Working Back From Discouragement – Perfectionism, Limitations

In early May, I posted how I was dealing with a major case of discouragement about most everything in my life.

Ya’ll gave me some great comments, which I copied into my notebook and added more of my own.  I’m still working through execution on them, but here’s what you told me and where I’m at for now.  In this post and the next three, I’ll be responding to your wonderful comments and clarifying for myself the changes I have or need to be making.

Don’t have such high expectations and be so perfectionistic.  Gretchen Rubin says this all the time – don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.  It’s easy to have high expectations when I’m rested and happy, but it does me no good.  I can get a lot more done and enjoy it more if I lower my bar.  It doesn’t help that I’m naturally that way and I work in a field that expects perfect.

As I mulled this one over, I realized that I also wasn’t laughing enough.  I’ve been way too serious about too many things, including my blog.  When I catch myself doing it, I try to relax my frowny face into something more light hearted and to remind myself that it’s okay to laugh and have a sense of humor.

No one can do everything, and certainly not all of the time. Thank you Kitty.  You’ve told me that before (as has Patti, Kate, Christine, Beth and others) and I keep forgetting it.  That’s part of why I made a list from your comments and I keep looking it over.  As much as I may think I want to do something, there are limitations to my time and energy.

I’d written over at A Daily Life about making time to do anything in life.  I described how I gave up my personal journals and reading to blog.  One of the big challenges recently is that I no longer want to give those things up, especially the reading.  The weather has been so nice up until a few days ago and one of my pleasures is to sit on the deck after work and read well past sunset.  So I’ve been doing it.  But by the time I come in, it’s late and I’m too tired to want to write.  Now that it’s gotten so hot and humid, I feel like doing a whole lot more things inside.

Having contradictory goals is not helping this either, something I’d commented on in January.  This issue has intensified as I’ve been working on my diet and exercise, wandering on the weekends with my favorite boy toy, and tackling projects such as my garden and the essay class I took earlier this year.  I keep reminding myself that I can’t do it all and that’s okay too.

This is getting long enough.  My next post will share my thoughts on experimenting as well as the impact my job has on my blog.

The sunflowers in my garden are finally blooming.  I deliberately choose plants that are loaded with pollen to help attract bees, which must be working as my watermelon vines are full of baby watermelons.  I’ve used part of the picture below as my new header this month.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Discouragement Life Lessons

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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

18 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I think figuring out why you have a goal is a great step in determining what your priorities are. As much as I love blogging and photography, I have other higher priorities that come first. Eating healthy and exercising are a good priority and need to come before a lot of other things. So are quality relationships with our family and friends.

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m not commenting as regularly either. I know everyone loves it when the beagle picture shows up, but there’s simply not enough hours in the day. I wish there was – I have some really great relationships because of blogging (such as yourself) and those relationships need tending also.

    Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you’re at least reading and keeping up with me, as I am with you too.

  2. Nancy~you are so right. often times our goals and wishes are at odds with each other. What i have been doing is trying to figure out WHY i have various goals. this is helping me determine what need i am trying to address or fill—or what speed bump or sorrow i have been trying to avoid — or… well you get the idea. sorry to be so late to comment… goals of commenting regularly are NOT being met—but my healthy eating and exercising goals are being met…hopefully i will be able to mesh the two!

  3. First things first: Your photo is gorgeous and your crop for the header ~ perfect!

    Nancy, All I can say is, “You too?” I find that my perfectionism desire is so strong that it causes me not to try, or I try and then set it aside and dream of making it perfect. My other sickness is not allowing myself to do the fun stuff because “I really should be doing something important around here.” Like housework, and laundry. Hence, the battle in my head rages and nothing gets done.

    I also think that it is a symptom, for myself at least, because I want to get so many projects done and there is no money to pay for them.

    I feel like I am in a whirlpool and lack the strength to fight my way to the surface sometimes.
    ~ Lynda

    PS: I probably shouldn’t post this here, but I thought you, if anyone, might understand, and I wonder… how many more of us are feeling this way of late?

    • I’m glad you liked the new header!

      I think your analogy of being in a whirlpool and not caring if I get back to the surface. It’s been a really dreary day in and day out on some days, although thankfully not every day. I’m not really enthused with what I’m doing at work right now isn’t helping either. Your comment about lack of money is a definite joy suck too.

      Kathleen Norris has a great book on acedia, which is defined as a state of listlessness or torpor (from Wikipedia). If you Google for Kathleen, there are a number of interviews with her. I liked this one:,0,5579909.story

      Not every day is a bad day, but I’m finding it hard to stay encouraged more than I should. It seems like a number of people are struggling with this right now. It’s hard not to with how busy we all are and how frustrating it is to even get simple things done.


      • Nancy,
        You, via Kathleen Norris, have found my pain and given it a name. Acidia. I will search the library tomorrow to see if this book is available. If not, I will get it from Amazon.
        Thank you,
        ~ L

        • Lynda – the spelling is “acedia”. You’ll find much more information with that :)

          Kathleen Norris is a great writer – one of the few who writes about applying her faith to her real life. Many Christian writers take the easy way out of just reciting a bunch of Bible verses but not how they did it and possibly failed; i.e. long on theory but short on execution.

  4. Lovely sunflower! It has been terribly hot, yes, staying indoors here as well–for the most part. It’s good to see a post from you! :)

    • Thanks Patti! I don’t want to stop the blog and wish I had more time to do it. But wow, the weather has been nasty. I thought the weather would be better by the ocean, but we were in Kilmarnock and Gloucester last weekend and it was just as bad.

  5. I imagine the heat down your way must be something. Enjoying the fact the weather up here is down in the 70s for a few days. I may even clean up my screen porch so the cats can go out to play. My blog entries are fewer and shorter lately so I too am finding other things I wan to put higher on the priority list. The diet and exercise takes time and effort — you are not alone on having to deal with that. The world will keep turning no matter how many things we do not get done today or this week. Keep enjoying the weekend wanderings and reading on the deck.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. As much as I enjoy my blog, I’m really enjoying doing other things too. I really appreciate your comment – thanks for taking time to write it out.

  6. Always appreciate your sharing. I think we all struggle with these issues to some degree. Remember it’s about progress not perfection.

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