June 9, 2011 § 6 Comments
When I’m excited about something, truly excited, I tend to not allow myself to enjoy it. I’m superstitious, you see. I’m afraid of jinxing my source of excitement.
Take graduation for instance. If I get too excited about it, then I might do something to screw it up. How can I know for sure that I’ll graduate when I haven’t graduated yet? How will I know that it will absolutely happen without the power of clairvoyance to tell me so? How can I rest easy when something that I want so terribly bad hasn’t happened yet and still might not?
The trouble with this line of thinking is that it can lead to self-sabotage. If I’m scared I might not graduate, then I might actually sabotage myself so that I don’t. I really struggle with feeling excited when so much hinges on a single factor.
But here’s what I’ve finally landed on.
If I don’t graduate in August, I will be sad and disappointed.
I will be sad and disappointed if I don’t graduate and was excited throughout this summer.
I will be sad and disappointed if I don’t graduate and wasn’t excited throughout this summer.
So if the outcome is the same, then maybe I should just let myself feel excited, right?
I just wish it were that easy. I told my mom that I needed to feel more excitement from everyone about graduation. Up to that point, I had been hearing from many people “if you graduate in August” and “maybe we should push graduation to December” and that sort of thing. It was disheartening…as though I wasn’t getting encouraged to try to graduate in August. But as soon as I told my mom what I needed, she responded in kind! Invitations have been ordered and will be delivered soon. People have made travel arrangements. Hotels have been booked. Restaurant reservations have been made.
And now I’m freaking out.
What if I don’t graduate? What if everyone has made all these plans and I just screw them all up?
The biggest question, of course, is why am I like this? Followed swiftly by “how do I change it?” I want to enjoy this process. I want to feel happy and confident and excited. I don’t want to be on the other side of graduation and look back at these past six months with regret that I didn’t have more confidence in myself.
Rest assured, though, that I will likely not rest assured until the degree is in my hand. And even then….
Okay, Amanda, I know how you feel! However, the plans are, maybe, a kind of insurance policy that you do finish, that you do graduate in August! You must know that on some level–your excitement is growing and you want to let it spill out for others to enjoy with you.
Maybe now you should try to determine what this self-sabotage might look like so Robert can help you interupt that process should you accidentally do that. I don’t know if this makes sense.
I, for one, am cheering you on!
That’s a great strategy, Kathy. I think it’s time to self-reflect and try to cut this thing off at the head. Thank you for the insight! 🙂
I truly hope that you will be able to feel some (real) excitement about your graduation, albeit with a good measure of nervousness. I don’t think there’s a way to rid yourself of some nerves. But definitely work on patting yourself on the back more! 🙂
I find this post endearing because it shows how much Mom understands about your personality. We all love you so much and are very proud of you. But Mom knew that if she started off talking about invitations, people making traveling arrangements, etc, that you would get very nervous and/or feel pressured. She told me that she did not want to make you feel pushed and under a lot of stress. And it’s so right — when you tell her what you need emotionally, she really goes the extra mile to show us she cares.
I think it was her way of doing everything she can to avoid emotional sabotage (making you even more freaked out than you already have been).
It’s scary how well she knows us! I see some of the same patterns in our own relationship.
Our stress in the process of earning doctorates must be palpable!
I’m proud of you, sisturr 😀
And I am confident that you will graduate in August (like, bet all my money on it in a Vegas casino type confident).
But also just know that I would not be disappointed in you if it were in a different month and on a different day. It’s our way as a family of letting you know we have your back all the time, no matter what.
Sisturr…thank you. You can’t imagine just how helpful your comment was to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 🙂 Love you!!
I totally get it. Right there with ya.
Thanks, V. We’ll make it. And we’ll get the chance to be excited. I’m sure we will. (It’s easier to feel excited since there are others who are excited for us, too, right? :))