Will the real confident, breezing through life, have it all people please stand up

Leave a comment Standard

20140710-113327.jpg

I have noticed that more and more people are talking about their desire or attempts to live up to, become, be more like the confident people. The people who have it all together. The people who breeze through life. The ‘have it alls’.

You know the ones? They walk into a crowded room and can immediately engage and dazzle with their scintillating conversation. They are able to juggle every area of their life with ease and they are always happy. They don’t experience fear, doubt, worry or low self esteem.

The rest of us are constantly struggling with ‘ impostor syndrome getting overwhelmed with the sense that we are continually winging it and eventually we will be found out and exposed for the frauds we really are.

The things is… the more I talk to people and admit to the fact I feel I am perpetually winging it through life, the more I realise that most other people would say they are doing that too.

People I thought were confident and extroverted actually turn out to be introverts with a good amount of bravado. The calm, serene people who seem to breeze through life actually admit to being like ducks – paddling for dear life under the surface.

So, I’m starting to think it’s all one big lie. That the ‘have it alls’, the people who breeze through life – they don’t actually exist. It’s a facade. A facade that causes each of us to set ourselves impossibly high standards that we can never reach and therefore we can enjoy beating ourselves up about it for the rest of our lives.

I could be wrong of course. So, I am asking just to check, just to see –

Will the real confident, breezing through life, have it all people, please stand up?

Stand up and show yourself if you love introducing yourself to new people and making small talk – never doubting for a minute or being held back by limiting beliefs about yourself.

Stand up if life is a breeze, you never experience anxiety or worry, you don’t have stress.

Stand up if you have never once felt like to a certain extent you are just winging it and you will one day get found out.

Stand up if you have it all and you never feel guilty, or that that you compromised on something or that you sacrificed one area of your life to improve another.

Stand up if you are there.

Hi, I'm Louise and my life's not perfect

Comments 3 Standard

image

On Sunday I did something new – I admitted my life wasn’t perfect into a microphone at the front of church.

I told everyone that I had a row with my husband right before hosting life group that week and that when my life group arrived I told them too.

I can see a few of you cringing at the thought of it – the thought of opening up your life like that, of exposing your humanness.

You see, we work so hard at hiding, hiding our faults, hiding our mistakes, hiding the very fact we are human and fallible.

All of this hiding has to stop. It has to stop because it is exhausting, it takes up almost every fiber of energy we have and it causes us to miss out. We miss out on the opportunity to let people into our messiness and the opportunity for others to feel less alone.

Guess what? After I admitted that Sunday no one accused me of failing at life, of falling short, of dispelling the myth of perfection. In fact, I am sure I audibly heard people breathe a sigh of relief, of release even.

I wasn’t mortified either, I felt very much more alive than I have in a while – it was liberating!

You see we’re very happy to model and be examples of things like prayer, giving, serving, bringing words, being out in the community, leading… I could go on but no one wants to be an example of messiness do they? No one wants to be an example of falling short despite the fact we all fall short.

The thing is until more people are happy to speak out and stand up and say ‘I’m a mess, I get it wrong a lot but this is how I’m working through it.’ all we are doing is perpetuating the myth of perfection and ultimately I believe that is far more dangerous, damaging and devastating than being vulnerable, open and sharing our fallibility.

So I’m making an attempt, my own little stand to stop it happening. I am breaking free of ‘Sunday face’ and attempting to fully embrace what it means to be real.

Anyone else want to join me?

How not to blog – why I won't follow the rules

Comments 5 Standard

image

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (dangerous I know!) about my blog and its purpose.

You see, I was challenged to begin it as a way of telling my story and stories online. It is if you like, my life played out.

I know that I should attempt to find a niche, a topic, a neat little box to fit into and by doing so I could use numerous techniques to develop a following. The things is, that’s not going to work.

I write my blog about my life and my life doesn’t fit into neat categories or a niche. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher ( maybe ex?), Christian, book lover, product reviewer and occasional ‘Ooh an opportunity to blog’ type of person.

This isn’t a Christian blog but I will discuss my faith, this isn’t a mummy blog but I will talk about motherhood and baby products, this isn’t a book review blog but I will review books, this isn’t an educational blog but I will talk about teaching, students, young people.

This is my blog, about me, showing how my life is a number of different facets and aspects of a whole. I write from the heart and want to be me.

