In the last few weeks I realized that I am very easily stressed out. While other students “take it easy” and don’t study till the last moment, I start studying the minute I hear about an upcoming test. Not only that, but no matter how much I study I feel like I’ve never studied enough. It doesn’t matter how many hours I’ve spent pouring over a certain amount of material – I still never feel confident in my knowledge and I always spend the last few hours before an exam a nervous wreck.
I recently found myself wondering – why do I care so much? Why can’t I just let go, do what I can and trust that it’ll be enough. Why can’t I enjoy life a little bit more, instead of always worrying about the next exam/test or quiz? Why do I make things so hard on myself?
The truth is very simple – aside from my fear or failure and perfectionist tendencies, I tend to let one aspect of my life define me. A long time ago it was my eating disorder. I was scared of letting go of it completely because somewhere deep down I felt like it was what defined me. It had become so much a part of my life that without it, I hardly knew who I was.
While letting go of my ED, I went through a stage looking for who I was. My obsession with food had taken over my life for so long that I had forgotten who I really was. So I began on a journey to rediscover and redefine myself.
I tried to be the typical “health food” blogger, but that didn’t work for me. Being obsessed with “healthy food” is still an obsession with food and it isn’t who I am right now. I tried finding a sport I was passionate about – but again this awakened old habits far too strongly for me feel comfortable with.
Then I started studying and found something I truly enjoyed. Granted, I don’t enjoy the stress that comes with it, but there are a lot of things I am genuinely interested in. More than that, I love knowing that I am accomplishing something worthwhile, that I’m on the way to realizing my dreams.
But what I fail to remember is that studying and being a student does not define me, just as recovering from an ED doesn’t define me. Neither does my interest in healthy living or exercise. All these parts of my life make up the sum total of who I am. I’m not just a student, or a (very sporadic) blogger, or a health enthusiast. I am also an older sister, a writer, a former dancer, a friend, a cook, a party planner. I can’t expect myself to be perfect in every aspect of my life. I need to remember that when I face (what I consider failure) in any one of these aspects. I don’t consider myself to be useless waste of space when I burn dinner, or can’t write an essay the way I’d like. Yet these feelings come when I don’t fulfill my expectation concerning my grades. Why? Because forget all that I am, what makes me truly special. I forget that my accomplishments don’t define me as person . And the people in my life that love me don’t love because of what I do, they love me because of who I am.
Any thoughts on the matter?