Where I’m meant to be

I’ve had this morning to myself and am feeling so much better for the long sleep and time to be in stillness and inaction with myself.

Life has felt so difficult recently. I’ve been at the bottom of my reserves and have felt myself coiled like a spring, about to snap (or whatever it is a spring does when it’s pushed beyond its limits!).

But this time has been different from all the other times I’ve felt like this.

Instead of pushing through until I snap, I’ve been able to recognise where I am and have done things differently.

I’ve shared how much I’m struggling (to differing degrees) with friends (you included in that category, my friend), family and work colleagues.

I’ve asked Gregg to step up to allow myself to not ‘have to be’ strong, self-contained, coping when life with a baby, full-time work and no time for myself is too much.

I’ve taken the decision to slowly stop breastfeeding so I can have some more freedom and space outside of the role of ‘mum’ in my life – something that will benefit Jenson far more than the nutrients he gets from me. A mum that is less frazzled, not resentful for the role she feel obliged to take, role modelling what is means to have healthy boundaries and prioritising her needs.

I’ve taken Thursday evenings for myself to meet up with friends, take classes, go out and be me.

I’ve booked a weekend away by myself at the end of June on a self-development course of sorts to get some space in such a packed period of time.

And as I reflect on all that I’ve done, I’m more grateful than ever for what Jenson, my son, has brought to me.

You see, before I would have kept on struggling.

Due to not having the responsibility of parenthood, I would have coped with the expectations of other people that I put on myself without challenging them.

I wouldn’t have had such an urge that I have now to break down the roles I take which are ones I don’t want to hold.

Strong

Selfless

Self-contained

I don’t disagree with being all these things. But I found myself being unable to be anything other than that.

I couldn’t be weak, apart from too my closest friends and family.

I struggled with being ‘selfish’ and prioritising myself.

I had made strides to share more of myself, through this blog, but it didn’t go further than that because it didn’t need to.

But with my son here, I want him to know more than anything that he doesn’t have to be ‘strong’ all the time. I want him to see me reach out for help and, in doing so, know that it’s ok for him to do the same thing.

I want him to self-prioritise. Not to the detriment of other people – sending a big ‘F you’ to others – but so that he has enough resources to live out of abundance.

I want him to have the freedom to share what’s going on for him. And if he takes after his father – a wonderful ‘steady Eddie’ of a man – he won’t need to much. But if he has my sensibility and a gentleness (that which I see in many men around me, including my brother), I want him to be able to share what’s going on for him, because he’s seen me do that and he knows it’s ok. He doesn’t have to be an island.

And so while it’s pushed me to my very limits, his arrival on this planet, I can’t help but feel that he has been sent to me to teach me these things.

And so while it’s hard to be in this place, I know that I’m where I’m meant to be.

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A narrow set of rules that just don’t work

I’ve been thinking about my age old stumbling block – my body – since I went to see the Guilty Feminist Live a few weeks ago.

I was lucky enough to hear the amazing music of Grace Petrie who is a singer/activist and also a self-proclaimed butch lesbian who never felt she fitted until she came to peace with who she was and how she looked.

And in hearing how she felt she didn’t belong because she didn’t fit into the ideal of femininity, I realised just how much I only feel I belong if I’m at my thinnest and fit into the female ideal of beauty.

I don’t really understand why I feel this way, but I do.

I don’t hold other people up to the same standard. If someone is overweight it doesn’t make me question their worthiness or think less of them.

I might wonder whether there’s a reason for it – some hurt they’re trying to bury with food, a medical reason, because they love food and don’t feel ashamed of being who they are in their body.

But with me, I believe being a bit soft round the edges shows me as weak, not able to cope, lacking in self-control and so many other things…

But after seeing Grace and marvelling at the idea of fully embracing myself, I’ve been wondering about a few things.

What if I lived by Grace’s words?

Some of her song lyrics – and the title of this post – are ‘a narrow set of rules that just don’t work’.

And that’s, in my ‘logical’ thinking moments something I understand about my thoughts about my size.

Not everyone is made to be a size 6/8/10/12.

And by saying ‘you must control yourself to stay thin and within these narrow views of beauty’ I’m saying to myself that it’s not ok to not be perfect.

But perfection isn’t real and these rules about what is ok to be, food-wise, is too narrow.

It’s not realistic.

It’s not something that works for me.

It’s not ok to not be ok

Food and body image becomes more problematic to me when I’m not doing ok.

