You are normal if you are still figuring out:

This is a really good time to remember that the overwhelming majority of us were not actively and healthily taught how to do any of the above. There’s also our internalised negative messaging about honesty, being ourselves, saying no, having boundaries, getting things wrong, prioritising ourselves, and the list goes on.

We live in a world that socialised us to be compliant and to become disassociated from our needs, desires, expectations, feelings and opinions.

We also live in a very capitalistic society and culture that values exploitation of the self by behaving like machines at work and seeing material goods and ticking society’s boxes as ‘success’. Given that we’ve grown up in a society that has only recently given thought to emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being–true health–it’s no surprise that we’re all still figuring out how to be.

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of criticising yourself for not being further on than you are right now. You might believe there’s something wrong with you for not knowing better or knowing everything. You probably think that you’re supposed to do these perfectly or achieve a certain level.

Nope, you’re entirely normal if you’re still figuring yourself out. Hate to break it to you, you will always be in some way, shape or form. Not necessarily intensely, but life will always call on you to try and show up as yourself. And that will evolve over time. Even the people you think have it all figured out are figuring themselves out. It’s called living. Cut yourself some slack.

If you actively remember that you’re normal, you will realise just how much you have overcome and give yourself some grace. Well done for even trying to figure this stuff out in the first place! Not everyone wants to come out of the dark and break from the herd.

The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon/HarperCollins) is out now and available in bookshops on and offline. Listen to the first chapter.

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