I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that I can’t do everything. For a long time I’ve been haunted by this notion that I’m not good enough and that no matter what I do it will never be enough to prove myself.
That said, I don’t know why I feel like I have to prove myself. It could be my upbringing or it could be the fact that once I was diagnosed with schizophrenia this notion appeared that I had to be just as good if not better than normal people.
In the last nine years I’ve written two books and have been published everywhere from Scientific American to The New York Times. Still though I work myself into a tizzy about doing more and more and more still. I’d like to say that this feeling dulled a bit as grew closer to thirty but it’s still there and the only thing I can do about is try to fill it with more work.
That’s a problem.
I’ve discovered only recently that if I fill my plate with commitments in an attempt to get rid of the feeling I start to feel unhealthily overwhelmed. I can’t sleep well and every waking minute I’m plagued by thoughts of things I have to do and different goals I have to meet.
In all this, I’ve tried desperately to ease these thoughts by doing more work than I’m comfortable with, trying desperately to explain my situation to friends and loved ones and even taking to drinking more beer and eating more food than I’d normally be comfortable with.
I’m coming to the conclusion that only one thing is going to work for me to keep my sanity.
That is, to accept that I’m not superman. In essence I need to accept that I can’t possibly do everything that I want to do and still maintain a grasp on the stability, which is so fragile for a person in my situation.
I think acceptance of this fact will give me a little room to breathe and it looks like it’s going to work. I can’t tell quite yet but just being ok with the fact that it’s ok not to be superhuman is a major stepping stone for me. I imagine the same would be true for others as well.
So many times in our lives we take on commitments in an effort to prove ourselves or simply because we have a hard time saying no to opportunities. We have this kernel of thought in our heads that says “Maybe this next thing will be it, maybe this next thing is going to payoff and bring us fame and fortune and an overall happier life.”
The thing is, that next big thing becomes just a notch on our resume, which, although these notches can be good, still leaves us grasping for more and more and more until that thing that we think is going to be it is within reach.
What happens though, when we’ve done the thing that we think is going to be it and we’re just left with a mild sense of accomplishment, a little more money and that sinking unshakeable feeling that we still aren’t good enough?
It seems then that the only thing we can do is to learn to be comfortable with that feeling.
It sounds defeatist but the sooner you (and I) come to terms with the fact that we’re not superman and that we can’t do everything without driving ourselves crazy, life will be much easier.
This is just another insecurity and coming to terms with and accepting our insecurities is an essential part of living a happy life.
It’s a process though, I’m working on it and I’m sure you are too.
For now, my best advice (to me included) is to take it slow and pace yourself, you never know where you’ll find yourself in five years.