When I’m treading on new and tricky ground.

When I’m challenging myself in areas that I’ve not challenged myself before.

And that’s what I’m doing at the moment – I’m out of my comfort zone and so it’s no wonder that the old self-critical voice and comfort-eating behaviour is creeping back.

It’s not a wonder really with the strides I’m taking in my life:

  • I’m shedding the thought that I mustn’t stand out or ask for things for risk of being thought of as a nuisance.
  • I’m getting the self-belief and assurance to take time for myself in my personal life. Seizing time for myself just as my husband does when he goes to park run on a Saturday or football on a Wednesday evening.
  • I’m doing different things at work which are new and uncomfortable – having challenging conversations, staying in ‘adult’ mode when I want to be the rescuing ‘parent’, considering how I might work as more of a team instead of staying safe through being self-sufficient.
  • So I suppose what I’m saying is that I’m not entirely ok at the moment.
  • But that’s ok.
  • When I am going through periods of growth, I tend to turn to food for comfort before I slowly unfurl into new territory.
  • And that’s ok.
  • I don’t quite believe that I could be a size 14/16/18 and still think of myself as fantastic, worthy, brilliant. But I’m recognising this and trying to change my inner dialogue.
  • I’m making headway.
  • What if I loved my body like I love my son’s body? 

    Like with other people, I don’t measure my son by his body. But it’s a part of him that I love. His beautiful, plump arms and legs ripe for the biting, his cheeks so soft to stroke and kiss as he lies next to me, sleeping.

    He could be twice or half the size and I would still look at him as perfection. And, although I love his body, it is a small part of who he is.

    He is his cheeky smile and his ability to spot small details at such a small age.

    He is his obsession with bubbles and his pushing around of Harold the Bear in his little pushchair.

    He is the ‘woof’ he says when he sees the dog and his concentration as I read story after story to him.

    He is his strong legs that allow him to toddle around.

    He is his hands that clap and his fingers that he moves to try to mimic ‘baby shark’.

    He is his body – and I love it for all it is – but he is so much more than that too.

    And to view it in isolation is to do him a grave injustice.

    To view my body in isolation is, likewise, to do myself a grave injustice.

    What if loving my body was a great act of rebellion?

    It does feel rebellious, the thought of accepting, loving and cherishing my body, whatever its size.

    To see rolls around my waist (just the act of writing this feels disgusting!) when I sit down without any sense of disappointment or judgement or disgust.

    To no longer look sidewise to see how narrow my body is because it’s just not a priority for me.

    To look at my body as I did just after giving birth to my son – with wonder, respect and gratitude for what it does for me.

    To not be defined by how I look.

    To not think I’m less deserving because of not being a small size 12 or that my body and my size has anything to do with my worth or my worthiness as a person.

    When I look at myself through this lens, it feels like a deeply rebellious act.

    It’s not an act of self-sabotage – pushing as much food as possible in myself to defy a society which tells me who I should be.

    It’s an act of deep self-love and freedom to nourish myself, give myself food I love and food that provides nutrients without any heed to my size.

    Without any pressure to my anything other than I am.

    Without any rules defining what I should or shouldn’t be.

    So where do I go from here?

    I accept that I still have far to go on my journey.

     I remind myself that it’s ok to not be ok.

    I send gratitude to the divinity of motherhood for the chance to see a love I want for myself mirrored in the love I have for my son.

    I see the small seed of hope for the future me.

    I am reminded to look at myself with love and compassion.

    And I’ll end this blog with some words from Grace’s beautiful song:

    “You will figure out what’s yours and that it’s got nothing to do with fitting neatly in a box that was constructed to make it seem like people come in just two teams and anything that’s in between ain’t good enough”

    There’s no planet B

    Our planet…it’s the only one we’ve got. And although I’ve written about ways to save our planet before, I feel compelled to write again about the predicament we’re in.

    If we don’t halt greenhouse emissions within just shy of 11 years, we’ll be subject to chain reactions that will change the future of humanity forever.

    Famine

    Drought

    Cities under water

    Natural disasters at an even greater scale

    And yet, I don’t see anything changing in our economics, in politics, in many people’s day-to-day actions.

    And I get it.

    It seems like it’s too big an issue – that we’re living in a slo-mo sci-fi movie where the issues are so huge that it’s debilitating. And small scale action seems pointless.

    But it’s not.