You are very welcome to join me in my journey, join me as I turn the pages and play out my story, but I won’t fit neatly into a category and I would love to apologise for that but I can’t.

What the future holds…

Comments 2 Standard

image

As I sit and write this post I am jobless. I resigned my teaching post during my maternity leave as my request for part time hours could not be accommodated.

On 6th June my maternity pay ends and I am yet to find a new job.

You see, the thing is after nearly 12 years of being in the teaching profession I don’t know if it’s for me anymore.

I haven’t become old and jaded but I’m not sure I have the same passion that I used to for it. I am passionate about young people, about them feeling empowered and safe and nurtured but not about targets and grades and performance management. I am passionate about investing in the lives of young people but not about making them jump through hoops.

I have worked in mainstream, PRU, Alternative Education, SEN and within each it is only a matter of time before it becomes about everything else but quality time with the students and to be honest, that’s never what I signed up for.

I am torn, don’t get me wrong, this has been my vocation, my calling for 12 years, I have eaten, breathed, slept teaching for the majority of my adult life.

Right now, I question if it is where I am best used. I question if my heart is still in it, if I can inflame my passion for it again. It’s frightening.

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how everything is going to work out.

I do know that the world looks at me differently now I am a mother. I do know that many will question why I would sacrifice a career.

My perspective has changed, my faith has changed. I have been given skills, abilities and passions and I am called to use them to make a difference.

The question is where?

I haven’t ruled out teaching, it is almost synonymous with who I am but I don’t want to just go through the motions anymore.

So yes, I resigned without a new job to go to. Yes, I stuck to my guns about wanting to work part time and yes, despite the uncertainty of it all, I feel it is one of the most sensible decisions I have ever made.

I don’t know what the future holds but one day I will, for now, it’s about holding fast.

Things are all a bit messy

Comments 4 Standard

20130413-200227.jpg

So I am currently in limbo. There are a few things I was expecting to be resolved by today and they aren’t.

There are a few loose ends that remain untied, a few extra things yet to be ticked off the to-do list, an a couple of big unknowns.

Funny isn’t it, how the unknowns seem ok to begin with but then they creep up on you at the last minute ( 3am if you’re like me)

The fact is, things are all a bit messy and yet, in the midst of it all I find myself straying into a place of stillness and peace. Maybe it’s the eye of the storm? Maybe it’s a mirage? A created oasis in this desert place. But, when I find myself there, even though I can’t make sense of it, I am calm, at rest, my soul quietens.

I found that place at the end of my Zumba class on Wednesday, as we warmed down and the last song began my eyes were drawn to the wooden cross at the side of the stage. My Zumba class is held in a Salvation Army building.

It felt poignant so soon after Easter to find myself staring at an empty wooden cross and to be reminded of the ultimate sacrifice and then this song began…

I felt tears form and realised that I was having a moment, that something was calling deep into my heart. That this was a message for me.

You could write it all off as coincidence, I was just reading too much into it all but there in that moment I experienced God more closely than I had in a very long time and had a renenwed understanding of it all… The Cross, the love, His sacrifice, my response and although I have no idea how, I knew it is all going to be ok but at a cost.

At life group last night we sang the following words:

‘And no matter what the cost I will follow you. Jesus everything I’ve lost I have found in you…’

There’s a cost, a cost to all these loose ends, the unknowns and there has been loss but there is hope and right now I will hold on to that and to ‘My Salvation, my my’

Combating the inner critic – choose encouragement

Leave a comment Standard

image

I came across this in my social media feeds today and although it’s nothing I haven’t heard before, today it resonated. Maybe because it is a Monday or maybe because it is important right now to me and many others.

It’s just 9am on a Monday morning. Many people will have completed the commute and be on their way to the office, those who work at home will be sat in front of their screens, maybe with an empty bowl of cereal nearby. Teachers will be well into teaching their first lesson of the day. Parents may have just finished the school run, some mothers will be building up the will to get through the day after a sleepless night, some, like me, will be sat in a slight daze as their little one has their morning nap wondering if they have time to do the list of jobs piling up on that ‘to-do’ list. All of us navigating the thoughts in our minds.

How have you begun your day? Have you already given in to that well of criticalness that seeks to take over? Have you been a ‘Monday moaner’?

