Nothing to Prove

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I stood on the top of that 6 foot wall in Spain and I felt on top of the world. I was high on nothing but sunshine and a couple of tins of San Miguel. I looked down at my daughters and partner, who were already safely on the concrete pavement below and I thought to myself: they think that I will be scared to jump. I saw partner’s outstretched hand, offering me a safety net that I just didn’t want. I wanted to show them all that I could do it and not only that, that I could do it better than them – that I could exceed all their expectations.

Three hospital visits later: one broken foot, a broken finger and a severely dented pride, I have learnt that lesson that you would have thought I may have grasped in my 20’s, perhaps even in my teens. That lesson that we teach our kids about not needing to prove anything to others. That the people who we want to impress, just want us to be ourselves. The day after I jumped onto the concrete pavement, daughter 2 said to me: you are acting like a teenager. It wasn’t a compliment. She wasn’t telling me that I looked young and vibrant. She wasn’t high fiving me for my energy and enthusiasm. She was saying that I was trying to be someone I wasn’t and that I should stop.

With the start of the new school year this message is a poignant one. One of our main concerns as parents when a child starts a new school, is not their grades, but more that they will make friends. We tell our children to be themselves. We talk to our older children about not changing so people will like you, but rather to be yourself and quickly the right people will love the real you. My kids and partner didn’t want to see me jumping confidently off that wall. They wanted to see my vulnerability, because that is the real me. I am not a teenager, I am not the person who I stood at the top of that wall and decided, in those few moments that I wanted to be. I am vulnerable and that is why my partner offered me his hand. That is why my daughters were looking up and gently encouraging me to get safely down.

I think that standing on that wall was actually a metaphor for my life. So often I try to live up to my perception of other people’s expectations of me and then to try and exceed those perceived expectations. Yet what I am actually able to achieve is not what others think I am capable of, but what I choose to do: how I choose to use my time and energy. So I should stop worrying about what other people think and live for me.

What we should be telling our children is not to lose sight of themselves by just doing what they think other people want them to do. They must follow their own path and be their own person. Life is not a race: we grow on our journey, not by reaching the destination and there will be fuck ups along the way – that is ok. That is how we learn. We have nothing to prove and you know what? The older I get, the more I realise that you can never please everyone anyway and so the most important thing in life is to please yourself, to find your own happiness.

As Marc Chernoff says in his article: 7 Reasons to Stop Proving Yourself to Everyone Else, “Care less about who you are to others and more about who you are to yourself.  You will have less heartaches and disappointments the minute you stop seeking from others the validation only YOU can give yourself.”

Standing on the top of that wall, I didn’t need to prove that I was able to jump. I didn’t need to prove anything and you know what I have learnt – that life is a lot less painful when you embrace who you really are.

img_2567Feet and hand on ice, but toasting the real me!

I’ve been shortlisted in the Best Writer category for the Mumsnet Blogging Awards! Please vote for me by clicking on the link below – it takes literally a millisecond. Thank you 🙂

http://www.mumsnet.com/events/blogging-awards/2016/best-writer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 thoughts on “Nothing to Prove”

  1. #fortheloveofblog it’s true and perception and physical attributes complicate things – it’s the moments and the love that matter, so why I’m so obsessed by my appearance beats me. #workingprogress 😉

  2. Blimey I wasn’t expecting that. Hope you’re recovering physically. We’re always learning though aren’t we ? Many congrats on your award nomination too – great achivement #kcacols

  3. Oh my God that sounds like a nasty accident. Hope you are healed now. I so agree with what you have said – I always tell my teen girls to be true to themselves without noticing that I do not!! However, as I’m getting older (nearly 50) I am starting to care less about what others think. I’m going to be really embarrassing by the time I’m 70!! #KCACOLS

  4. That sounds painful – I hope you are ok? I was just this morning thinking about how when I was in my teens and early 20s I worried too much about what people thought. These days I’m much more comfortable and worry a lot less about what people think and am a lot happier for it.

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS I hope to see you back again next week X

    1. Still feeling the pain! It’s definitely quite liberating worrying less what people think though, isn’t it? Thank you for commenting x

  5. Oh wow, I totally wasn’t expecting that outcome-I hope you’re healing well. Sometimes, I find myself trying to “show off” in front of my husband, and it tends to end up in, at minimum, a bruised ego. Being ourselves really is the most important thing. At this point in my life, I have shrugged off the opinions of others, and I really am so much happier. Thanks for sharing! <3 #KCACOLS

  6. Oooh, congratulations on making the shortlist for the awards! Excellent work!! Well, I absolutely love the honesty in your post. It sounds like an absolutely horrendous way to learn this life lesson, but it sounds like it’s made you re-evaluate quite seriously!! I absolutely love the quote (I’ve picked up a few great quotes from posts I’ve read today!) and will be adding this one. I am absolutely terrible at seeking validation from others. And I think I’m slowly realising that I just need to do the things that suit me, and be who I want to be. It’s only taken 33 years, but I think at this point in my life, I give the fewest f***s than I’ve ever given. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’ve definitely something away from this, to put into use while continuing to be the person I want to be-so thank you for that! I really hope you’re all healed soon!!
    #bigpinklink

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I pick up so many good quotes from blogs too. I wish I hadn’t had to learn my lesson in such a painful way, but someone was definitely telling me something.

  7. oh no! Poor thing! Yesterday i though I could assemble the trampoline without shoes on until I nearly broke my foot, luckily I didn’t but gosh it hurt and it left me on the sidelines with my foot raised on covered in ice! Yep silly me! You still look gorgeous in that photo though! A really great post with such an important message! One of my fav’s linked up with #mg!

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