    We can all make a difference by adopting changes in life on an individual level:

    • Going vegan (or reducing our meat/dairy consumption).
    • Reducing what we buy – stopping going in for fast fashion.
    • Changing our habits – whether that’s ditching cellophane or starting to compost
    • Reducing the amounts of flight we take (I’m guilty of this one!)

    There are so many ways to make a difference – this article by Virgin highlights some steps you can take to reduce your impact.

    But we also need wide-scale change at a political level too:

    • Changing how governments measure success – from economic growth to removal of C02 production
    • Investing in ways to solve climate change, new tech and cultural hacks
    • Considering how to reward those whose lifestyles are kinder to the environment

    We can be involved in the above by contacting our politicians and letting them know that we want them to take the environment seriously. If enough of us raise our voice, we can make a difference.

    Will you join me?

    I’m counting on it, because we have no planet B

    I showed up

    I arranged a meet-up for likeminded mamas who wanted to gain more balance in their lives this Saturday just passed. (I wrote about what it’s for here).

    As I was waiting for strangers I didn’t know would show up or not, wondering if this was the biggest mistake for how I was choosing to spend some precious alone time on a Saturday afternoon, I spoke these words to myself:

    Whatever happens today, I’m showing up.

    I’m choosing to gain more balance in my life.

    I’m deciding to take action so that my life is not just work, Jenson and mindless zombie staring at a TV screen in the evening.

    And so I showed up and, with the three other mothers who came along, I got real value from our time together.

    I heard stories of different couples and realised that I am not my best self with Gregg a lot of the time –

    • Grumpy if I have too little sleep
    • Unbearable if I’m hungry
    • So bent up on ‘alone time’ that I can argue over Jenson like he’s a commodity (“you had 2 hours of alone time yesterday, I want exactly that time to myself today”)
  • So that was a great realisation, something I can be aware of and perhaps try to change.
  • During our time together, I also explored where I wanted to get more balance in my life and here’s what I decided:
  • I committed to planning a date night with Gregg over the next month and promised to spend a few hours each Wednesday evening doing something I enjoy which isn’t sitting in front of the TV like a zombie. It most probably will be blogging, cooking, painting my nails, learning something new, exercising, having a bath, calling a friend for a chat…something that nourishes me.
  • I also got a glimpse of what I could work on over the coming weeks and months – regaining more intimacy with my husband (sorry family, if you’re reading this!), committing to spending less on coffee, having slightly less sugar in my diet, reconnecting with my emotions…
  • In those two hours, I understood the power of meeting as a group of women instead of as a group of mums – supporting each other, challenging each other, gaining new perspectives on things.
  • And although we shared our struggles and threw in some funny stories of our lives, I felt the same thing that one of the participants shared – how it felt different to a usual mum meet-up because we were focused on outcomes.
  • We weren’t merely saying what was tough in our life and getting emotional support, we were each challenged to say ‘so what next?! What am I going to do about this?!’ in whatever big or small way.
  • It felt so good to meet up with other mums and I can’t wait for our next meet-up in four weeks time.
  • Top ten

    As I lay in bed last night, waiting for sleep to come, I was drawn to thinking about the best things about last year.

    And so I thought I’d share some top lists with you to celebrate my baby boy turning one.

    Top five best things about becoming a mum

      The joy of watching Jenson grow and develop
      The cuddles and time spent resting next to Jenson as he sleeps
      How it has changed me as a person, mostly for the better
      The determination to deal with my demons so that I don’t pass them – the people pleasing, comfort eating – onto Jenson
      The pleasure of spending time as a family of three and seeing my husband as a brilliant, involved, caring dad

    Gregg’s top three best things about becoming a dad

    1. Us all going travelling
    1. Having the time to go do things with Jenson, like swimming
    1. Getting to watch our little baby change and grow up

    The best ten moments of this year

    1. Going away to Cambodia and Vietnam
    2. Our trip to Morocco
    3. Making new friendships that will span over his life
    4. Getting ice cream and giving some to Jenson
    5. Reading ‘my child won’t eat’ and feeling such relief that Jenson isn’t starving
    6. The endless baths with Jenson as a newborn
    7. Visits from friends from all over the world to meet my new little man
    8. Understanding what all my other mum friends were going through
    9. Dancing with Jenson and Gregg at the Bimble Bindada festival
    10. Realising that shared parental leave was the best decision for Gregg forming a deeper relationship with Jenson

