Have you been watching the new series of Sherlock on the BBC? Well I’ve got a case for you to investigate mystery lovers…
This is me: at 43, I’ve studied hard, I have been travelling, I’ve worked at some of the best places in my profession; I have been married, I’ve been divorced, I’ve done it alone, I’ve created a blended family a fantastic new partner; I’ve forged a great career (although its now taking a backseat while I do the whole primary school thing), I’ve owned my own business; am a mother and step mother, bought and sold houses, chose to change my life and drop 6 dress sizes and generally aim to embrace life and all it offers. I travel, love having new experiences, care deeply for those I love and am always the life and soul of any party.
But I am still wracked with that pointless emotion…self doubt.
Maybe you suffer from it too? Its definition is this –
SELF DOUBT [self-dout] noun
lack of confidence in the reliability of one’s own motives, personality, thought, etc.
It is a strange thing to be seen as so confident and bubbly by everybody, as they seem to think you are never not confident as if you are a non-stop fun machine. I myself am a person of extremes – put me in front of a crowd and ask me to perform and I am in my element, but looking at a person on Facebook who has ignored my friend request will reduce me into a state over-thinking.
“They must hate me” I think.
“Maybe I’ve done something to upset them?” I ponder.
Is it because I’m too loud / odd / fat / fit / obsessive / dreamy / pretty / ugly / bullish / fussy / common / snobby / ethnic / funny / miserable ? etc etc – delete as necessary.
I have always been a worrier. I will worry about anything and everything and again those niggling little thoughts can creep in – the ‘what ifs’… Suffering from any form of anxiety can be crippling at times but I believe telling people about it is half the battle, particularly if you’re good at hiding it. In my 30’s I suffered quite badly with anxiety and panic but ultimately I had to acknowledge that the only thing holding me back from living the life I wanted was me. It was a watershed moment and I changed my life – big time…but thats for another blog. I still get anxious about things of course but I do not and will not let it control me. (as an aside I’ve found regular exercise key in making this change to my mental health)
Being a mum can make self doubt rear its ugly head far too often too. “Am I doing the best I can?” I ask myself as I rush from work, via the school run to after-school swimming then rewarding my son with dinner out as a reward as he passes into the next swim group. Of course I am, but its easy to look at people around me particularly via the rose-tinted glasses of social media and think – “Wow they’ve got it all under control…activities every night after school and perfect children, maybe we should start violin lessons and I should stop letting the kids go on the computer so much”. However once you start comparing your life to others lives you will never stop…and probably total madness would follow!!! My mantra is now “I am doing the best I can and I am good enough.”
Ah social media. As someone who works in marketing and uses it everyday in my role, I can see the good it can create but I also think social media is a particular issue our parents did not have to deal with; whether its the Facebook show offs, the people trying to tell you how to parent or the general taboo of admiting that sometimes life and motherhood is really bloody hard, I’m learning to take it all with a pinch of salt and remember… however much it is presented as reality it is not actually real life!
I was recently picked for a fabulous opportunity – to film an advert for Garnier Olia hair dye and be the face of their Intense Red shade 6.60 for 2017. All the attention, praise and compliments was really quite humbling and its really nice to see yourself through other peoples eyes…in fact it is quite amazing. Not only was I feeling good about how I looked, I was suddenly being told how well I had done, how proud I should be of myself, and you know what, the more they said it the easier it was to feel it.
I compliment people all the time but find it hard sometimes to accept a compliment or praise graciously, as if I am embarassed by the fuss. I wonder why that is, why it feels like showing off when it is, in fact, just being proud? It is one of my proudest moments so far and has definitely helped me stop telling myself “you can do better!” quite so much!
Being in a TV advert definitely helps you get used to really focusing on how you look which is usually the time when that self doubt can creep back in for me. When you photograph yourself all the time for your blog it seems strange to say you suffer from worrying about how you look, after all how I look is a big part of the blog. It is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation as one of the reasons I started blogging was to help my self esteem and it has been very good at helping that – generally people are very kind and supportive and I have not come across many trolls. But do I look in the mirror and love what I see? Well lets just say I am working on it…
So what has this bubbly, mainly extravert; worrying, sometimes introvert actually learnt? I have realised I am far too hard on myself and really need to give myself a break – we all do. We were the generation that was told we could ‘have it all’, but that is pretty much impossible. We must make our choices and pick our battles and celebrate each success however small. It is ok to not get everything right, in fact to learn and develop it is a very necessary thing. The key for me is to keep trying, to never give up and to try and be the best version of me I can be.
So I continue on my lifes journey trying as best I can to banish this pointless, undermining emotion and remember the amazing journey I have taken to get here – to this exact point, with all its ups and downs, its failures but also its many successes – it is this exact journey that has made me, me!
I’m realising I am the only me I’m gonna get and you know what, I’m pretty damned good at all this life stuff.
I’m still wondering my that person on hasn’t accepted my Facebook friend request though…