Why I’m happy being myself now

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When Alexandra Burke took part in Strictly Come Dancing last year she got a lot of grief on social media. She was slammed for being ‘too confident’, for wanting to win ‘too much’. Many people didn’t warm to her, thinking she had FAR too much self-belief.

She spoke out a few days ago saying that the British public in general seems to have an issue with confident women. It was featured here in The Guardian, agreeing with her and highlighting what we all know — i.e. that everyone loves an underdog and that there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

I watched Strictly; I didn’t think she came across like that at all. I saw the stuff written about her on Twitter and I found it mean. At the time of her being in the show I actually read a few articles about her, I can’t find the exact one now (the problem with consuming SO much content these days) but essentially it took this very point and discussed that we all tend to favour women in the public eye who are nice, self-deprecating and super happy.

The reason I’m opening with this information (I’m going to make a point now, honestly) is because this is something I have thought about on & off my whole life. Because I never felt as though I fitted into that ‘popular, sweet, happy girl’ camp and I hadn’t always felt cool with how I came across to people.

I’m not talking about my looks, or clothes, or my dress size or how my face looks (for once) but I’m talking about my character and personality.

Throughout the years — especially when I was at school — I struggled. Not feeling 100% happy with the ‘way I am’.

And yet now I feel incredibly comfortable and am even embracing what defines me!

Maybe it’s because nowadays I’m much older, wiser, and confident! I’m almost forty, and a Mum of two…I therefore don’t GIVE A DAMN anymore. I know I won’t change now (I’ve tried changing over the years, but it’s draining) and I’m enjoying what makes me, me.

I’m also confident that the people around me these days love me for me.

Saying this, I am a nice person though. I’m kind, generous and friendly. I’m the first to organise coffee dates, I’m good at keeping plans and I remember people’s birthdays. But always happy, sweet & smiley and full of the joys of spring, I am not.

I have a dry sense of humour. I am also incredibly sarcastic. I like dark humour and very silly humour too (my Sister, Cousin and I quote Monty Python sketches to each other via text). I’m not a laugh-out-loud funny kind of person, but I like to be witty, (especially in the written form). I love a funny quote or GIF and I really enjoy a bit of banter with friends.

Dave and I can be very sarcastic and jokey to each other too — he’s actually much worse than me!

I’m also prone to being grumpy, especially when I haven’t had a lot of sleep. I like my own company a lot, and am terrible (I get anxiety) at really stepping out of my comfort zone. I like doing things my own way (control freak!) and I also can’t sit still for long; I’m quite highly strung.

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I’m also like Alexandra too i.e. I’m competitive at times. Because if I was going to do something like Strictly, (i.e. if I was entering a dance competition as high profile as that) well, I would want to win too! Not in a bitchy ‘I’d tread all over anyone to get there‘ kind of way, but in a ‘I’m going to try really hard to win this‘ way.

I probably wouldn’t come across as humble or sweet on TV either.

I was studious at school (I worked hard) and then at work I tried climbing high up the career ladder. Some other colleagues around me where the same, and yet equally there were many others who weren’t. I liked managing people and was good at taking on responsibility.

In the early days of parent blogging and social media it was apparent that people behaved a certain way. Lots of people followed one path and we were all quite similar. There were many of us saying and doing the same kind of things and that’s how it was. However, now, (thanks to Instagram Stories I believe) it’s totally more than OK to 100% be yourself and not be like the masses.

No matter what you’re like/no matter how funny, silly, moany, sarcastic, normal or bonkers you are, people are lapping up true honesty within social media more than ever.

Some days I’m bouncy & happy and incredibly high on life, but I can also be grumpy if the twins / Hubby / snow / other drivers annoy me. Other days I am in a daft mood and find humour in everything. I’m definitely more aware of who I am now and am therefore so much happier in my own skin because of this.

I’ve also got myself to a point within blogging and influencing where I too am sharing my full personality and going with it, rather than trying to hide the bits of me that I don’t think people want to see, or because I am ‘creating a brand’ that actually isn’t 100% me. I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.

I’m not knocking anyone who’s always happy IRL in this post though, please don’t get me wrong, I have many friends who are like this and I adore them. I’m merely pointing out that everyone is different, which is very cool, but that it has taken me a really long time to figure this out. I’m actually saying that being yourself is what makes you unique and wonderful.

Whatever you’re like, be that. Do you and go with it. Embrace it.

Obviously if you’re feeling unhappy or not fulfilled right now, then you need to do something about it, but don’t try to be someone you’re not. Definitely DON’T try to be like someone else. And if people don’t like you for you, then that’s OK…we don’t all have to be best friends.