The sunshine at the weekend changed people’s moods. There were smiles and a sense of being upbeat. However, there was still the tendency from some to start with the critical ‘It’s too hot.’

There is a sense that whatever circumstances we are in, the voice that tends to be the loudest is that of the critic.

I know that you have an inner critic who gets at you all day long, I know that often a way to deal with it is to become negative or sharp tongued with others.

The truth is, we all crave a bit of encouragement, a sense of being built up, of being offered an alternative but despite that we rarely offer it to others.

For Lent this year, I am following the #40 acts challenges and today we are asked to have ‘an attitude of gratitude’ you can check out further details here 40 acts

We have been asked to write a thank you note. I was quite convicted as I can’t remember the last time I did this. I have sent emails and texts but not a hand written note or card.

I know how much I like to receive cards and notes and yet I don’t offer that to others very often.

Sometimes we spend so much time and energy on combating our own inner critics that we don’t reach out and help others with theirs. Surely it would be easier to share the load?

So instead of listening to your inner critic, instead of letting that be your voice and shape your words, how about letting the encourager take over for today?

So many of us get caught in a shadow of discouragement – how about offering an alternative? A way out for those that you are in contact with today? You never know, you may even silence that critic for yourself.

I would love to know how you get on! Please feel free to leave a comment telling me how it goes.

Letting go of 'perfect'

Leave a comment Standard

image

So, my son fell asleep and I placed him in his cot for his nap and I thought that I would make a cup of tea and sit quietly for a while…
Then a large lorry drove up, parked outside the house and now incessant drilling echoes.

It made me smile because I realised how often life is like that. You have these intentions you carry around with you each day about what you are going to do when you have a moment and then the moment arrives and… Roadworks, the phone rings, there is a knock at the door, an unexpected email hits your inbox or a random thought takes hold and distraction kicks in, the moment is gone, disappearing into the ether.

But, does it have to? My initial reaction was one of annoyance that this loud, unnecessary noise would dare to ruin a time I wished to spend in quiet contemplation.

Now, I realise it has given me an opportunity to face up to the fact that there are no ‘perfect’ moments. Things are never going to be exactly as you want them and coming to terms with that can be hard – we create this delusion that perfect moments can be obtained and work so hard to achieve them when in reality they cannot be.

I don’t mean to sound depressing, of course we have moments we enjoy, that we love, that we want to hold on to and desire to capture – these days we do it in a filtered photo that we have re-taken three or four times to ensure the ‘perfect’ shot. The fact is, if we wait for the right time, the ‘perfect’ time it is unlikely to come and we hold ourselves back. We put limitations on ourselves that don’t need to be there.

So today, instead of having my time of silent contemplation, I wrote this post. If the drilling hadn’t been going on maybe I wouldn’t have as I tend to wait – ‘I won’t write yet.’ It’s almost like the drilling woke me up a little to a weird mindset I had fallen into and I wondered if other people may have fallen into it too?

I wonder what I have been missing out on because I have been waiting for the right circumstances.

Sometimes, I wake up not wanting to see the world and feel like hiding because I don’t feel I have anything to offset.

Sometimes, I tie myself up in knots about ‘what ifs’ and ‘what do people think’

Sometimes, it takes every ounce of my being to get going and walk out of the front door.

I am not perfect, far from it. My hair needs a cut, I wear it tied up all of the time to avoid thinking about it and because it is far easier as a Mum to keep it out of the way. I can get overly emotional, I can be quite antsy at times and negative.

There are people who will tell you I don’t care enough and people who will tell you I care too much. Some people would describe me as clique-y and some as inclusive.

I can’t get it right for everyone all of the time and the only pressure to do that comes from myself and this striving for perfection and the perfect moment and perfect circumstances.

This post could be better no doubt and it would have been so easy to delete it but I didn’t because it’s time to accept that there is no ‘perfect’ and to stop hiding, holding back and avoiding.

Where are you with this concept of perfect?

I am reminded of the song ‘Perfect’ by Alanis Morisette that ends with the line :
‘We’ll love you just the way you are, if you’re perfect’

I will admit that is how I often feel and I know it’s not right.

I don’t want to pass these ideas and feelings on to my son. I don’t even want him to entertain them – so why do I allow it for myself?

So today, I am not re-editing, I am not waiting, I am not engaging with myself in striving for perfection. I am going to be my unadulterated self and I am going to love it just the way it is!