WE all have those little pesky demons inside us, running amok.
Even the most confident and self assured of us. Proof if ever you need it, that we’re all human and all sailing this rocky boat of life as best we can.
My thirties (I’m currently 36) have been a real learning curve for me, in so many different ways. It’s been quite a decade to date! So far I’ve taken the big leap into freelancing, started this blog, become a mum for the first time, suffered a few personal setbacks and an odd scary health thing too.
As life goes, it’s been at times, both magnificent and miserable.
But what has struck me the most recently ( I kind of instagramed this on Friday) is how much I’ve changed as a person. Do you ever look back and see an old photo of yourself and think, “my goodness, who the hell is she?!”
Well that’s kind of how I’ve been feeling about things recently when I’ve thought back to where I was six, five or even just two years ago.
I’ve changed and the best way I can describe it, is that I now know my weaknesses better than before. Or to put it more precisely, I now know my demons.
Here are the five things that hold me back in life the most, if I allow them to. Who knows, perhaps they are the same for you?
Ah the pressure to be perfect. We all feel this one right? Especially as women. The pressure to be the perfect wife, mother, daughter, friend, career person, go getter, human being etc (feel free to insert you own particular pressure role here.)
It never ends does it? We need to look perfect, act perfectly and live a perfect, cookie cutter life.
Yet we know this is bullshit, don’t we? Deep down, we all know that it’s impossible but yet we still fall for the lies and the pressure and the marketing that is aimed at us.
Like most of us, I’m no stranger to wanting to be ‘perfect’ but one thing I’ve learned is that being anti-perfection is much more appealing. And nowhere have I found this out better than through this very blog.
Because whenever I reach out with some ugly truth or share some really-not-so-perfect story of my life, the result is always the same.
People reach out. They thank me for sharing the not so glossy bits. Mostly people empathise whilst occasionally, some will even dig deep to share their own ‘imperfect’ tales.
It never, ever fails to astonish me that even though we may personally desire perfection, the rest of the human race craves for us to be our most honest, authentic selves.
We all compare ourselves with others, it’s human nature. But somewhere along the line, if we’re not careful, it can become very damaging to our fragile self esteem.
In the days of social media, it is now easier than ever before to look at other people’s lives and envy them or worse still, to feel rubbish about own own in comparison.
We look at their glossy photos on Instagram and wish we could be like them. We read their Facebook updates with a mixture of fascination and hatred. We see people seemingly living or achieving the most incredible lives and it can hurt. Like really hurt if we’re not careful.
But if there’s one thing being a blogger has taught me, it is this. If I continually compare myself or my life or even my blog to others, I will fail.
Looking at other people’s lives is fine. It can be inspiring, fascinating and motivating even. But focusing too much on others is not. My primary focus should always remain on me. On my life, my world and my blog.
Because as soon as I start to play the compare game, I’m out of my own and standing in a place where I really don’t want to be.
What if someone doesn’t like me? What if it all goes wrong? What if I make an utter fool of myself?
I worry all of the time. Every day, on and off I reckon. Some days are better than others but the worry? Well it’s always there.
In his incredible book Linchpin, the wise and wonderful marketing guru Seth Godin calls this your ‘lizard brain’ (see my vlog about how his book changed my life!) and explains how it’s part of an inbuilt mechanism in us designed to protect us from imminent danger, yet often prevents us from truly living or being our best selves.
I think I’ll always be a worrier by nature but the older I get, the better I’m getting at turning down the niggling voices in my head or tuning them out altogether.
Now whenever I hear the worry voice pipe up, I like to switch things round and ask…what’s the worst that can happen if such a body doesn’t like me? etc
(And nine times out of ten it does the trick.)
Everyone suffers from self doubt at some point, apart from maybe Donald Trump and let’s face it, who wants to be like him?!
We all worry (see it’s here again) if we’re good enough, don’t we?
Self doubt kills so many dreams before they’ve even begun to come to fruition. It stops people dead in their tracks, asking them: “who the hell do you think you are?!”
Oprah Winfrey says that from all of her interviews – from ‘ordinary’ people to celebrities – the one question she is forever asked by an interviewee is this: “was that OK? Was I good enough?”
I refuse to let self doubt strangle my future. I ignore it, wrestle with it, fight it with all that I’ve got and embrace my fears whenever I can.
Believing in yourself is so hard to do. But it’s absolutely necessary.
Should I? Shouldn’t I? Should I? Shouldn’t I?
There have been many times in my life when I’ve spent more time thinking about doing something than actually doing it. Argh!
As a blogger, I could spend hours procrastinating about something, if I allowed myself to. Is this post good enough to publish? Should I write about x, y or z. What about vlogging, shall I record this again etc? And on it goes.
But what I’ve come to realise now, is this. Every time I procrastinate, I am losing out. I’m not achieving because I’m ‘too busy’ allowing worry or self doubt or laziness to win.
Want to achieve more? Want to change your life?
Then stop thinking so much and start doing. It is, as I’ve learned and am continually learning, the only way.