So, I've been doing all of this reading and pondering lately. From a variety of sources. It's interesting how much of it ties into my current "homework" assignment from my counselor. The biggest discovery I've made this week is that I have a pretty solid "Pass, or Fail" mentality. About pretty much everything in life.
When Darling A was only a couple weeks old, I would sit in my rocking chair, nursing her while viewing the chaos around me (i.e. Baby B screaming, Sweet P and Little M fighting, mess and clutter all over, and HH frustrated because a lot of things weren't getting taken care of, Z whining at my feet for lack of attention) and I would repeat inside my head, "What were we thinking? This was a mistake. I will never be able to make everyone happy again."
And I knew that I had failed as a wife and mom.
Because keeping everyone happy all of the time was the test and I failed it.
If I don't workout until I'm exhausted, or pretty near to it, I've failed in my workout.
If someone complains about one dish I've prepared, the whole meal is a failure. My failure.
And so on and on.
I've known for a while that this was faulty thinking, but it was difficult to figure out how to change it and what exactly was wrong because I wasn't thinking of it in these exact words and terms. But, now that I've become aware of this "Pass, or Fail" line of thinking, I've realized just how much I use it. And how counterproductive it is toward my efforts to be happy.
So, when I find myself getting down because I didn't do something perfect, in addition to reminding myself that I have value, I also remind myself that it's okay. Life is not about passing or failing. At least, very little of it is. For the most part, it's full of "do-overs".
And the most important part of that, for me, is that if I slip up and I don't use my newly learned tools to stay positive and I have a bad moment, or a bad day--it's okay. Because being happy isn't something I can pass off. I'm not going to one day walk out of my counselor's office with a sheet of paper saying that I've passed and I am going to live perfectly happy from then on.
And that's okay. Because it also means that when I do slip up, I haven't failed. It is worth trying again because this is all about progression, not mastery.
And that is a pretty liberating thought for someone so governed by fear of failure.
In other news, we had our family pictures taken tonight. Kind of chaotic, but I am super excited to see how they turned out!