Am I enough?............... I’m only human

Do you ever think I wish I?

Here are some of my I wish I thoughts;

I go to work - I wish I was as good at the job as that person.

I go to a friend’s house - I wish my house was as pristine as this.

I visit my elderly parents – I should go more often

I go to an exercise class, I look around - I wish I had a body like that woman.

I make the kids a freezer meal– I should cook from scratch more

I drive to school/work – I should have been more organised and walked

I share a bottle of wine with my husband at home – we should make more effort and go out

I should read more, I should bake more, I should exercise more, I should clean the house more, I should definitely iron more, I should see family/friends more (pre-covid) I should have more zoom calls (Covid Social life).

Do I ever think just chill out woman your only human you can’t do it all????

Not very often.

I need to make a conscious effort not to put pressure on myself to do EVERYTHING.

But why do we put some much pressure on ourselves to do so much? I certainly don’t have the same expectations of my friends and family as I do of myself, looking at my list of wishes and turning them around as if it was my friend was saying them and I can rationally give good responses as to why she shouldn’t feel that way. Yet, I often give myself a hard time for not doing more, I can criticise myself for not doing something but I forget to praise myself for achievements regardless how small. I should celebrate getting out the door and the children to school on time rather than worrying that I didn’t drive. I should celebrate the fact I went to the gym and put in effort rather than wishing I looked like someone else but how do I flip this mind-set to focus on the positive not the negative?

It is so easy these days to pick up social media and everyone posts the ‘perfect’ pictures which leave us with unrealistic goals, they don’t show that it took 1000 pictures to get the kids to sit still and all look in the same direction, they don’t show that for the one room that looks pristine the rest of the house is in chaos. The body confident post doesn’t show the time and effort that person puts in at the gym or the filters they used to achieve the look. Let’s be more honest and show the real picture!

We only see glimpses of other people’s lives and we do not know what pressures they put on themselves or work they put in so why should we compare ourselves to them? We are all human which means we are all different so why should we have the same expectations placed on us? We don’t do it with animal species, for example, we wouldn’t compare a greyhound with a Yorkshire terrier… So why compare humans?

This idea of comparison and expectations hit home to me this week when my son had a routine check-up from the Health Visitor. He is 14 months old and at this time they do an assessment to see where the children are at, for the purposes of this I was given a questionnaire which contained some of the following questions (and my responses):

How many words does your child have and use? NONE

Can your child go and get something specific when asked? NO

Can your child feed himself with a spoon? NO

Was I worried that he could do none of these? NO.

I know that all children develop at different rates and they reach different milestones at different times, and whilst I appreciate they need a way to identify children who are struggling; a questionnaire like this can make parents anxious and worry about ‘should my child be doing these things?’ My child could do none of the things listed above; however had the questionnaire been;

Can your child open the stairgate at the top of the stairs?

Can your child climb up the sofa and onto the windowsill?

Can your child open the freezer and take out the frozen peas?

The answer to all of the questions would have been YES (much to my amusement and frustration)

Three questions and they paint a very different picture of the same child.

So why do we start comparing our children at such a young age? And it continues into adulthood; what age did they start walking, when did they speak, how well did they do at school, what qualifications did they get, did they go to university, have they got a good job? For me we should be switching these expectations to:

Are they polite, are they kind, did they try their best? These are far more important qualities and ones that I think if we can all adapt to as a society we will start to become kinder to each other and hopefully in return kinder to ourselves.

So how do we accept the fact we are ONLY HUMAN and we can’t always do everything/be everything? Things I have learnt (but need to continually remind myself to do)

Make Time for yourself – If it means driving to school or leaving the washing for another day, take 10 minutes to sit and have a quiet cuppa, the world will not grind to a halt because you took a timeout.

Be in the present – If you are doing something, try and enjoy the activity for what it is and not worry about documenting it for social media – for that ‘ideal world’ Instagram picture.

Don’t compare yourself to others – Whilst some have enviable figures or appear to be geniuses in their field of work, don’t hold yourself to that level, they may do nothing else other than workout or they may have given up all social life opportunities to get to that level. They probably look at you and are envious of something you have/do.

Don’t worry about what has happened – We all make mistakes, we all have embarrassing stories, wasting further energy dwelling on them isn’t helpful or beneficial. It happened, it can’t be changed, ask yourself will this matter next year? If the answer is no, stop wasting time on it. Yes you might be able to learn something from it, but don’t stew and make yourself feel worse (This one I am particularly bad at).

Be Kind – Kindness; spreads kindness, just a small act towards one person will make them feel good, this may result in them doing something nice for someone else or even them being nicer to themselves.

A quick kindness story to finish; some time ago I was in town; a new mum with a small baby (4-6weeks old) trying to get a few tasks done when baby began crying and unsettled for a feed. I saw a coffee shop and thought I’d pop in get a drink sit down and feed baby. As I walked in the shop (by this time juggling baby to settle while pushing the pram) I was in total despair the queue was huge the place was busy. I don’t know if my face said it all or what but a member of staff walked up to me and said there is a seat over here, sit down I’ll get your drink – She was already my hero! I sat down fed baby, she brought my coffee and offered to get anything else I needed. Baby fed, me re-fuelled and feeling calmer, I got ready to leave and went to pay – She refused to let me pay. What a complete random act of kindness – She saw someone struggling and without obligation helped. From that day on I have vowed to where possible to carry out my own random acts of kindness always help if I see someone struggle, whether that is a friend or stranger.

So whilst I’m still working on being kind to myself; I wonder if we are all kinder to others then the being kinder and more accepting of ourselves will follow. After all; WE ARE ALL ONLY HUMAN.

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