I have a right not to do well: this is something I need to remind myself of because it’s a revolutionary concept to my way of thinking.
For me, it’s not that I have to keep anyone else in check to see that they are respecting my rights – it’s myself who is taking those rights away from me. I don’t have to continually improve? I have a right to be wrong? I can let myself off the hook occasionally?
These are dangerous thoughts because they make me fear that once I open up the door for one of them, I’ll lose control and totally go down the wrong way. Like taking the first bite in my perfect abstinence. Part of what keeps me abstinent is the fear of what would happen if I let go of that control. I have to learn that abstinence is a special case, whereas “doing well” (doing the right things, performing, etc.) is not a 100% black/white issue.
Case in point – just yesterday I picked up gum again. (I am tired of this, and I’m sure you are tired of reading about it, but I have to get this out there). I had every intention of having “just one”. Needless to say, I consumed all I had and hated it! Somehow I’d managed to convince myself that I don’t have to be abstinent from gum because that doesn’t mean losing my abstinence, so I can be “imperfect” and have just one. The problem is, I lost all control. That’s exactly what I’m afraid of when it comes to letting go of *any* of the things I hold myself accountable to!
Exercise is an example where I kind-of have a balance now, but not really. I want to exercise, but right now I’m “allowing” myself off the hook and to be imperfect by trading my requirement to exercise for walking to and from work (a total of 40 mins. brisk walking per day). So I don’t do nearly as well as I want to, or think I ought to, but I am doing something and that is some sort of success. Except that each week, I have this urge to do better the next week and add to what I’m doing. No matter how much exercise I do, I get this urge each week to add to it. More, more, more – better, better, better. Then, if one week I don’t do more or improve, I feel like I’ve lost it all. Then it’s so easy to just let it all go.
It’s a pointless roundabout and I can see my thinking patterns here. With exercise I’m sort of getting there mentally (content with just walking, and recognising / refuting the inner self-talk to HAVE TO do more/better next week), with gum I’m not (I’m OFF it now), and with many other things I haven’t even recognised these patterns yet. Sigh. I’m my worst enemy and critic.