Sunday, May 3, 2009

Be Careful!

I recently realized that everytime I hear the phrase "be careful", I both get extremely anxious and a little be upset.  The anxious is because I am always as careful as possible.  It seems I have spent my whole life being careful to the exclusion of feeling free and myself a lot of the time.  The upset is because if I am being as careful as I can be and then something still goes wrong, it is obviously just because I am flawed.  Also, if a loved one is saying it, I think that they don't really know me.  They don't understand just *how* careful I am being all of the time.

In other words, I am coming to see that in many situations, the seemingly harmless and even lovingly meant phrase "be careful" can be a stepping stone to perfectionism and pathological anxiety.  A few days after that realization, I heard myself telling my daughter JoAnn, who struggles with perfectionism and anxiety, to be careful.  She was being careful!  JoAnn is always careful!  She does her best.  And as I said the phrase, I saw a cringe most across her features.  She was feeling the same way I feel!

In the future, I am going to be more careful with my use of that phrase.


Dorothy said...

Isn't it amazing how the things we say can affect our lives and others we love around us. Thanks for visiting our blog

Dorothy from grammology

Kali said...

This makes me think, seriously think. Thank you!