    Five most difficult moments of this year

    1. The last bit of labour
    2. Struggling with breastfeeding and getting my supply up…and all the stories I told myself about not being a good mum if I couldn’t feed him from my milk supply
    3. Stretching myself too thin on holiday in Wales
    4. When Jenson got norovirus and ended up in A&E
    5. Nursery settling in

    The five things I would have done differently

    1. Asked more questions about Jenson’s tongue tie
    2. Stayed in bed for the two weeks after his birth to fully recover
    3. Asked for more help when I needed it
    4. Extended our epic trip away by a few weeks
    5. Been more specific with Gregg about my views on weaning, TV time and other stuff

    The ten things I couldn’t have done without

    1. The food I made in advance of Jenson’s birth
    2. The first twelve seasons of Grey’s anatomy that I binged during my maternity leave
    3. The friends and family who supported me in this first year
    4. The new friends I met who walked with me on this journey of motherhood
    5. My baby carrier which helped me walk the streets of Brighton
    6. The new mums notebook – which I used all this year to record memories and thoughts about this year
    7. The attachment parenting groups and friends who supported me in finding my parenting style
    8. The baby groups in Brighton which got me out and kept my sanity
    9. This blog
    1. The phrase ‘this too shall pass’ – knowing that everything is a phase and will not last indefinitely

    The three things I want to do next year

    1. Listen to my instincts more
    2. Have a bit more time to myself – to coach, nurture myself and have a bit more sanity
    3. Look into raising children vegan so that we can make an informed choice about Jenson’s diet

    The two things I’m looking forward to on Jenson’s birthday

    1. Spending time celebrating with my family
    2. Eating the massive birthday cake I’ve made for him

    The mess…

    I hate mess.

    I mean, I don’t hate physical mess. You can ask my husband about how I leave my clothes strewn around our house like a Hansel-and-Gretel-esque breadcrumb trail of clothes. I also never know where anything is and I’m ok living in a bit of grime, leaving it far too long between kitchen cleans and bathroom wipe-downs (possible a bit too much of an overshare, sorry!).

    But that’s me.

    I’m ok with physical mess.

    What I can’t bear is messy relationships.

    My parents rarely fought growing up, but when a tense word was spoken or a disagreement took place, I did what I could to diffuse any tension. Practically singing and dancing to take the focus off the argument, I wanted to make everything right.

    And that still stands true today.

    I feel an intense discomfort when people around me are not getting on. When there are underlying tensions or I know that people have overt dislikes for others, I want to fix everything into a neat, tidy little box where everyone is happy and gets on.

    Everything resolved.

    But I’m learning that this isn’t possible. It isn’t my role to be the permanent peacekeeper in other people’s lives, nor is it something I have power over.

    So I need to become more comfortable with the mess.

    The challenge is how to do this.

    So I’ve been thinking this morning about how I can let go of this need for control. Because life is messy, things get broken, people change, relationships move on, people get into disagreements and it’s not my place to try to mend everything.

    I think the discomfort with emotional mess is to do with my sensitivity; I’m what I’d describe as an empath, I feel and can take on other people’s emotions really easily. I physically feel the tension when things are left unsaid. I take on the sadness when someone gets left out. I feel the anger of people not feeling understood.

    And I don’t know what to do with how I feel.

    When I get the urge to binge in order to press down my feelings, I’m able to ask myself what I’m truly feeling. Just by inviting the underlying feeling to come to the surface, I’m able to let it go. I’m able to say ‘it’s ok, you’re just tired’ or ‘it’s ok, you’re feeling bored’ or ‘it’s ok, you’re feeling hurt’.

    So logically, I think that I might need to do the same thing with other people’s emotions – surface the feelings in order to release them.

    But there’s something inside me which resists this.

    Am I worried that the feelings will be too strong for me?

    It is because I’m resisting the notion that this isn’t something I can control?

    I’m not sure.

    I know part of it is fear – fear of change, fear of letting go, fear of how I’d feel to open myself up to the feeling of discomfort, pain, sadness.

    And part of it is that I’m not used to doing this, so in the moment, I forget that I need to feel what’s going on in order to let the feelings wash over me.

    Part of it is in my identity. I’m the listener. I’m the person who people confide in. And so perhaps part of letting go will involve putting in place healthier boundaries to not get drawn into every dispute.

    So there are a lot of different things at play here. Even unpacking how I feel is hard – it feels very messy in itself!

    But I know that I’m making a start of breaking free from the unhealthy patterns that are no longer serving me. Just by acknowledging where I am and what is going on for me is the start of a change.

