If you’re anything like me, patience does not come easy. I’ve always been a very impatient person. I want results now. My skin starts to crawl when forced to wait. I cannot stand procrastinating or taking my time.
Sit down and have a meal with me and you’ll see just how fast I like to move. Matt will oftentimes be a few bites into his dinner and I’ve already cleared my plate. My mind usually moves as fast as a mouth.
Then along comes recovery. Unlike a broken bone, you can’t count down the days to get your cast taken off. It’s not like a cold that will ease in 7-10 days. Recovery from any mental illness is a process and a damn long one at that!
I could say I don’t have a choice but I do. I can continue my impatient ways and remain hostage to my eating disorder, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder or I can choose to embrace patience and accept that recovery is a process.
I’ve chosen the latter. This means I have to understand there will be good days to celebrate and challenging days to grow from. It also means I will be uncomfortable at times and will sometimes fail.
This leads me to the other dirty p-word, perfection.
We’ve already established I tend to be impatient, well toss in my need for perfection and we’ve got ourselves a recipe for disaster.
In recovery, I’m accepting that I don’t have to try to be perfect. In fact, I now know perfection is a mirage. It’s okay to try new things and fail as long as I earn and grow from those failures. Don’t run from or try to mask them.
I started giggling to myself earlier this week while staring at our Christmas tree. I would usually rearrange ornaments for hours to make sure everything looked “perfect”. I’d go for a theme and put the ornaments I deemed ugly closer to the back of the tree. Well this year, Matt purchased a fuzzy pegasus/unicorn-looking ornament and placed it front and center. In years past, I’d be moving that sucker immediately or constantly staring at it with anxiety bubbling up inside. But not this year, I left the ornament right where he hung it. Rather than stress about throwing off my “perfect” tree, that ornament has become a tangible reminder of how far I’ve come in the last 18 months.
Recovery requires patience and it also requires letting go of perfection. This can make me uneasy at times, but like I always say, my eating disorder thrived in my comfort zone but now that I’ve stepped out, I’m the one who is starting to thrive!