Everyone is looking for acceptance of their identity. When they look at the latest celebrity fashions, their successful boss or a room full of partygoers, everyone is looking for someone or something to identify with. It’s ok to have aspirations and it’s healthy to dream, but it’s more important to live the life you want, not what you think others want you to do. We all want to feel like we belong in the society we live in and the added pressures of social media can make it even more daunting to be different.
As a child, I felt that my parents had a set ‘route’ they wanted me to take. I knew their expectations and when I chose a different path I did, and still do, feel like I failed. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of some of my achievements, mainly my children, but I have always found it hard to accept that some of my decisions would not have been the same routes others would have taken. I used to fear people not ‘liking’ me and envy women who had large groups of friends surrounding them. I felt like I was losing out on the variety of friends some women were blessed with. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, I’ve learned that fewer, closer friends are just as good and in fact are perfect for me.
Living in fear of what others may think isn’t a good way to live. Every time I made a decision, from what clothes to buy to what coffee to order, I used to wonder what those around me would think. “Is my boss going to think I am silly for ordering tea in a coffee shop?”, “will my friend think I’m lazy if I put on trainers to go clothes shopping?” – it really isn’t fun. Now, with a lot of self-evaluating, I am learning to do what I want more and to stop living in fear of what others might think.
Berating myself was and is another of my downfalls, if I make a mistake I can spend hours, even days being annoyed and blaming it on me, being me. I am trying to be kinder to myself, everyone makes mistakes right? I’ve always been a little weird; I have an odd sense of humour that lots of people just don’t get. I get itchy feet and don’t like not having something to do, I have to be busy constantly and this annoys people. I am still learning, everyday is a learning curve but slowly I am beginning to accept my weirdness as quirkiness and that being different doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. I’m now surrounding myself with people who matter and don’t judge me, while distancing myself from those that do.
Just make sure that you appreciate YOU. It has taken me a long time, and me becoming a parent, to make me realise that I don’t want my children to feel this way so I need to stop the cycle.
“Embrace the glorious mess that you are” – Elizabeth Gilbert.