As I have entered a new chapter in my life I am discovering healing and am learning things I either did not know about myself or did not understand fully how those things affected me and my family. Being a perfectionist is one of them. I have always lived by the moto that if you do something than you do it right or you don't do it at all. That in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, for a Type A, driven, and many times high strung person like I have a tendency to be this is not always a good thing either. This last week I have realized that I have set standards for myself that were extremely high. Many times they were too high. If it was something that was impossible to do I have always seemed to believe I should be able to do it and many times have.
Recently though I find myself asking at what cost have I done these things, was it worth the price I had to pay, and am I still willing to pay that price now. The answer to these questions are that I have paid a high price. Sometimes it has been worth it, but most of the time probably not. Also I am no longer willing to pay the price.
Part of the price has been consequences to my family. As a person who sets too high of expectations on myself, I have also placed too high of expectionations on my husband, children, and often times friends. How many friends have I lost along the way because I placed too high of an expectation on them, they did not live up to it, and then we were both hurt. Then I think of the rejection my husband and children must feel sometimes because no matter how hard they try I have set this bar so high they can not possibly reach it. How ugly this part of me can be sometimes. It affects my health. How many of my health issues could be linked to the stress I put on myself with these expectations of me. Then the uncomfortableness from the lack of sleep for all the nights I did not sleep enough. Worst of all-- even worse than what my husband and children have likely suffered over this fault of mine is how it has affected my relationship with God. How many times have I placed an expectation on him, then God's plan was something different than mine so I got upset or angry with him. How much has this fault hurt my Heavenly Father? How often in my anger and disappointment did I push away his desires for intimacy with me? This had to have broken his heart.
I have been pondering this for a while and talking to the Lord about these things. As I have done this some of my perspectives have been changing. First of all I used to hold all the impossible accomplishments as kind of a badge of honor and was proud of all the busyness and nights with only 4-5 hours of sleep or even less. I am no longer proud of these things. I don't see those as things to be identified by anymore.
Instead I am taking a few new approaches to change since I took this perfectionism and high expectations into my new found life while becoming a stay at home wife and mother. I have decided to make a few changes. First of all I will only allow myself to work on house things for one hour after the children are in bed whatever doesn't get done, doesn't get done. Second, I will take time to make sure I listen to my children instead of demanding they meet the expections I have of them all the time. I need to make sure they know that I love them even if they totally mess up and blow it big time. The same with my husband. Then I also will set a bed time for myself and follow it so that I do get a full nights sleep. If I don't rest I am going to be much more grouchy and will be more inclined to fall back into the habits and mindset I am trying to break. Then for right now I am going to use disposable dishes. In the past I would not allow myself the luxury of paper plates or plastic silverware unless there was a picnic, but I think for a while they will be common place. If I can reduce the amount of dishes I have to wash then I will have less stress. I do fit in time with the Lord in my day, but when I find that nagging that I have not been good enough for him. I plan to stop and remind myself that it is in what Christ did at calvary and nothing that I can do to make myself loveable or acceptable to the Lord. May be a new woman will emerge out of all of this. We will see.