Last night, an old thought pattern I’d thought had long gone dormant was triggered by an innocuous little post on Instagram. The person posting was joyfully sharing a success, which is of course a totally normal and completely acceptable thing to do on social media. Yet something about seeing this particular post just before I went to bed sent me into a tailspin. (As if I needed any more reminders that I shouldn’t be looking at my phone right before I go to bed!)
In this case the post was about weight loss – both the results and the story behind them. There was no reason for this to affect me. It had nothing to do with me. But it got under my skin and before I could stop myself I was googling the diet she’d adopted and researching associated cookbooks on Amazon and mentally reviewing the results from the last time I’d weighed myself. I reflexively shifted into “FIX SOMETHING” mode the moment I saw that post.
It was an ugly and competitive reaction and it left me feeling small and broken and anxious, which is exactly the opposite of how I want to feel. And yes, I know better. But it still happened.
I wrestled with the ugly voice in my head until I fell asleep. And this morning, I woke up early and went for a run and reminded myself of things I know to be true, none of which require me to change a darn about the way I eat. By the time I got into the shower, I was feeling like myself again, but it wouldn’t always have been so easy. This FIX SOMETHNING programming runs deep in my brain and for many years if I’d been triggered like that I would have stayed under for weeks or months, ruminating and fixing, feeling like garbage.
Someone’s weight loss story may not be a trigger for you. But what about that friend’s new house? Or the super cute DIY projects your neighbor seems to be doing with her kids every day this summer? Or the vacation your sister is taking in Italy? Or the gorgeous flowers growing in the yard of that house you run by every morning?
Does hearing about these things push the “FIX SOMETHING” button in you? Does the very sight of them on Facebook or Instagram start that tape in your head that tells you there is something wrong with you? That you need to get it together?
Let me remind you today that you, my friend, are not broken.
You don’t need fixing. You are You, in all your glorious imperfection. And I am Me.
Our imperfection is just perfect.
Listen, if you’re in a dead sprint to change a behavior that you know for sure is holding you back from the life you want, then that’s another thing altogether. That’s healthy self-improvement at it’s best. But a predilection for “fixing” yourself? That must be called out for what it is. It’s an unhealthy addiction and it just has to stop.
The next time that voice in your head starts sending you rapid-fire messages of just how much you need fixing, gently remind it to quiet down.
You’re not broken. You’re imperfectly perfect. Just like the rest of us.
Questions: Do you have a voice in your head that tells you to FIX SOMETHING? Is there a pattern to what it wants you to fix? Can you gently reassure the voice that you are not broken and ask it to quiet down? What would change for you if you could train that voice to leave you alone?