What I can do

November 4, 2008 at 12:22 pm 4 comments

I was just reading in Amber’s blog about how we don’t know what we are capable of until life demands it from us, and that reminded me of an experience yesterday. I went to work, and one of the kids wanted to affix a shelf to a wall in his room. Under my calm exterior I panicked. I hadn’t done any kind of handiwork in ages! My husband does everything — and very neatly. So I just gave up in that area a long time ago.

Well, in the function of doing my job, I organized a drill from home and then set about the task. I pretended to know what I was doing, and soon believed it myself! My client wasn’t quite sure how to do it, and I had to show him how to measure, where to put marks on the wall to drill, etc. We didn’t do it absolutely perfectly, but the metal piece which supports the shelf is hidden, so no one can see that it’s slightly lopsided. The shelf itself is level — and that although we didn’t use a water level.

Afterwards I felt elated. Not only did we succeed in our endeavor, but I actually knew how to do it. And he wouldn’t have succeeded without me! Really. I let him do as much as possible, but he needed my assistance. The fun part was to just DO it. No big deal. It didn’t have to be perfectly done.

I realized once again that I stopped doing a lot of things because it is so COMPLICATED with my husband. I hate doing any kind of renovation, or even just going skiing with him. It takes forever until everything is prepared, until the skis are perfectly organized in the car, along with the ski boots, helmets, etc. And after we’ve skiied, everything has to be perfectly brushed off so there isn’t a DROP of water left on the skis. Sometimes I feel like screaming.

Where does this roundabout description bring me? You may be surprised. I certainly was. Later in the evening, I thought about the situation of being a “victim” and how horrible that is. What became clear to me is that my “victim” situation is a thing of the past, but I myself created or at least cooperated in the establishment of the present situation. I made decisions which made me unhappy. Never mind why I made those decisions. What matters is: They were mine. I chose to give someone immense power and control over me. I don’t like it. I never did. But now I dislike it so much, that I will not accept it anymore.

Lately, I’ve looked more closely at my own responsibility. True, many things in life happen which are beyond my control. Yet I do have some say in the matter. It is up to me to make decisions, to set boundaries, to say “Yes” as well as “No” in the personally appropriate situation. At this point, I will not torture myself with blame or try to figure out why I made the decisions I did. (I’ve already done that!) Instead I focus on awareness, assessing the situation, and changing that part of my behavior which I deem inappropriate.

In the past, I slipped into roles that didn’t suit me, but they were familiar. I felt that something was wrong, but ignored that feeling and played the game. Now I realize that just because those games were/are familiar, that is not reason enough to continue playing them. As I gradually learn to react more appropriately and authentically, I observe that certain patterns of interaction have begun to change — almost imperceptively, but they are changing. It is only when I compare the situation now to a few months ago, that I see a more noticeable difference.

I have become more courageous, even in little things. (I find that the little things are a great way to get started!) I feel a new sense of competence and security, and trust in my ability to cope with the person and/or situation at hand. As far as the bookshelf is concerned, that was quite simple: Just DO it! And if I’m not sure, I ask for help. But I will not give up before I even start, or simply say: “Oh, no, I can’t do that.” That’s what I used to do. Today I give it my best shot first.

Along the lines of what Amber said: Often we don’t even realize what we are capable of — until we have to do it! Life is full of surprises!

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Entry filed under: daily challenges, going back to work. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Halloween Baby Still surprised

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amber  |  November 6, 2008 at 2:14 am

    Wow girlfriend…. that post has knocked my socks off! That is some amazing writing from your soul. You have really come a long way baby! I felt the strength in you grow with each word you typed as affirmation of your ability to just do it! Anything you choose. You are capable! Go girl go! Don’t let anyone tell you what you can do!

    Reply
  • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  November 6, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Well thank you! I felt silly making a big deal out of a shelf (and kind of stupid, knowing what feats my friends are capable of), but it’s where I’m at now. And every major change starts with a little step, so it’s encouraging. Things are falling into place in amazing ways, and I just keep taking those little steps.

    Reply
  • 3. Samantha  |  November 8, 2008 at 1:47 am

    I don’t think its silly or stupid! I think it shows how each of us is an individual and what seems like a mindless task to one is a mountain to another! I know some people are baffled at the fact that I push mowed my grass myself, 8 months pregnant, because my husband was out to sea…but that was part of “my job.” Yet there are plenty of things “those people” do that I shy away from!

    Great job for taking on that task and rising!

    Reply
  • 4. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  November 8, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you! That’s a nice way of putting it.

    Reply

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