Last week my psychiatrist challenged me to be more aware of when I negatively judge myself. I guess I should say, be aware period, not be more aware, because honestly I hardly know when I am doing it.
I think at times I do know, when it is really obvious, like when I look at my face in the mirror and think, “You look so old,” or when I catch myself in the mirror coming out of the shower and think, “Fatness!” But for the most part it happens so subtly that it doesn’t even register as negative judging.
For example, I rush around the house to get the chores done because I don’t want my husband to do any of them (because he will if they are left undone for things like the dishes and laundry) because I feel guilty about not being able to work outside the home due to my mental illnesses, so I try to make up for it by doing everything inside the house. My unconscious negative judgement is: I’m a terrible wife for not having a paying job.
I really had to analyze my motives for why I was doing what I was doing to get to that root negative judgement that’s been driving my frantic house chore efforts all of this time.
I’ve really combatted this judgement for the past four or five days and guess what? My house is a mess! Oh, things are getting done, but not in record speed like they used to. I do the dishes when I feel like it, not when I think I have to in order to beat him to it. If he happens to do them first then that is fine. I will not feel guilty over it, especially when he doesn’t even mind doing them. (It was always all me, making myself crazy for nothing.)
Laundry is getting finished a little later in the day and that is ok, too. I even left the last load in the dryer for a day or two before putting it away and the world didn’t end!
My cleanliness isn’t all due to thinking I’m a bad wife for not being able to work outside the home, however. It also has to do with me being a germaphobe and having a tiny aversion to clutter. I’m trying to think if there are any negative judgements associated with those things and I don’t believe there are except when it comes to having company over. When that happens then my house must be spotless, because if it is not, I will judge myself as lazy or messy or gross. Or is it that I am afraid that is what others will judge me as? Probably both.
I do worry way too much about what other people think about me. I even worry about what other people think about those who are close to me, such as my children and parents, like somehow who they are and what they do is a direct reflection of my character. Crazy, right? I have a lot of work to do.