I’ve always been an idealist with high expectations of myself (and others – ask my poor ex lol!) I always wanted to be an “A+ student” in life. Whereas shooting for the stars and expecting miracles is a great way to live what happens when you fall, when you plummet down to the depths in defeat and failure? (It happens to us all). You get up and try again (of course) but a lot depends on your frame of mind.
If you pummel yourself with guilt and shame at not being able to reach those unrealistic expectations you’re heading for a crash. Here’s where being able to laugh at yourself is one of life’s greatest assets. While in my sensitive teens I once slipped in my trendy platform soles and managed to bump on my bum a good part of the way down the escalator of Piccadilly Circus landing in a heap with my mini skirt up to my waist and my legs in the air among a crowd of commuters. I wasn’t badly hurt (mostly my pride and dignity) but a big crowd formed asking anxiously if I was OK. I had two choices – laugh or cry. Thankfully I chose the former and the lesson has stayed with me. Sometimes in life the best thing to do is laugh at yourself and remember that, with all our good intentions, we are not God and we are going to screw up sometimes, lots of times! I’ll repeat that last part “we are not God” it’s important!
Often idealistic people set unreasonable expectations on themselves and I’ve had to learn the hard way that I can’t always hit every ball, and help every person that comes my way. Sometimes I’ll even fail those I love most. This is not because I’m a bad person, a screw up, loser etc. etc. it’s because I’m human. I’m not God.
Life can sometimes hand us more than we can bear, too many packages or burdens at once. At such times it’s important to be honest with ourselves and others and get some help. Some packages we can redistribute to others, some set down in storage till later, but some, sadly, we sometimes just have to drop. This has been one of the toughest lessons for me, sometimes I just have to let go of something trusting that God will catch it somehow I don’t see.
I was born with a mother’s heart and have a tendency to “adopt” folks along the way, to feel a responsibility for my fellow man (and especially for children and young adults) but if you stretch yourself too thin like an elastic band you’re apt to snap. My son has lectured me on this many a time, trying to safeguard me, “Mum it’s not your responsibility,” he’ll say, “You don’t have to try to fix everything.” I’ve come to see he is right in a way. The ultimate responsibility is God’s and only He can handle it sometimes. It’s not that we shouldn’t try, but we need to understand that when that package slips from our hand we need to remember “I am not God” (or “a god” if you happen to be atheistic) I’m only human this will happen from time to time and not beat ourselves up about it.