On Personal Performance (talking to myself)

3:43 PM Katy 4 Comments

Back when I thought I might end up in a homeless shelter (when I was newly divorced and searching for a job, and then 2 years ago after losing a job, and pretty much all the years in between because ANXIETY!!), I would look around at other people who seemed to have life easier and think "they are doing better because they are better at xyz" -- and my thinking always came back to performance.

I could not get away from the idea that if I could have worked harder... more hours... if I'd made different choices... gotten better grades in college... hadn't gotten married (anyone can tell you how being a single mom is your fault, in case you ever doubted it)... hell, if I'd chosen a different career altogether and moved to a different state... we could have avoided all this suffering.

That's the devil of personal performance: it's a slippery slope. "It's all your own fault!" you shout at yourself. Even if you worked hard at school, worked hard at your job, only had two children or less, raised them perfectly and then one day, an alligator leaps out of the lake at Disney world and eats your baby - it's your fault. (one extreme example I saw lately. You better believe a lot of secretly terrified people shouted on facebook that it was all the parents' fault because heaven forbid something like that happen to them. I call this phenomenon "the more popular method of shielding yourself from a voodoo curse".)

This past year has begun a totally new chapter of my life that looks nothing like the previous 15 years. My marriage to one of the "good ones" brought a lot of change. I don't have to be perfect in order to ensure that I am not in danger of being thrown out with the Monday trash, or handed a corporate threat or pink slip. Maybe he wishes I took a chill pill anxiety meds more frequently, but if so he never mentions it. ha!

First Anniversary! Still no hate! even though I panicked and almost fainted in the airport!
And even now I still have occasional nervous thoughts like "I better not gain weight" or "I should be cleaning the bathrooms more." We can't get free from every ounce of performance striving in this life, because it's written in our DNA. [The opposite affliction is NOTHING IS EVER MY FAULT - but that is reserved for those of us who are sociopaths and have no conscience, another genetic defect that 1 in 25 of us have. Sigh.]

We live in this world, yes, but most of us long for a change in our DNA. (Spiritual sight over physical sight, and all that.) If I only I could hang onto the right lenses consistently...

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  1. Lol. I love that book! It helped when I was working with one. And I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who has that voice saying "if only I'd"...
    It's month 2 since my divorce was final and I'm happy to say that I've weaned myself off the anti depressants and anxiety meds that I had to take most of the 27 years I was married! I feel so much better and although I have a rough day now and then I know I'll be ok. Just having gone through what was a worst case scenario and surviving and, dare I say, thriving, gives me hope. Reading your journey has helped immensely!

  2. All I know is that if I hadn't gained weight, had perfect eyesight and that my parents had got braces for my teeth that my life would have been perfect. I'm glad for you.

  3. You speak to my soul, sister. Happy for you!

  4. In this modern society when information is traveling by speed of light as your job fly over no wonder you had those feelings. Since 2009 I've changed 7 jobs, four companies were closed and In three I din'd wanted to work because of stress. Sometimes I also blame my self for wrong decisions in past, lost marriage. And have feeling that I will finish in shelter or even worse that all shelters will be full by the time I came there :) < What the hack, I am not going to sorrow my self, I am going forward, I will have rich life full of Joy.
    Great story, Thanks for sharing


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