Self Love or Self Actualisation?

The most monumental thing I have learned in 2018 was that self care and self love is the most important thing you will ever do for yourself. As a Catholic, although lapsed I was reared in a loving family with the all encompassing Catholic Guilt that each of us in the 1980’s had drilled into us.

If you asked my family about me depending on the one you met, they might all say varying things about me. I guess in recent times I have changed. Not nasty, not cranky but a little less accomodating. Do you remember Anthony from the Royale Family? Poor put upon Anthony who was sent to the shop, did the hoovering, got endless slagging and was always the one that gave up his seat when someone came into the house? I was that kid (the youngest in the family usually is) and you know what I became that adult too. Always volunteering to do things for people and sometimes putting myself out for others. Anyway, something in me stirred in 2018 and I have kind of stopped. I am by default a happy person, a joker and I always have the bright side out.

Last year though the switch kind of dimmed a bit, you know when the light just goes out a bit? There is no one reason I can attribute to this only that in late 2017 I started noticing that I was giving a lot more to people than I was getting. As a result, I was once again Anthony. The one people thought they could treat how they liked and say what they wanted. I am all for being candid but sometimes being candid can be intrusive especially if it is unsolicted advice. One episode with a friend left me reeling. I was hurt beyond belief and that friendship will never be the same again. I slowly started to realise that being this happy go lucky person saw me being kinda crapped on. Ultimately I was going through something personal that I didn’t want to share. I didn’t want to confide in her because she had on occasion shared other peoples confidences with me and this problem was so deep and personal I didn’t relish the thought of it being public. You see really I am a deep person, and most importantly a private person. I met up with her going through the motions and she was too self absorbed to see that there was something really wrong. She took it as indifference and did something which ultimately has severed our friendship.

I left a role that had been making me miserable for a while and started to grow up a bit mentally. Growth though is painful. We cast aside a version of ourselves we ae comfortable with and familiar with and must fit suddenly into this newer version, that is a bit painful, a bit sore and not very easy to adjust to. I mean at almost 40 I evolved and to be truthful it scared the life out of me.

I suddenly became a kind of panicked weirdo. I self-analysed. Was social media making me feel this way? (because let’s face it, it causes people a lot of difficulties and anxieties). It wasn’t. And I couldn’t blame it. It was real life, not the life I live on screen, or the Insta Story I occasionally uploaded, if anything my digital world was a haven, somewhere that ‘I could just “be”, create a version of myself that wasn’t hurt or hurting. The girl pouting out at the camera was just what I looked like and it was the real me. I have always been authentic and real online, and nobody can tell me otherwise. It was I guess the best foot forward version of Glamity, who believe or not is the online me. I can separate them completely. That doesn’t make me fake it just means that if I am having a bad day I won’t come on camera and cry about it.

Ultimately, we are all the creators of our own lives, I haven’t had an especially hard life I don’t think. I have taken various things in my stride, other things like the loss of both my parents in a short time shook me. The miscarriage I had also took the wind from my sails. Ultimately it was a brush a few years ago with an actual stalker (like the series You) that saw me head to a therapist.  Initially I thought oh how very cosmopolitan, but she started a small shift inside me, possible the one that started the evolution ‘I am undergoing now. I have always been strong mentally and well physically.

My problem as is transpires was my inability to switch off from other people’s moods and problems. In the real world that is called being an empath and that will never change however…. What I have now made the grand discovery is extending the same empathy to myself. The same self-care that I tell others about. Saying no when I can’t do something. Calling out people that are nasty or just cutting off people that don’t add value to your life. I sat at a press dinner recently where somebody made a remark about the amount of Botox I have had, I laughed it off but inside I just thought Wow what an insipid bland person you are to think that sort of conversation is appropriate. And I began to realise that much of our daily interaction is a bit like that, mindless and polite, or in this persons case very impolite.

Professionally I have had a great year. I have got to work with some incredibly brands and people. I am so blessed to have so many friends, that I have had for a long time, decades in fact. Those people that I love most are the ones that I see regularly, if I can’t see them then I stay in touch and keep up to date with their lives. Life is hard. People are busy.

And as I head into 40, I realise that putting yourself andyour feelings first isn’t mean, it is essential. It is the greatest act of self-loveand rebellion you will ever perform but you know what? It is the most satisfying.

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