What absolute, utter bullshit.
There’s a belief that people can and should only show up as their “best self”
It came along with the filters and comparisonitis and all the other shit of being online 24/7.
When we started living for likes, and reactions and followers.
Where everyone became a personal brand, an influencer, a “show up this way and make people want to live a life like yours” type.
When High School literally didn’t fucking end, because now everyone’s linked to everyone and can see everything that everyone’s doing. There’s just no escape, no downtime.
YOU HAVE TO KEEP UP APPEARANCES!
But that’s exhausting.
And what happens when you can’t?
When you have nothing good to show?
When what you have isn’t as good as what they have?
I was advised, that if I wanted to show up in this space, do what I’m doing, then I HAVE to show up as my best self.
I have to be the Leader – the person in front.
The person who has their shit together, all the time.
Who’s not seen as struggling, who has all the good stuff happening, who’s doing all the good stuff.
Not someone who’s at home barely making ends meet and sometimes struggles to pay the bills on time.
Struggles with daily life, and getting from a-b, who feels shit about themselves, what they’ve got going on, and the crushing responsibility of everything and everyone around them.
I was “advised” to hide all that.
Mental Health and the stigma around it is real, and when people are expected to ONLY show up with the good, and as their best selves, how exactly are they going to do that?
In the past year, I’ve made myself physically ill – not through trying, just by being run down and trying to do too much and be who/what I’m not.
I’ve taken time out, time away from anything and everything to take care of myself. It’s something people preach; “self-care” and all that, but when you say “I’m taking 6 months away from the business, I don’t care about how much money I bring in” they look at you like you have three heads – why? Because how can you be happy if you’re broke? How can you be happy if you’re not pushing forward and growing your wealth, or shoving the next new shiny thing in peoples faces?
Why is everyone so sure that “being your best self” only looks one way?
I took 6 months off, I only did the bare minimum in my business.
I opted out of a lot of things that I’d been convinced (through fear, through scarcity) that I HAD to do if I were to be worthy of anything.
All the pushing and grinding.
Learning – which I love to do, but it was taking its toll, had become exhausting, draining. Why? Because I was trying to learn to be someone else. Someone other than myself. Live MY life THEIR way. A whole bunch of stuff that pulled me further away from who I am, and how I want to live my life.
I referred myself to professional counselling services. I had 12 weeks where I bared all to a complete stranger, it wasn’t easy, some of it hit me like a ton of bricks and knocked me flat on my ass. I cried. I got angry, I looked at myself in a whole new way, I’ll write more about that another time. But, all the time there was a voice in the back of my head saying, “well, you can’t share this, you shouldn’t – you can only show your BEST self. This isn’t it, look at you, you’re practically at rock bottom”
WHO THE FUCK IS TO DECIDE WHAT/WHO MY BEST SELF IS ASIDE FROM ME?
Who is to decide that me going to 12-weeks counselling isn’t me being my best self?
Because it’s sure as hell the BEST thing I’ve done for myself in the past 10 years.
From being signed off work, to feeling suicidal – my rock bottom – to going back to college, University, starting businesses, all these things I’ve done over the past DECADE to try and get away from the shitshow that was my life, and to “be my best self” by societies standards – none of them helped.
None of them did me any favours.
None of them brought out the best in me.
D’ya know what did?
Accepting that I felt like shit, that I’d given up on life, that I hated everything around me and a hell of a lot of what I had inside of me.
That feeling useless, deflated, judged, criticised for not following the “right path” laid out before me by the self-righteous, and the egocentric… the “I know what’s best for you” and the “my way or the highway” tribe.
That overall feeling of just not being good enough, not living my life in the way that I want, letting myself down, letting my family down, being an abject failure full of wasted potential that people have been banging on at me about for years, my whole life.
By taking all of that, allowing myself to feel that, to accept that, to really lean into it, let it swallow me whole, tear me apart from the inside.
To allow that voice that said “you’re fucking useless, what a waste, stop lying to yourself, how hard is it to just follow the damn plan? Just tick the boxes and do it as it’s laid out in front of you? Are you REALLY that stupid? That incompetent? That lazy?” to tick over and kick in, again and again, to lead me to the point of “y’know what, fuck you. Fuck this shit, I am beyond done, I’m done with pushing, with following someone else’s predrawn bastard plan for me. I’m not cut out for this, I need help”
Taking the time to say “fuck it” to the business, and the training that never quite felt right to me, that I’d been throwing money into because I’d been convinced by the #LivingMyBestLife and #InvestInYourself tribe that I needed to show up that way and do that shit.
Using that time, and the energy to look up mental health services, to fill out the online form and click send before I freaked the fuck out (which I did) asking for help – admitting that it wasn’t my business that needed help – it was ME.
It took crying on the phone to an absolute stranger (a guy called Josh, who was actually very nice and pretty cool) to allow him to figure out what help I needed, to tell me that he’ll find the right person to help me and that it’ll be OK.
It took all of that.
It took waiting a few weeks for another phone call, and an email setting up my first session.
Then it took 12 weeks of sitting in a room with a woman called Gemma, who just sat, listened, pulled me up on things I was glancing over, pushing down and ignoring – old habits, the “not important” stuff. Questioned me, asked me to go deeper into things when I needed to.
TWELVE weeks of laying it all out on the table, talking, what I felt, was utter garbage at times, but really I was getting to the root, the deepest parts of me that I’d been locking away and choking down. Sometimes sitting in silence, lost for words and not knowing why something had me reacting the way it did.
I couldn’t share any of this.
Because that’s not me living my best life.
I’m not showing the “best side” of me.
The happy side
The successful side
The one where I’m going to fancy places
Doing fancy things
Spending a ton of money
Doing “all the things”
Laughing and lounging around “LIVING THE DREAM”
Well, I haven’t had any of that to share, so I haven’t been
QUICK! Hide! You can’t share that! Can’t show that!
I AM living my best life.
I’m doing what I need to do IN ORDER to live a better life
Yeah, it sucks, it’s a little rough around the edges, there’s no glitz and glamour.
I’ve got a lot of work to do before I’m “#LivingMyBestLife” but why should I hide away before then?
Because I don’t have some picture-perfect, “everyone should wanna be like me” life?
Nah, I’m good thanks.