I think I've come to something significant. (Feel free to stop reading at any time; I realize that this is one of those self-indulgent sorts of posts that probably no one else is interested in.)
Perfectionism. I think that's the source of a lot of my stress and anxiety about many things. And not that I would generally categorize myself as stressed out or anxious - I think I'm pretty relaxed, even though I have trouble sitting still. I'll rephrase that more accurately - I'm relaxed about other people, and don't care if their houses are tidy or their life isn't 'perfect'. But I am not relaxed about myself - having a clean house and 'getting things done'. If I'm not working on something 'productive' (an assignment, doing the dishes, vacuuming, etc.) I feel as though I should be, and as though I'm wasting time and failing everyone by not 'getting things done'.
I initially would have thought of a very narrow definition of 'perfectionism', but after looking at this site on overcoming perfectionism, I think I have a better idea of what I'm dealing with. Not setting goals because they might be unattainable is a problem, as is shutting down and not planning anything because it might not work out anyway. (That has more to do with work than home.) Always feeling guilty about not attaining is something else that scarily describes me.
And so, in an effort to overcome perfectionism, I have come up with the following two resolutions (any more, and I may panic over getting them done):
a) I will not buy any magazines off of the stand. (Not that I buy many, but when I do I tend to buy decorating ones that show perfect houses and people and make me want more and more and more. I always hate the feeling I have after reading them, even though I enjoy them. My house does not have to, and will never be perfect.)
b) I do not have to have a clean house before I sit down to read a book or have a cup of tea. (I will never be the woman in the Starbucks ad in her perfectly scrunched socks curled up on her couch with her cup of coffee and newspaper and freshly shaven legs.)