You’re Only Human and That’s Okay


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Some of us are more relaxed than others, but sooner or later most of us get to the point that we stress out. Admittedly, I’m someone who reaches that point very soon. It doesn’t really help that I have a tendency towards perfectionism. When I know someone is coming over, I stress whether my house is clean enough, neat enough, I’m having enough energy to entertain etc. It’s taken me awhile to figure out how to deal with it (and still working on implementing it, the theory is quite simple, however, reality is slightly more challenging). If it doesn’t work right away, hang in there! It takes practice, but when you persist, you will for sure benefit from it.

Accept what is. First, we’re all humans and none of us is perfect, so why should I have to be? I’ll admit this is a challenge for me, but realizing and acknowledging that I’m human and humans are imperfect makes it easier. I (do my best to) accept that I’m imperfect and that that’s ok. Sometimes it may seem as if someone else(‘s life) is perfect. Then, it can be helpful to remember that you don’t really know what is going on. You only see the outside, most people will only show you what they want you to see.

Second, accept that you can’t do everything. Many of us try to do everything or at least a lot. Either because we believe we should, or because we feel society expects us to. No one can do everything. Some have more resources (energy, time, money) than others. Consider your resources and make choices that you think are best for you and your family, for the rest of it, accept that you can’t do that. At least not right now, maybe later.

Finally, accept the things you can’t change. I know that a lot of my stress comes from things that have either happened or haven’t happened yet. I can’t change what has happened in the past and I can’t control what is going to happen in the future. I (once again, try to) accept that there are things I can’t change. The only thing I can do is decide whether or not to think about it and how I want to think about it.

Do a reality check. When you notice you’re stressed, take a moment to determine exactly what stresses you out. Then, ask yourself: how important/essential is this really? If you say it’s important, check with yourself whether it’s really your opinion or someone else’s. And if it is important, can you do something about it or are you just wasting energy worrying about it? Ask yourself what the worst is that can happen, is it really as bad as you imagine? And maybe humor yourself and ask what would be the best-case scenario.

People are going to think whatever they want, you can’t control that. However, you can make the choice not to care about what they think of you. Does your house really need to be impeccable? Says who? If it’s livable, who cares if there’s laundry lying around or dishes on the counter? When your child is taken care of and the house is safe for your kid, you’re good. Let go of that little voice in your head that tells you otherwise. And if there are real people telling you it isn’t good enough, see if you can be honest with them. If they care about you, they will understand you can’t do everything. And if they don’t, then let them go (at least out of your head).

Be mindful of what you do and what you think. We are so used to rush through the day that we sometimes forget to check with ourselves and see how we feel. Are you relaxed (if so, good for you) or are you stressed out? Take a moment for yourself to be present, feel the ground under your feet, hear the birds sing, breath in some fresh air. A moment away from everything you should. Remember, you can’t take care of others, if you don’t take care of yourself. Often our thoughts will pass by without us really noticing them.

If you happen to notice that your thoughts are negative, see if you can reframe them in a more positive way. I’m not saying you should only think happy things, but it can be helpful to take another maybe more positive or at least (more) neutral perspective towards things. I’m very good at negative thinking. But now, when for example I notice that I’m being hard on myself for thinking negative things, I reframe my thoughts. I accept that I have these negative thoughts and ask myself what would be a better way of thinking. And it may be something like: I wish I was better at this and I realize that it takes a lot of practice to get where I want to be. Be kind to yourself! Not just for you, but for your kids as well; they learn by example.

Featured Photo Courtesy: Axel Kuhlmann

I'm Sandra Hoekstra and in 2013 my husband, daughter and I moved from the Netherlands to the Seattle area. I like to write about things that are important to me.

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