I see things. Thankfully, not dead people. (That’s a movie trope reference. If you don’t know it I won’t spoil it.)
I have generalized anxiety disorder. This mean that I notice all the things that can possibly go wrong in every given situation. I notice when things change. I notice when things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be.
This can be a good trait. It means I’m detail oriented and that I catch mistakes. I would make a good editor.
It does mean that I’m not so good at seeing what’s working well. Because if something is working well, I don’t have to worry about it and so I don’t need to think about it, so I don’t really need to notice it.
It’s the stuff that might go wrong, the stuff that might cause problems, the stuff that isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do that needs my attention.
So that’s the stuff I see.
But this type of seeing doesn’t make for a very good life. Because I’m always seeing what can go wrong, what could be better. And so I’m mostly only ever seeing what I’m failing at.
And so I mostly think of myself as a failure.
I could list all the ways I think I’m failing and the people who don’t know me might feel sympathy and the people who do know me would think I was crazy and then point out all the things I am definitely not failing at.
But the reality is that I only see my failures and so I feel like a failure.
The leap from the one to the other, might not be logical, but it is the leap that my brain is making.
Failing at so much stuff = Being a Failure
So this is the first bit of craziness I want to rewire in my brain. I want to figure out how to separate these two thoughts which are inextricably linked in my mind.
The first step I see is that I need to try and focus on more of the successes in my life. So I am going to start an Accomplishment Journal.
Now I know this sounds narcissistic and a piece of me is crying out at the complete ego-centrism of the idea. But I truly can’t remember the things I do well on a daily basis. When I look back over my day all I can remember are those things that I screwed up – I spent too much time cruising Facebook, I didn’t rinse out the pool pump soon enough and now it is all dry and crusty, I still haven;t put away the Fringe costumes and every flat surface in my house is covered in junk.
What I don’t easily recall is how I got the bed curtain hardware for my girls’ room all measured out and screwed into place, how I freecycled a pile of outgrown sports equipment, how I prepared my Intro to Homeschooling presentation for a MASH event, and how I spent the evening hanging out with my teens for Family Movie Night.
The needs to be done list completely obliterates the finished doing list and it’s time to stop seeing the shadows instead of the light.
Every day in my Accomplishment Journal, I want to write down three things that I accomplished during my day and at least one of them must be something that I personally feel I excelled at. These accomplishments do not have to all be tangible. They may be successful conversations I have had, moments I felt were worth savouring, activities that that proved beneficial to others. They are not supposed to be routine items that I struggle with completing (although if I feel especially proud than they would count). These are supposed to be a list that I can look back over and see where I am making progress in my life.