Hold it in to be good enough.  Be real and be good enough.

LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF IS THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF ALL

I want to tell you about myself. I have a lovely house, a wonderful husband who is an amazing cook, he is fun, he is my best friend and an amazing Father. We have two fabulous children, a girl and a boy, and two gorgeous dogs. I am finally doing the job that I’ve always dreamt of. I help people to exercise to music no matter who they are or what their ability is. I love to bring people together, to help them to feel good about themselves. I love people; I have some incredibly special friends. These are facts about me.

I am popular, I am funny, I look good and I am always happy, caring, and cheerful. I am a good friend, listener and counsellor. I am fit and strong. I manage my Diabetes well and I am proud to show off my legs despite their appearance. I am motivating and inspirational. My life is perfect….WAIT!!! This is the ‘perceived’ version of me.

The reality is; I don’t cope with life very well. I have cellulite, lots of it. I am not thin, I don’t have the perfect body. I eat crap, drink alcohol and am a Fitness Instructor? how shameful is that? I am probably too old to be doing this, I am a joke! I bully myself constantly. My legs are unsightly with NLD, a complication of my Diabetes, this shows my poor Diabetic control. It shows I fail every day. How can I help others when I can’t help myself?  I am useless. My poor Diabetic control is going to kill me; people will say it’s my own fault, I brought it on myself. I am a bad example. What an embarrassment. Over the years I’ve let my family down. How can I look after others, when I can’t look after myself? There are days when I wonder if I can carry on. Every day is a constant struggle mentally riddled with anxiety, a constant mental battering and self-destruction and over the years terrible bouts of depression. I am selfish, overly temperamental, a terrible wife, sister, mother, friend. I am a complete waste of time.

This shows the different ‘me’s’.  The me that people see, the ‘perceived’ me, and the me that I have been and could still be had I not realised certain things. The journey I have been on to recognise this has been hard, long and is ongoing.

I found myself in a situation a few years ago that started me on a journey of realisation. I had three close friends; we met when our children were little. Over the years we were separated by distance, so we met once or twice a year usually for an overnight sleep-over at one of their houses.

On this particular occasion, we were meeting at a pub. To get to the pub I had to travel on a motorway. I have a phobia of driving on motorways, but they said they wanted to discuss something important, so I was determined to get there. I arrived shaky but in one piece. We ordered drinks and sat down. Almost instantly the mood changed.

The last overnight sleep-over we had arranged, I had to pull out of last minute on the actual day. I had contacted them to apologise and explain. I had realised that it was my husband’s 40th Birthday that same weekend and I had completely forgotten to cancel with them sooner. I told them to go ahead without me, there was nothing I could do. Those that know me know I am scatty and disorganised. I have an inability to keep a diary and I lead a hectic life mentally and physically. I can be hopeless at keeping in touch and returning messages. This is me.

One friend started to ask for an explanation, why I had let them down last minute? I reiterated what I had already told them when I cancelled. I explained I had been overwhelmed with medical appointments and I know this wasn’t an excuse but I’d been struggling, I was sorry but I couldn’t help it.

One of the friends was particularly harsh but what stuck in my mind was the sarcastic “oh life must be so hard for you when you’ve got a husband”. She was previously divorced and had other relationships since then but presently was on her own. The other friends just sat there and watched as she laid into me, she was harsh and bitter.  I also remember her saying “it’s ok for you…” there was no excuse, other people had much more to deal with.

I could do no more than get up and leave with tears streaming down my face. I drove home in a blur, in absolute bits. I felt so misunderstood. I went into a spiral of turmoil for a long time after this. I blamed myself, not only had I lost three friends but ‘I hadn’t been good enough’, I had let them down.

This all led me to recognise something in myself. I realised that I had some deep issues with anxiety and low self-esteem; I only ever wanted to be ‘good enough’, to do a good job for everyone and to be approved of by everyone.  Not only could I not say “no” to anyone, I would offer myself out willy nilly, overwhelming my already overwhelmed self. I always feared disapproval and abandonment.

I worry obsessively and struggle with internal thoughts. They constantly fill my head with questions and doubt, for example after a conversation, ‘Was my tone of voice ok?’ ‘What should I have said?’ ‘Did I say the right thing?’ Whatever I do next I can’t focus on because my head is already too busy contemplating whether the last thing was ok. The cycle then continues; ‘Did I ignore them’ ‘Did I seem vacant?’ ‘Do they think I am rude?’ ‘I didn’t listen’, ‘I’ve let them down?’. This is constant. Mentally busy! Imagine what the journey on the motorway was like in my head – sheesh what a battering!

I am not writing this as a self-pitying story. I am writing this because I want to share a technique I have discovered that helps to diffuse an internal bullying and busy mental battering, which is self-harming, exhausting and leads to self-destruction. It feeds the negative loop of low self-esteem and drives anxiety. It’s a trap. The ‘not good enough’ trap.  Who says what is good enough?  Only we do.

When we judge others, it doesn’t make THEM feel bad, it only makes US feel bad, we aren’t judging them at all, we are judging ourselves.  We are setting the bar, our expectations of ourselves based on what we perceive others expect.  We set rules to protect ourselves. OCD type behaviour.

So, we need to observe what WE are saying to ourselves. Forget what everyone else thinks, or what bar they set themselves, or their expectations and let’s look at our own expectations and our own bar that are preventing us from being ‘good enough’ in our own eyes.

It is what WE say to ourselves that matters and it has the power to completely change our perspective which can totally change how we feel about ourselves.  To do this, in order to make changes, we need to observe ourselves from our higher self.  I imagine a little me sitting on my own head, watching what I am saying, doing, feeling. Just observing.  Go on, give it a go, it is really interesting. Watch how you argue with yourself. What are you saying? How are you making yourself feel by what YOU are saying to yourself? What are your expectations of yourself?  Listen to yourself, you’ll hear it!  Can you hear yourself?  You can do this anywhere, anytime. Just observe until you get the hang of it.

The next phase is to make this little ‘you’ your absolute BEST friend.  My little me hears what I am saying and now shakes its head, often! It really helps me to get a better understanding of myself and the turmoil and upset I cause myself.  The only way to help yourself, is to help yourself. Have your own back.

That one particular friend was judging herself, her own life and was jealous of my ‘perceived’ life through her own eyes. I didn’t realise it at the time. Fancy me beating myself up for so many years.

So, final word, stop pounding your own head. Stop comparing. Find your higher self, reset. Everyone has their ‘stuff’ but one thing we could all do to help ourselves is to become our own best friend. You are more than good enough and you’ll realise this throughout learning to truly love yourself. I’m going to keep trying, after all, learning to love yourself is surely the greatest achievement of all?