I don’t know about you, but I have often measured myself by what I’m not in the past – not laid back enough, not outgoing enough, not confident enough…but I had a glimpse this week of what it means to measure myself instead by what I am.
And it made me hungry to take more joy in being me!
I got this glimpse of embracing myself when a friend kindly invited me to a late-night event as part of the Brighton festival. As she extended the offer, I knew away it wasn’t something I wanted to do because I’m not an evening person and so planned evening activities are not ones I thrive in or particularly enjoy. As I write this, I get the self-judgement pangs of not being enough, but in that moment with my friend who I care and love, and who cares and loves me, I was able to take joy in the fact of knowing myself well enough to know my limits, my preferences and embracing all that I am.
Knowing that I get tired and cranky at night.
And that’s ok.
So instead of saying ‘yes’ to the invitation and then regretting it or worrying about the up-coming event, backing out at the last minute or having a mini-breakdown, I said ‘no thanks‘ and it was fine.
It was more than fine actually, because I felt like I had stepped into the joy of who I am, embracing the things I like, the things I dislike, the qualities I have…and it felt so beautifully liberating.
So I want to celebrate and take joy in some of the things I am with you today, dear one. And I hope it leads you to celebrate all that you are too.
I am at my best when I’m connecting with people on an individual level. Other people, like Gregg, my husband, thrive on big groups, loud conversation, lots of energy and camaraderie but my heart sings when I have a heart-to-heart conversation. I take such joy from the closeness and intimacy of being vulnerable, being real, being honest with one person.
I am someone who feels really deeply. I’ve likened this to a rollercoaster in a previous blog post – my highs are high and my lows are low. It’s this incredible heightened ability to feel that allows me to connect deeply with people, to sense what’s going on below the surface and to be present in such an open and vulnerable way on this blog. A year on and I have so many things I still want to share with you, dear friend, and this is because of the deep feelings that I have inside me that are crying out to be shared.
When I was at school, I lived in fear of being called a ‘keener’ (Bristolian for ‘geek’ – but this was at the time when being a geek was definitely not cool!). But it’s true – I am a keener. And I take such joy from this. I love learning, I love growing my understanding of the world (particularly of how we work as humans). I take joy from being in jobs where I can continue to be stretched and grow mentally. I embrace this about myself.
I’m really happy that I live as honest and un-edited a life as possible. For example, there’s rarely a photo that I take down from facebook because of it not presenting a side of me I like. I’ve got plenty of silly photos, slightly un-flattering photos or ones where I’m not presented in the best of lights. The same here on this blog – I don’t pull punches with being honest about what I struggle with – eating addictions, low self-esteem, stumbling as I find my way. Because I see these things as the entirety of who I am, a culmination of my experiences. And I take great joy in living an un-edited life, embracing all that I am.
When I was younger, let’s just say that I demonstrated some real leadership skills. Getting my sister to sing the boys parts in musicals so I could be the leading lady, organising things at school, stepping forward to take the big parts in the school play. But as I grew older, I shrunk back from this, not wanting to seem bossy. Yes, I’ll admit that I sometimes stepped over the line (especially with my sister) in trying to get my own way, but I now take joy in knowing that I am a lady boss. Keen to organise, progress, step forward and be seen.
Taking joy in all these things (and so many more facets of my personality) allows me to be in tune with my intuition. To say yes to things that I know will light me up, and to kindly say no to that which will not.
That one experience of saying no lifted such a weight off my shoulders as I stepped into all that I am. I can’t wait to see where life will take me as I embrace and continually take joy in myself going forward.