    I won’t force things – try to make everything better right here, right now or find a 5 step solution to solving all my issues. I’m just going to sit with these thoughts and see where they take me.

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    Change

    I’ve just finished reading a truly beautiful book on the physiology and anatomy of love. It’s called ‘a general theory of love‘ – check it out! It may sound strange – love doesn’t sit easily in our minds as a physiological response – but love stems from the limbic part of our brain. From there flows connection, affection, love in all its bright and shadowy forms. The book is written by three doctors and looks at what love (or the absence of love) does to us in our childhood, explains the evolution that led is to become social creatures and explores our fundamental need for belonging.

    I’ve found it really reassuring from an ‘attachment parenting’ viewpoint since that’s the parental style I most identify with. It’s a parenting style which includes things like co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding and responding to my son when he cries in all situations to give him comfort. But this isn’t a post about parenting, I just thought I’d mention it for all the parents out there who might like to read it!

    So, what do I want to say about this book…?

    Well, it’s been really helpful following my post last week where I acknowledged how difficult and arduous it has been to get to where I am with my personal journey to greater courage, truth and love.

    You see, I felt frustration with how long it’s taking to change my inner patterns to respond to myself more often with patience, not anger. To look at myself with grace when I’ve slipped up. To have a default setting of unconditional love towards myself.

    And this book explained from a physiological perspective why it is taking so much time. You see, when we’re children, our brains have plasticity. Our brain is able to morph and learn and grow (hence why the first 1000 days are so crucial to a child – it’s this period of time where they are able to more easily change the ‘nature’ settings – a propensity for moroseness, for example – by being nurtured to have greater levels of confidence, self-assurance and acceptance).

    When we’re older, however, changes around how we view ourselves – our default settings – are harder to make as our brain has less plasticity. Our limbic brain where all the emotions come from isn’t as easily changed.

    And so it takes more time – sometimes years – to rewire our brains.

    Knowing this allows me to have greater patience on this path I’m on. I’m able to see that things will change in their own sweet time.

    Knowing this also allows me to feel less like a failure. It’s not down to a lack of effort or ability that I’m struggling with shedding what holds me back. That I still hold on too tightly to the opinion of other people, that I find it tricky to cut myself some slack, that I sometimes talk to myself with anger instead of love.

    It’s biological.

    And while it doesn’t make the process any easier, it allows me to accept that this is where I am and to trust that things will change over time if I keep on keeping on.

    It also gives me greater faith in the process I go through with those I coach.

    There are people I’ve been working with for a year or so. I’ve seen amazing progress in their lives – some have changed their relationship with food, increased their confidence or have fostered greater love for themselves – but some still have progress they want to make. And this knowledge has allowed me to have more assurance that my role is to support them and trust in the coaching I’m doing with them. Although it may take time, they will get to where they long to be.

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    Privilege

    I’ve just listened to a podcast – dear sugar – and their episode on privilege. Both male/female privilege but, more difficult for me to hear, white privilege.

    My throat is sticking, like I’m struggling to get the words out, as I try to write about how I’m immersed in a bubble of white privilege. Less of risk of being suspected of misdeeds, with more chance of being interviewed for roles, treated better than my sisters with black or brown skin.

    I’m not saying this to berate myself, although I do berate how I have acted in some instances, but as a general opening and noticing of how life is not the same for me as it is for others. How I get more opportunities just due to the colour of my skin. Skin determined by luck rather than merit.

    This noticing happened a while ago, before I listened to the podcast episode, when I was feeding Jenson at the side of the road. Caught short, away from home, I lowered myself onto a step to feed him with my bag beside me. I was speaking to a friend at the same time – multitasking at its finest! – and found myself suddenly pulling my bag closer to me as a black man wearing a hoodie walked closely by me.

    Many others had walked on by, some just as close to me. But it was him, a man minding his own business, who had me reacting instinctively. He was unsafe. He was not to be trusted. And it’s really stuck with me.

    I had revealed my propensity to judge others based on the colour of their skin. My racism in action.

    It has provoked something in me – a reckoning of who I am and who I want to be. But I didn’t know what to do until I heard Catrice M Jackson, guest on the podcast, speak about the importance of changing this white privilege in our children by acting differently.

    Not locking my car doors when we go through an ‘unsafe’ (usually black-dominated) area.

    Buying Jenson toys that are diverse in showing the whole human race.

    Choosing books to read with Jenson that have a variety of protagonists.

