The more I think about it, the more I am sure that A Musing Mother is the exact right name for all of this.
Ya’ll I live in my mind. I seriously do. They say that a woman speaks out loud, an average of 25,000 words per day, but I can guarantee I speak far fewer than that. When alone, I can literally go an entire day without saying a word. With my daughter being taught at home, I speak to her, of course, but if you know my daughter at all, you know she talks….a…..lot. She has been a wonderful lesson in listening and patience. I still need more practice in both of those areas, but I have an excellent teacher, make no mistake about that.
I am a musing mother, quite literally. The problem is, I’m also a perfectionist. For many recent years, I tried to deny it because I no longer clean my house top to bottom every day. I am okay with dishes being left in the sink until morning, and there is a basket of clothes sitting in my daughter’s room that have been there for a week. I’m okay with that and because fo that, I think, I can’t possibly be a perfectionist.
Except when it comes to my work and what I put my passionate energy into. That’s where I nitpick every tiny detail. I chew on it until it is utterly destroyed and unrecognizable and then I toss it in the mental trash bin. Then, I pick up something else and I think, “This will be right!” Even though I know that by right, I mean perfect….which is utterly impossible.
The other night I awoke as I often do, around 3 o’clock in the morning. I fall asleep so easily, but staying asleep? That’s another story. So I laid awake for about an hour with my thoughts running through my mind like a toddler on a sugar rush. I got out of bed at about 4 o’clock and busted out some push-ups in hopes that I may stop my thoughts and get some sleep, but that didn’t help. As I laid there for two more hours, listening to my husband softly snore, I thought about what I’m doing with A Musing Mother. My thoughts went something like this:
You know this will most likely be another failed attempt at something.
Why do you even bother?
What good are you, what do you even do?
Making stuff is not a living made.
Your Instagram bio…please.
Why do you need a second Instagram?
Why did you even get back on Facebook?
I don’t think people like the style component.
You should seriously scrap everything and quit.
It’s never going to become anything.
You’re such an idiot.
Can you imagine living with someone who talks to you that way? Would you even hang around this person? Yet this is how I often talk to myself.
I have a feeling maybe others do as well. I think we can be our harshest critics and most severe abusers and all of it is mental. You’ve probably heard that our thoughts become reality. It’s been said in many different ways, by many different people over the years.
“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.” James Allen
“With our thoughts, we make the world.” Buddha
“As he thinks within himself, so he is.” King Solomon
I’m getting better at stopping myself when I have a thought that’s not true and I’ll literally say or think: That’s not true. The thought stops in its tracks and I can move on. I think that’s the key – keeping a check on our thoughts. However, like anything, we are better to be on the offensive than the defensive. Instead of being ready to defend our minds against our negative thinking, we need to fortify ourselves with positive truths that we have at the ready when we need it.
How do we find these positive truths?
I don’t know about you, but it is far easier for me to encourage someone else than it is for me to encourage myself. I always see the light and the potential in others and I choose my words wisely when I speak with them. I think I need to exercise this with myself. Affirmations are helpful, but they need to be practiced every day. I tend to come up with several and after a week, I forget them or I skip a day and then well, it’s all washed away and I’m criticizing myself for yet another failed attempt to be a productive human in this world.
And that’s the key: I’m human.
I’m human, just like you are. Just like we all are and regardless of the philosophy you put behind that label of HUMAN, as long as we are in these bodies, we’re going to fall down. The thing is, we can’t stay down and scream at ourselves while we’re down there. we need to speak to ourselves like we would our best friend who has fallen again. Or like a toddler who is learning to walk and has fallen for the five-hundredth time. We need to embrace ourselves with love and kindness.
How do we do this?
I think it’s important to have someone to turn to, whether it’s a spouse, a friend, a sibling, or whatever. It’s important to have someone we trust and who truly loves us and is honest with us, who can be there when we can’t be there for ourselves. Just one person is all we need.
We need a list of positive truths to remind ourselves of when we’re feeling like shit. These an be written down, recorded, or just in our minds (although at first we might be better off to have something tangible).
We need to build a circle of positive people in our lives. This can be in person, online, or even in books – whatever it takes to feed your mind positive truths.
Keep a gratitude journal and count our blessings. Every day we are given the opportunity to live this life and that’s a miraculous gift. We have so much to be grateful for and I don’t know about you, but I sometimes forget that. I get so focused on what is lacking that I forget just how freaking awesome I have it. If you have a roof over your head, food in the pantry, running water, and clothes on your back, honey – you’re pretty damn well off and you have much to be grateful for.
It’s okay to get down.
It’s okay to not be okay.
However, sometimes a reality check is needed, because constantly acknowledging the negatives is just as much a lie as constantly pretending to be ecstatic. We can live our truth in an honest and loving way, even as we trudge through the muddy bits and fall face down in the muck of life’s challenges.
We are beautifully made.
We are human.
We are okay.