This is something I’ve been working on lately, and it’s helped a lot.
Mind you, I’m not leaving the house any earlier than I ever have. And I’m still getting to the first targeted location of my day (e.g., work, my son’s school, a dental appointment, whatever) almost right on the dot. (I could definitely write a blog entry about all the machinations and skills — conscious and unconscious — that go into that kind of pin-point timing.)
Of course, with that kind of razor-edge timing, sometimes I screw up. Sometimes I’m late. And I hate to be late. So there have been many mornings where I’ve been in an oh-so-familiar turmoil of anxious thoughts — when I’ve cut it too close and I’m on my way to a destination where I may be (or am definitely going to be) late.
Here’s a sample of what it can be like To Be Me when I’m running late:
Why didn’t I leave earlier? Why didn’t I set my alarm earlier? Why did I get so caught up in (writing my blog, coming up with ideas for groups, reading my e-mail, whatever)? Why did I take such a long shower? Why didn’t I nag (anybody else involved in my leaving the house) more skillfully? Why didn’t I watch the clock more closely?
Also, I can easily and smoothly shift into another Gear of Despair, from freaking out about past stuff I can’t change to catastrophizing about the future, which is usually some variant of the following:
Everybody is going to hate me for being late.
And another gear in this lovely torture machine involves shaming myself, which would involve words to this effect:
When will I ever learn? What’s the matter with me?
I’ve been working hard on letting go of thoughts like that. And one thing that’s been helping is the title topic of this blog.
I’m leaving the house before I feel ready.
And I’m going to characterize that as an act of bravery. It’s brave to leave the house before I feel ready, since the morning preparations always include an Appearance Enhancement portion, which can easily expand to the limits of (and beyond) the available time. Getting dressed is mandatory, but there’s a lot of optional decision-making about What To Wear and How Good I Have to Look before I leave. And I’ve got a history of having lots of judgmental thoughts during this process, including my particularly annoying tendency of projecting judgment about how I look and how I’m dressed onto people I may encounter during the day.
(I’m not going to write more about that now, because I don’t want to waste any more time doing that, EVER, even for the purposes of writing this blog.)
For the past month or so, as I’m getting ready every morning, I dismiss every judgmental or worried thought that comes up about whether I’m Put Together Enough. I don’t have time for them! I even head off worries about any unobserved present or potential Shaming Wardrobe Malfunctions (e.g., inside-out clothes, price tags still attached, unobserved rips) with some What-The-Hell thoughts:
The people I see today will just have to deal with how I look, no matter what! And if they’re going to judge me on that only, screw them!
Boy, that was fun to write.
And the mornings have been much more fun (and a lot less stressful).
So now, dear reader, I’m going to post this blog before I feel ready, too.