All or Nothing

All or Nothing thinking: “You either do this perfectly, or you don’t even bother.”

My husband and I have taken to enjoying sitting outside after dusk with a nightcap and him a cigar, chatting about things. It started Monday when we wanted to be under the night sky to discuss old and new ways of calculating the moons and pagan holidays and how investigating these concepts may deepen our understanding and attunement of these energies. The sky was overcast, we lamented not having a visual to accompany our discussion but we knew what was up there. Communing through verbal discourse we enjoyed the night and each other’s company.

Last night we ventured out to do the same thing. I took my Kindle with me and he played on his newly acquired iPhone, we continued our conversation from the other night. At some point he asked, “Why haven’t we done this before?” I replied, “Because it was never suggested.” He nodded; appreciating the simplicity of my answer (I’m sure). So as not to disappoint him in knowing my true verbose character, I expounded on my explanation.

Our family has a tendency toward an “All or Nothing” attitude. If we couldn’t have a clear night sky, sitting in the backyard of our dream house in the country than how could we possibly enjoy sitting outside our townhouse in the city? Overcast, light pollution, traffic sounds, and strangers walking or driving past us with loud music booming from their stereos or headphones. For us, if we couldn’t have our dream why would we settle for anything less. Don and I have it so ingrained in our personalities, I think, we don’t even notice its crippling effect on our life sometimes.

This observation is just one of the many treasures I’ve acquired over the past year. I had a bout of depression last year that kicked my ass. Whenever something tears me apart like that I take a hard look at myself, my desires, my relationships. Am I doing the best for me? for my family? how can I make my life and my relationships better? How can I be successful?

I started by stripping away everything I could that caused me stress. And getting medical help as well. Really didn’t want the meds route but my coping skills had deteriorated to the point of no return. But after a brief zombie transition period in which I was thankfully wiped of emotional torture but lacking personality, I’m back and motivated to do things at a slower more incremental pace.

I believe one of the things that drove me over the edge was the pressure I was putting on myself. The “All or Nothing” attitude had struck me down. I wanted to succeed at too many things in a certain way, in certain amount of time and I got whacked with reality. Failure…

My writing was a big one. I had stopped writing on my blog, as you can tell from the big couple year break. I could not handle the fact that I wasn’t meeting my own expectations or those I “perceived” from other people, so I dropped it completely. The blog anyway. I can’t stop writing totally. I write for me, my entertainment, and to help sort out my understanding of the human condition. Of course, I had to rediscover this. I had a crisis where I thought I couldn’t or shouldn’t bother because it wasn’t going the way I thought it “should” be.

Mirror of Inner WisdomIn retrospect, I feel like I was someone else, someone paralyzed by the ideal of perfection and expectation. It was an experience I hope never to forget so that I don’t relive it.

Now, I’m going to enjoy the night sky no matter where I am. I know what’s up there or at least enough to understand I should keep going on my path the way my inner wisdom tells me is true. I and my family have plans that will become fruitful in time, one loving, balanced, practical step at a time. We need to enjoy these moments with each other regardless of how imperfect they are. Truly, imperfection is generally more memorable than perfection anyway, and more entertaining.

 

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