Since I was a teenager, I’ve always had something of a difficult relationship with myself.
Although appearing confident, self assured and determined, I remember actually thinking “I don’t like myself”. I’m sure if I could bear the cringe factor of re-reading those teenage diaries I’ve got in the loft somewhere, the sub-text would be of a clear love-hate relationship – Rachel vs Rachel.
I’m pretty sure that’s normal for most teenagers, but what has had a bigger impact is how that relationship continued to be troubled in my 20’s and 30’s.
Becoming a Mum was the start of a change in the relationship – I surprised myself (pleasantly), as I’d assumed I wasn’t very maternal and would make a terrible Mum. Motherhood opened aspects of me I just never knew existed.
However, it also brought other stresses and inner conflicts; rising guilt because I was neither pursuing my career in the way I felt I deserved or was capable of, nor being available to my kids in the way they deserved or I wanted to be.
I felt scornful of myself and the choices I wasn’t prepared to make. I wasn’t even very sure of who I was anymore – I kept trying to be all kinds of things, but really it was just what I thought other people wanted me to be.
The result was burn out, and a very dark time…but also the start of a conscious ‘personal development’ journey that now, 10 years later, has me in a very different space!
What got me reflecting on this evolving relationship with myself is recently doing some ‘brand’ work as I’ve been planning the next steps of the business.
I’ve become much clearer on who I am, and who I am not. I’m able to accept my introversion, idiosyncrasies, skills and ‘weaknesses’. I know what I like, and what I don’t, and now I want my business to be an accurate expression of me.
I love the definition of your brand being what people say about you when you’re not in the room!
As I’ve been clearing out my office, my wardrobe, my ‘stuff’, and redesigning my business model, I’ve been stripping away what no longer serves me, what doesn’t feel very ‘me’ and I’m suddenly left with what feels far more like my essential essence…and a startling realisation that I’m actually enjoying myself!
(The photo this week is of a butterfly my middle daughter drew for me using Sharpie pens – I love it, and the transformative metaphor of a butterfly feels appropriate).