There is something I've been thinking a lot about recently. It has to do with realistic/unrealistic expectations I have of myself.
I've always been sort of a perfectionist - if I put my mind to something I wanted to do it well. This trait has usually hurt me more then it
has helped me. Mainly because there are times I have refused to try to do something because I knew I couldn't do it well, or because I have pushed myself so hard because I wanted to do something so perfectly that I ended up very stressed and unhappy.
So what I was wondering was this : where is the balance? When is it right to try to do something, even though it may not seem achievable at first, and when is it more prudent to quit instead of pushing yourself to do something you are just not made to do.
For instance some people are natural artists. I have long come to grips with the fact that I am not one of those people. Any picture I have attempted to draw ended up in the trash after 10 minutes and not a little frustration. I would end up feeling so disheartened, because I could never put the pictures in my head on paper. So instead of art being a calming, enjoyable activity, it was the cause of stress and dissapointment. Not a good idea for me.
(Thankfully I came to this realization pretty early in life - around the age of 11-12. So I haven't experienced these feelings in a while.)
Now lets examine a more recent example. I am currently learning how to drive. I am trying my best to be a good student, I really am. I study in my free time, I visualize potential situations, I try to observe how others drive and learn from them. But it just seems I can do no right in the eyes of my instructor. He calls me slow, and tells me I just don't have it in me to learn how to drive. Now a part of me wants to be strong and refuse to quit, yet on the other hand I wonder if prehalps I'm being foolish and naive. Maybe he's right and I'm wrong. I don't dislike him in general, but as soon as we get behind the wheel he seems a completely different person. I'm not sure if this is my fault, or his. And I don't know what to do.
(How I'm feeling inside every time I get behind the wheel )
On the one hand he's not a bad teacher. But on the other he expects A LOT from me. So I go between feeling like a failure that will never learn and wondering whether he is in the wrong. I am a slower learner then what he is used to, but does that mean I'll never learn?
I think the same reasoning could be applied to some challenges we give ourselves in recovery. I believe there is a point you can push yourself "too far too fast". Few people have the internal motivation to push themselves THAT far, but it does happen. And I feel sometimes it's important to realize your limitations and slowly start to work on them, as opposed to trying to do everything at once. That is impossible and usually will make you feel like quiting before you even really get started. You end up failing not because you are a failure, but because you set unrealistic expectations of yourself.
On the flip side sometimes you need a little "kick in the ass" to get you motivated. That's why it's important to have others to help you along this journey. A lot of the times you can't see objectively, you either are scared of pushing yourself harder, or your comfy where you are. Others can help motivate you, show you where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and help you get where you want to go. So an outside perspective is valuable as well.
All in all I think it's a matter of balance and knowing what is realistic for you, and what isn't.
Any thoughts on the matter?