I entered the world of shoulds today...and by golly that's a world that no soul should ever enter.
Berating myself for the quiet inertness of the day, (which, in all honesty, seems to be more of a season than just a day) I found my thoughts started to take the downward path of 'I should be...' I should be getting out more (parks...not stores...thank you covid), I should be feeding my kids better (more things from scratch that take 3 hours to make only to be discarded by my littles after they've given it a suspicious glance and determined it unfit for consumption), I should be reading more with them, organizing more activities, on and on and on....not to mention the shoulds directly related to myself and how I interact with the world and everything else.
And again, by golly this path is one that should never be trodden. Over the last number of months I've come to understand that I've been in a state of C-PTSD for years (over a couple decades if we're going to split hairs). This has stemmed from childhood trauma, coupled with the years of abuse I underwent with my former spouse. C-PTSD is, as the "C" stands for, complex. It looks different for everyone. For me, part of what it has resulted in is my body turning on itself, resulting in an auto-immune disease. To top that off, I'm an empathic, highly sensitive person (HSP)...and no, being an HSP does not mean that I'm oversensitive and cry easily (although I do...sometimes, cry easily), or get offended easily (although, given the day, I may, but I'm quick to jump away from offense)...an HSP is someone who experiences acute physical, mental, or emotional responses to stimuli. Now pair that with being an empath, as well as working through C-PTSD, it's a lot to balance. Anyway, this isn't a sob story, I'm actually growing to love how I'm wired and I'm hopeful and grateful for what I've journeyed through. NOW Going back to understanding all this - true, deep understanding correlates with forgiveness and hopefully compassion. So I've gradually been able to learn how to exercise forgiveness and compassion for and to myself when I don't meet my own expectations. Side note on expectations - even expectations are something I'm learning about; holding expectations in a non-attached way, having a goal in mind, but being open handed about the results.
Saying all that, about today...well today, as I mentioned, I've been battling the shoulds. And when days like this happen I have to fight to remind myself that I am in recovery and recovery is a road that needs to be taken one step at a time, with lots of grace for when my capacity for everything in general seems low...like scraping the bottom of the barrel low.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is....understanding is gold. When we can understand where our reactions, anxieties etc. come from, perhaps we'll be able to learn to have compassion and forgiveness for ourselves...which, like most things, expands to the other areas of our lives.