It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded a post of my own – the guest posts have all gone ahead as scheduled, but my own content has been lacking. It seems my inspiration and motivation took a last minute holiday without telling me. When Fiona from Like As the Waves nominated me for this award not only was I thrilled by her continuing support of this blog and generosity in nominating me, but I thought it might be a good opportunity to get the writing juices flowing again and see if after this I can finish one of the half-formed drafts lurking around the shadowy corners of WordPress.
The Flawesome Award
The Flawesome Award was created by Sophia Ismaa, and as Sophia herself says, the award is designed to “celebrate the flaws that make you awesome.” Sophia goes on to say:
How many times do we see an award that celebrates all things bright and shiny and sunny in a person? How often do we forget that our weaknesses can be a strength? Our flaws make us human, our flaws tell us more about who we are, and in turn we turn those flaws into awesome strengths. In short, our flaws make us #flawesome.
After nearly a decade of Tyra Banks telling me to celebrate my flaws, I decided to create an award that celebrates our own flaws.
I love the idea of looking at things in a different way, and considering the stronger side to our perceived weaknesses. It’s all too easy to focus on the negative, creating mountains out of molehills, can’ts instead of cans, and all the rest in between. I’ve already thought about this post and am anticipating a challenge, so without further ado, I suppose I ought to get stuck in.
First of all, the rules. Rules make things fun for everyone!
- Link back to the creator – Sophia Ismaa Writes
- Display the award
- List 3 flaws and turn it into a strength
- Tag 10 other people
I could probably write for days about my flaws, it’s working out how they might turn into a strength that’s got me stumped.
I have very high expectations of people
This is a flaw of mine, as I more often than not completely fail to understand that other people don’t work the same way I do. Not everyone over thinks and analyses everything they and everyone else says or does. Not everyone keeps themselves contained in a weird little bauble, being shielded from scary emotions, harm, and actual human feeling. This has been most prominent when I’ve started new jobs – I have been completely at a loss as to why new managers aren’t constantly checking on me, seeing how things are going, catching up, anything.
When I’ve been a manager, I like to think I was a pretty good one. You won’t hear me toot my own horn very often, but I will with that. I cared about my team members, asking how they were getting on, what they needed help with. I empowered them to become the best they could at their jobs, but I haven’t always had the same in return.
My high expectations lead to disappointment rather frequently, however, it does mean that, for the most part, I tend to treat other people pretty well. I’m quite well attuned to how someone might be feeling in a certain situation, and try to act accordingly. Obviously I’m not perfect, but my sensitivity has allowed my to develop a more finely tuned sense of empathy for others. Reading people is something I can do quite well, simply because I have spent so much time agonising over what other people might think.
I’m too hard on myself
I am, at times, borderline cruel to myself, questioning every action and every thought. What does it mean, why did I do it, why on earth can’t I just be like other people? If I’ve done something wrong – that’s it. I don’t forget, I don’t forgive (myself), and I’ll use it as ‘proof’ that I’m a bad person.
This has some perverse advantages, though. My high expectations of others always come back to me being at fault somehow, and it’s hard for me to accept when something really isn’t my fault. That being said, for all my expectations, I rarely subject anyone else to the scrutiny that I do myself. I would never say the things I say to myself to a friend, or even a stranger. The criticisms I gleefully hurl at myself are internalised, for the most part, and kept out of the way of others. My strength here, again, is that I’m quite understanding of others and can be quite objective. I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel the way about themselves that I sometimes do, so I try to offer an alternative viewpoint if someone’s feeling bad about something.
You may be seeing a pattern here, and there’s certainly something to be said for listening to one’s own advice, but where’s the fun in that?
My life isn’t what I thought it would be
I didn’t expect this most recent bout of mental ill health would change my life the way it has. I’m 31. When I became ill this time, I was 27. I had a good job and a flat, I was entering into a new relationship (hi Mr Seeds, nice of you to stick around). I had friends and family. Sure, there had been some changes with the end of a long term relationship, moving out on my own, and a promotion at work within that year. There were more changes to come, with job losses, minor hospitalisations, and increasing depression.
When I was younger, I thought at this age I’d have a good job, something I enjoyed, I’d be settled. I never really put a number on marriage or kids, but perhaps they’d be on the cards. The reality is, I struggle to make money working from home. Marriage and kids are not currently an option, owing to financial insecurity and a desire to focus on my recovery. I’m not where many ‘typical’ 31-year-olds are.
This change in circumstances has given me the wonderful strength of being able to (mostly) shed these outdated expectations. No one really knows where they come from or why we internalise them, but we do. I’ve had so many similar conversations with friends about these things, many of whom haven’t even had to deal with the same shitstorm of a brain that I have. Things for our generation are wildly different to our parents. The housing market is almost impenetrable. Jobs are insecure and fiercely competitive.
My life not being where I thought had freed me from this. I’m able to focus more on myself and what I need. I no longer strive for things I can’t currently reach, and I don’t beat myself up about it. Do I still feel guilty for not being able to afford the rent? Of course I do, but I’m also much more cognisant of how temporary things can be when I’m unwell. I had a good job, good prospects, things going for me. I went on regular holidays, rather than every couple of years. Guess what? Turns out, it was temporary.
So, I’m half-employed, financially insecure, still living in a rented flat that we’re outgrowing. I’m not pregnant, I don’t even have a cat (YET). This is temporary, too. Seeing the bigger picture has taken a long time, but having these expectations in the first place has turned into a strength I am constantly grateful for.
Thank you once again to the wonderful Fiona for nominating me. This was a good post to dip my toes back into actually writing something. Of course, now I’m supposed to nominate people, which I find unbearably hard and awkward, but hey. I’ll give it a go.
These five ladies are excellent bloggers talking about real, important things. I thought I’d give them a nod for this simply because a) they’re excellent and b) it’s been so long since I’ve actually nominated anyone for anything.
With that, I depart. Thank you for reading!