For so many years I couldn’t be me, I wore a mask for every occasion... Mum mask, wife mas, different masks for different friends always trying to fit in I guess, I always admired people who had a take me as you find me attitude but it wasn’t me! I always felt I had to as good as you.... my general feelings towards myself were ones of disappointment, I also wanted all the good things in life but thought it was someone else’s job to provide them.
Will Smith has posted a beautiful message this week about being happy as yourself, not relying on others to make you happy (have a look on YouTube it’s fab) and this is so true, I think we all look to people, places and things to fix us, fill the hole in the soul or make us happy..... but the truth is happiness has to come from within, fulfilment has to come from ourselves and our own achievements will make us proud not others.
So how do we be ourselves? Well, just for me, I believe it becomes easier as we getolder, i’m definately less self conscious now I’m in my forties, but I still beat myself with a stick if I feel I’m not meeting my own self imposed standards! Another thing that helps me is honesty, with myself and others... and know your strengths! Today I know what I’m good at, I don’t rush around trying to be something I’m not.
An example, a group of my girlfriends went to a pottery course, years ago I would have gone, paid to join in, hated it as it’s not my thing and then wish I’d spent the money on something else!
Today I spend time with people who bring out the best in me, people who believe in me and I like to encourage people too, there is no better feeling than helping someone to feel confident and loved. I believe we are so much better at seeing good in others than ourselves. I had an amazing childhood but the general feeling was that I wasn’t academic and that my brother was, this was ok, it wasn’t a bad thing but I think what we tell children is what they become. During my years of alcoholism I was treated as a troublesome child ( as I should have been, I behaved like one!) this compounded my feelings of inadequacy. Now I know I was unwell, I was suffering from a disease but it takes time for people to forget, forgive yes, but not forget.
I’m at a time in my life where my children are a bit older and I want to prove something to myself, no one else, just me, I want to achieve something for me... and I’m working towards that in lots of ways. Career, motherhood and working my recovery. I want to be a good role model especially to my daughter, so she knows girls can kick ass too ;)
I believe it is so important to spend what little time I have to myself in a positive way, a lot of my time is spent mothering of course and I wouldn’t change that for the world. But where I used to agree to nights out I didn’t want to go on for fear of missing out (FOMO) I believe they call it now! And events I thought I should be at I now choose my own experiences things that make me happy, fulfill me and don’t put me in danger. I’m lucky to have a lot of beautiful friends and I love spending time with them but we all need quiet time, time to reflect and really think about what you want in life. I know I always bang on about this but meditation really helps with this, as does exercise and yoga.... but that’s another blog haha.
What I’ve learnt is people who love you will love you for who you are warts and all, and if they don’t then that’s ok, we can’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But authenticity is the key to having real connections with others and they in turn will be true with you. Friends and relationships of all kinds need nurturing and you can’t do that if your pretending to be something your not. For years I tried to be everything to everybody.... the best mum (think Anabel Kareem!) the best friend, so if you partied I partied if you did yoga I did yoga, if you studied I was clever.... now I’m me and me is who I’m happy to be.. well on a good day ;)
So here’s my tips on breaking free of the masks...
Be yourself, it’s ok to just be you
dont people please
be kind but not always at the expense of your own happiness
surround yourself with folk who love you as you are
be true to yourself
be as honest as you can without hurting others
help others, good things come back to you if you have no expectations
take time to discover what you need to make yourself happy
find this happiness from within don’t look outwards
We have a saying in the fellowship ‘it’s an inside job’ and it’s so true.
Sending love and hugs