The tests we pass.

It's been kind of crazy round these parts lately. Hence forgetting that it was Wednesday and that a blog post was in order. Luckily, I've had something I've been wanting to share.

Jen and I went for collective solitude the other day. It's where you go together to a coffee shop or wherever you like to get work done and you get your work done separately, but because you're together, there's someone to bounce ideas off or to encourage you or to make you laugh. But since we hadn't seen each other for a while, there was a bit more collective and a little less solitude. Not that I mind, of course.

We got to talking and I told her about this little incident from a few weeks back. I had an appointment the next day and at about oh midnight I realized I didn't know what time that appointment was. I spent around an hour frantically searching for this little paper that had the time written on it.

I realized later that I had become so fixated on that little paper because it became about so much more than finding out what time my appointment was. It started to be about proving to myself that I am not disorganized.  So I searched and searched, hoping I had put it in some clever "safe place". And only when I found it would I have been saved from my own disorganized label.

Maybe it's only me that thinks this way, but I kind of doubt it. Probably a lot of other women feel like this, too. Like every day and every little tiny task is a test of who we are. Am I organized or disorganized? Do I have it together or am I falling apart? And when we do something that could be characterized as a negative, we start to believe that that is exactly who we are, regardless of all of the positive things we have done. It doesn't matter that I have been incredibly organized this year at my work. In that moment, the only indication of who I truly am is that I have lost that appointment slip, making me completely disorganized.

Because the tests we pass never carry nearly as much weight as the ones we fail.

Jen told me that someone had told her once that we tend to think of ourselves in character traits rather than states, when it really ought to be the other way around. So in my disorganized moment, rather than telling myself, "I am disorganized right now," I was thinking, "I am such a disorganized person."

Learning to see myself as dynamic and always changing and hopefully growing would allow me to let go of those smaller failures. Of the times that I was disorganized or when my apartment was messy or when I forgot that it was Wednesday and should have had a post done. And to recognize that not every moment is a test of who I am and who I will forever be.

I have to start thinking in spectrums. Yes, I may be on the more disorganized end of the spectrum but I am growing and changing. In the past few years, I have made huge leaps and found strategies that really work for me. And losing one piece of paper does not negate those years of positive strides.

And I have to start treating myself in the same way I would treat a friend: with a bit of grace.

(And I never did find that piece of paper. I went to bed completely defeated and feeling like a disorganized failure. The next day, I woke up and called the office to find out when my appointment was. And nobody cared that I called to find out.)

Tell me, friends. Is this something you think about? Are you always trying to prove to yourself that you're not _________?

1 comment:

  1. I think about this stuff all the time. I don't know if "disorganized" is the word that I fear most but it's along those lines. I fear that I will always be running late and forgetting things because it happens to me so often. I'm a thoughtful person but I am sooo scatterbrained. I always feel like people view me as inconsiderate and then I feel guilty.
    It's a cycle too, I start to stress about fixing it and that distracts me from the actual issue, lol. Just as I'm sure that frantically searching for something while stressing is counterproductive and full of distraction.


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