Don't get me wrong, striving for the best in life and work is not a bad thing. It only becomes bad when it affects your ability to enjoy the fruits of your labor. When you are always nagging yourself or holding yourself back because you can't meet your own standards.
I had to take the time to learn to take it easy on myself, and it took totally re-wiring my brain and the way I thought.
The other day, I was thinking about all the cool things that I know how to do that I don't ever sit down and do, because I make excuses for why I am unable to do them. I can't sit down and make jewelry because I don't have the right kind of wire. I can't sit down and draw because my drawing board is broken... etc. When really I can make do with the wire I have, and I don't really need a drawing board to draw in a smaller sketchbook. This kind of thinking can really hold a girl back!
At the same time, I like to do things properly, I like a polished finished product. Learning to balance! Being able to change my thought process to a more positive one has really helped with my anxiety and general worrying.
BE POSITIVE! It's hard now to listen to negativity, especially when I recognize my old way of thinking.... it's like putting on an old pair of jeans you used to wear when you were in high school before you got your hips. Uncomfortable. Naggy and tight. Who needs that?
Here's how I did it-
1) Whenever a negative thought came up- I purposefully came up with the opposite thought. I will never be able to lose weight? I should just stop trying? Instead I would tell myself that I am becoming healthier with my choices, and my weight is less important. Boyfriend must not love me because he stayed out later than he originally said? That is just silly! Boys are independent and allowed to have friends... the less I nag about spending time with friends, the more comfortable he feels with me and the more time he will want to spend with me. (Yes, these are actual thought conversations I would have with myself.)
2) I surround myself with positive people. Negativity is like fleas! One of my best friends is a girl who helped me through some really hard times by thinking positively for me. She would remind me that I am very lucky and ultimately was one of the major reasons I have been able to stop thinking so negatively. It's almost like she trained my brain! (Tnanks KK!)
3) Seriously. Find a hobby. Generations of wise old folks aren't wrong! It's so important to have something you enjoy doing that can help you escape and FIND BALANCE. For me, that's gardening. For a friend, it might be reading science-fiction. For my boyfriend, it might be playing video games.
4) Another Seriously. Practice what you preach. When you walk the walk, it doesn't have to be on the path that everyone else thinks it should be. But if you dislike the treatment of industrially raised animals for meat consumption- I bet you would feel 100X better about yourself if you just abstained from eating meat. And stuck to it! It is an accomplishment you should feel proud of.
I still wonder what people think about me, agonize over every word in a paper, and I still restrain from doing some of the things I would like, but it has been so important for me to tone it down a little bit and just enjoy myself!
Thanks for reading!