    I’m left with lots of food for thought and the knowledge that if we are going to have a world with less injustice in the future, it starts with me. It starts with us.

    Creator of my own destiny

    I had another amazing coaching session yesterday morning with my coach. Honestly, if you have something you want to make progress on, I’d really encourage you to get a coach. I can do a free coaching trial session for anyone interested or can link you up with a coach (potentially a free trainee one) if you think that we know each other too well and you wouldn’t feel comfortable working with me. But I’m not here to talk about coaching…I’m here to share what happened in my session. So here I go!

    I’ve noticed in myself that I have a propensity for taking on too much of other people’s stuff. With almost a saviour complex (albiet a well-meaning one), I often feel responsible for other people’s happiness. From trying to avoid my parents having arguments when I was younger to taking on responsibility for people enjoying themselves at social events, to trying to bend myself in half to get people to be happy with what I do at work. It’s how I’ve always been.

    I want to change but don’t know how.

    When talking to my coach about this situation, I couldn’t see how I could be anything other than the two polar opposites that I described as this:

    At one end, caring so much that I take on everyone’s stuff and at the other, not giving a damn about anyone or anything. 

    We talked about the assumptions I make – that people want to be rescued, that it’s my responsibility to change stuff, that people aren’t able to make changes in their own lives…and it surfaced a thought I’ve been having for quite some time about how so much in life – our education, job hierarchies, the way society works – seems to breed a false impression that we are unable to change our own lives.

    You’ve probably known people who hate their job (or you may recognise this in yourself!). They find it boring or think they’re underpaid or are frustrated by it on a daily basis. But they don’t do anything about it. They stay there stuck, moaning, unhappy, resentful of what they have to do.

    But it’s not like they’re imprisoned in their job. They could do something to change their situation. They could look for a new job, talk to their manager about changing some of the things they do, start proactively changing how things are done, volunteer to get involved with other stuff at work to mix up their day, cultivate gratitude for what their job does give them (a pay-check, stability, nice co-workers, ability to pay rent/buy food for their family).

    I’m not saying this from a privileged place, never having been unsatisfied at work myself. I know how hard this can be. I’ve been stuck in a job for what seemed like far too long whilst I searched for a new one that suited me better. It sometimes seemed agonising but I kept on looking, got some coaching to figure out what I wanted to do, kept on applying for new roles and, in doing so, I took control of my own destiny.

    It paid off when I found a role – about six months down the line – that satisfied me more than I could have ever imagined.

    In the same way that I did, I believe we can all take charge of our lives and shape them to our liking. We might not get there perfectly every time because of our circumstances (my new role didn’t pay more but was more mentally satisfying) but we can take small steps to improve where we are with every aspect of our lives – our relationships, health, work, money.

    We are the creators of our own destinies.

    And that is when inspiration struck me and I could see the middle way which was not taking on responsibility for other people’s happiness nor hardening my heart to others. In the following two phrases I outlined how I want to live my life:

    I want the best for you and I know you can go out and shape your own life. 

    I want the best for me and I know I can go out and shape my own life. 

    It brought me such clarity. I want the best for others but my job is not to shape anyone’s life (not that anyone has ever told me they want me to!). My job is to shape my life.

    With this knowledge I feel freer, less burdened and hopeful for myself and others. We all have the ability to take steps towards creating a better life for ourselves. It’s up to each and every one of us to look for opportunities and seize any chances that come our way.

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    Becoming less agreeable

    I know that my future is going to involve being less agreeable. Less focused on being acceptable to others and more centred on my own agency as an individual.

    I’ve learnt over the past years that standing up for myself and following my own path isn’t selfish or ugly. It doesn’t mean trampling on other people or only considering my own needs.

    It means being assertive. Holding onto my own power centre so I know that my value isn’t what others think of me, how much they praise me or how pleased I make them. My value and self-esteem are determined from within.

    It means carving out my own path. Holding onto the truth I don’t need to fit in. I just need to be.

    It means coming home time and time again to myself. Creating a space where I reconnect with myself so that my mind and heart can coexist in harmony.

    I sense this is the next stage on my journey to stopping people pleasing. I will say ‘no’ more often. I will speak my mind more often. Not to be unkind or difficult, but because I am starting to see that otherwise I’m clipping my own wings, making myself small to fit in and that’s not a price I’m comfortable paying anymore.

    So here’s to taking up space and being less agreeable. It may not be an even, smooth road but it will definitely be a memorable one!