Today, as I sat at work eating mini Reese’s peanut butter cups on autopilot (taking a little nibble and tossing them, one by one) and docking the Points one by one, feeling like a temporary failure (knowing HELLO, I shouldn’t have bought them in the first place, let alone brought them in to the office, as they’re a trigger food …) I couldn’t help but wonder …
Doesn’t everyone want to be the best they can be?
Or is it just a few of us in this world that set really high expectations for ourselves and feel disappointed in ourselves when we “screw up?”
I don’t think it’s a crazy question to ask — with respect to recovery or life more generally. I think it’s human nature to want to be the best version of ourselves we can be.
While an occasional binge isn’t necessarily a “screw-up,” it certainly isn’t helping me achieve my goals of 1) eating cleaner and 2) not buying food I am going to toss.
I am definitely still struggling with that and know full well it was an impulse buy yesterday at lunch. Fortunately I chucked the bag before I could do too much damage, but still! I certainly wasn’t “being all I could be” in that moment, that’s for sure. My expectations for myself — when binging (because let’s be honest, that’s what it was) — seemed to go out the window.
But then something happened that helped me validate my age-old belief that, in spite of glitches like this, I am someone who strives to be the best they can be (which is probably why, while reading the link listed below, I was internally beating myself up over the Reese’s!).
Today a colleague shared this link on Facebook, “Before I Die I Want To …,” which is an incredibly powerful photojournalism project inspired by the death of Polaroid. You have to take a look; it’s really something else.
This one (grouped with “Hospice”) was particularly moving. “I feel like I have done everything I wanted to do.”—Chelsi. What an inspiration; may we *all* feel that way at the end of our lives! And then it hit me.
You always hear people saying they want to do X but don’t have the time; wish to go X but don’t have the money; want to be X but don’t have the drive … But I look in the mirror and see someone who is heavier than she’d like to be, who just binged on Reese’s cups, but in spite of that, is generally happy with life as she knows it …
Maybe I won’t live as long as Chelsi, but I can aspire to be her. I feel like I’ve done a lot in my 30 years, many things of which I’m proud …risks I’ve taken, etc. I’ve made sacrifices to achieve certain goals that are meaningful to me, even though others might have thought I’m nuts. And, perhaps most importantly, I feel like I’m a good wife, daughter, sister, friend and someday, hopefully, will be a good mother.
I don’t feel like I’ve ever said, “I wish I could …” but rather am proud of the fact that, more often than not, I’ve gone for whatever I wanted in life. In a way, I feel like I’ve made it my life’s goal to “be the best I can be” — even though I don’t always attain it.
Somewhere in college I adapted the mantra “No regrets” — and I really feel like, for the most part, I’ve upheld my end of the bargain with myself. Even my disordered eating history — I’ve no regrets about it; it’s gotten me where I am today, where I can be a voice in the darkness for someone. That means a lot.
And sure, there will probably always be a competitive side of me that wants to be better … a better writer, a better saver, fitter, etc. But I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, necessarily, to want to be the best I can be. I think it just means to always be cognizant that it’s OK to fall sometimes.
So times like today, when I’m trying not to beat myself up over wasting Points on Reese’s cups I didn’t need and trying not to feel like I failed myself, it’s best to look at the big picture and see that though I am one of those people who sets high expectations for myself that at times might seem intangible … if I died tomorrow, I could still, with conviction, say I’m happy with the life I’ve lived.
Reese’s PB cups and all.
How about you? Do you set high expectations for yourself, and do you think others measure themselves on the same grounds you measure yourself? And what
2 thoughts on “Be All That You Can Be.”
Hunni and I have had conversations about this before and for the record so have my therapist and I. I definitely set my standards way too high for myself. I’ve always been a perfectionist and can’t settle for anything less. Even when I give in and feel okay with something less than perfect it still eats at me. I’m learning to settle even if it’s not my desire.
I know many people who are much happier than I am with out striving to be perfect all the time.
I definitely set high expectations for myself, and then struggle with extreme guilt when I don’t reach those standards. I think most people who struggle with some kind of disordered eating are the type of people who do want to be the best that they can be.
But I know many other people who set their self-expectations much lower; they’re just not always striving to be the best. Sometimes I think that’s a good thing – they’re better at forgiving themselves and going with the flow. But sometimes it makes me wonder what they’d be capable of if they did have the kind of drive and high expectations that someone like me does.