Written by Nicky
Pressure, pressure, pressure! All my life I felt it! It was there in everything I did! I didn’t realise it until recently but now I see it so clearly!
There was an intense pressure to be the prefect daughter, friend, sister, teacher and mother. Pressure to buy the perfect presents and to say the “right” thing and do the “right” thing always! Pressure to never offend and pressure to justify my own opinions and choices! Pressure to be the kindest, the funniest, the loudest or the angriest! Pressure to right the wrongs of others! Pressure to be the best at everything I did! All of the time!
The pressure built and built and built some more over my life! It all got too much for my poor body and mind to take! And eventually I crumbled under all the pressure! I cracked! I couldn’t take it anymore! It was all too much!
There was no pressure then…just emptiness and numbness and darkness.
I began recovery and again I put pressure on myself to be perfect at recovery! Pressure to recover quickly! Pressure to have all the answers and to be able to apply it all straight away! Pressure to have no dips or “set-backs” along the way! Pressure to eat the proper food in the correct quantities at the right time! Pressure to be fully recovered and pressure to be free! It’s the way I had always been! Pressure was, however, what kept me going and helped me achieve and be successful! It had always worked before so surely it would work for me in recovery too??!!!!
Along the journey, I slowly began to see, that pressure wasn’t my friend and that it was unnecessary! I saw that pressure and perfectionism just made me judge myself constantly! It made me doubt myself! It made me see all of the things I couldn’t do yet! It made me rush and overthink and over analyse! It prevented me from sleeping! It prevented me from eating! It made me feel heavy! It made me feel angry! It made me feel awful! It made me feel like a failure! It stole many opportunities to feel proud of myself! It stole my peace! It stole my laughter! It stole my joy!
Little by little and step by step I practiced letting go of the pressure!
And this is what I learned…..
I learned to recognise the negative self-talk that comes with pressure and I learned to change it to gentle and loving words instead!
I learned that,most, if not all of the pressure, comes from within me and therefore the only person who could free me of it’s grasp was me!
I learned that I could take time to check in with my own needs before making decisions!
I learned that I could give myself time to quieten the busyness in my head so that I could hear my own voice! So that I could ask myself what I wanted to do!
I learned that striving for perfectionism is unnecessary and impossible because now I know it doesn’t exist!
I learned to enjoy the process regardless of the outcome!
I learned to recognise and honour my own needs!
I learned that there is always a choice!
I learned that there is always a solution!
And I learned that life can me simpler!
My days are easier and my thoughts are lighter! I can feel joy and I can laugh and smile more easily! I can feel peace and contentment! I spend less time thinking about and worrying about everything! Far less time judging my words and my actions! Hardly anytime at all analysing the food, conversations, work tasks, decisions and so much more! And that leaves space and more time for reading or resting or reflecting or learning! It allows me to enjoy my days and cherish my time! I can now connect with this wonderful world we live in! Something that was not possible when the pressure weighed heavy on my body and consumed my mind!
And although living without pressure can still feel a little strange sometimes, I know that, as each day passes, I am becoming more accustomed to it! I get so much more done these days than ever before but the funny thing is it all seems to happen with less effort too! Something I never thought could ever happen!!
And I am so grateful!
Just so very grateful that the pressure has lifted and that the lightness has come instead!
I am grateful, every day, that I chose recovery over condition and that I learned to let the pressure on myself go! That I learned I no longer value it!
So I guess the moral of this story is…
I have learned that we have only one life! And we can choose to spend our days living and loving and laughing!! Or we could spend our days engaging in perfectionism and pressure and punishment!!
So, what will you choose to do?
I have made my choice!
I will choose life, love and laughter…