The most attractive and appealing quality in anyone though is being genuine — and that’s an incredible character to have. We all truly admire people like that.

Love, Jess x

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Jess Soothill

Jess is a Mother of twins, blogger and writer.

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12 Comments

  1. March 21, 2018 / 4:37 pm

    I love this post and everything you have written, I can relate to a lot of it. You certainly come across as a nice person on Instagram Stories from what I’ve seen. I do think confidence comes with age and once you’ve had children you do change and start to not care too much what others think. Having said that, I get completely overwhelmed with Instagram and it does make me doubt myself a lot but I think, from what I have seen, most people feel like that at some point.

    • Jess
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 2:13 pm

      I know what you mean about Instagram. It CAN make me feel like that too. The best thing I read was to unfollow any account that makes you feel terrible and follow ones that make you feel good. I definitely can feel down spending too much time on it too 🙂 Thanks for commenting, much appreciated xx

  2. March 21, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    Love this, Jess!! The older I get, the happier I am but I do still struggle on Instagram and social media as a whole if it means being in front of a camera. I’ve recently realised why, though … I prefer my face when I frown but I always feel obliged to smile. My goal this year is to embrace the frown and potentially release my best eye roll on the online world.

    • Jess
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      You are beautiful with our without your frown! GET ON STORIES. You know I think you’re funny and amazing and should be in front of that camera more. Do it! Jess xx

  3. March 21, 2018 / 10:25 pm

    Fab post Jess! I feel like I’m probably very similar to you-certainly a grumpy moo with little sleep and very sarcastic. Though I’m not quite in the comfortable zone yet though would certainly like to be. I’m 35 in a few weeks so I’m hoping that’s something that comes with age. Xx

    • Jess
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 2:17 pm

      Ha ha we’d be the best of friends! Enjoy your birthday and have a fab time 🙂 xx

  4. Candice
    March 21, 2018 / 11:01 pm

    Love this post, I couldn’t agree more about a lot you have written.
    I go through up and downs of wanting to please others, to thinking oh sod it, I am who I am! I definitely feel a lot more this way since having a baby, I care a lot less!!
    Xx

    • Jess
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 2:18 pm

      Exactly. I think our 20’s and early 30’s are largely driven by wanting to be friends with everyone/pleasing others – then by the time 40 comes you realise that it’s impossible to please all of the people, all of the time. I’m a nice person but definitely have my flaws and yet I’m the happiest ever. Yes to ALL THE confidence too 🙂 xx

  5. Kelly
    March 22, 2018 / 8:41 am

    For a minute there I thought you were describing me:

    “I’m also prone to being grumpy, especially when I haven’t had a lot of sleep. I like my own company a lot, and am terrible (I get anxiety) at really stepping out of my comfort zone. I like doing things my own way (control freak!)”

    I’m a very happy person on the inside, though I don’t feel the need to walk around with a constant smile and a giggle on my face; I sometimes offend people when I don’t ‘over laugh’ at their jokes.
    I’m only 24 though and I still struggle a lot at feeling confident to just be myself, I still find myself altering (just slightly) depending who I am with. It’s something I’m really trying to work at as I want to be able to be confident in being myself.
    I’d say my worst thing is being a ‘nodder’. Just nodding in agreement with something being said even though I might completely disagree, just because I don’t want confrontation.

    Loved this post, definitely given me inspiration to BE MYSELF!! X

    • Jess
      Author
      March 22, 2018 / 2:25 pm

      Absolutely! And I guess you don’t have to wait until you’re 40 to realise this. I used to think that I should be more friendly and nice because people LOVE people like that — but that’s not 100% me! I’m friendly and sociable but have so much more that makes me tick. I’m determined, driven and competitive but people don’t necessarily think they’re attractive qualities in women — when indeed they are. Go you and good luck with all you do. thanks for commenting to –appreciate it xx

  6. March 24, 2018 / 8:30 am

    Love this Jess and you could have been writing about me! I turn 40 soon too and whilst I’m not quite at the stage where I’m fully comfortable with myself. I know that’s where I want to be!

    • Jess
      Author
      March 24, 2018 / 2:09 pm

      Oh wow really? You too then… HAPPY BIRTHDAY! x Well don’t worry, I am sure you’ll get there — a lot of it is finally accepting that most people’s opinions around you don’t matter all that much! Once you realise it’s about a few people who love you I have found myself much happier. And thanks for commenting lovely xx

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