I’m kind of a sucker for clickbait. Celebrities without makeup! 24 ways to eat an avocado! 77 puppies so cute your heart might actually stop beating! You get the gist. So naturally when I saw the headline “11 women with their shit together” on Man Repeller, you bet I clicked over and bookmarked without a moment’s hesitation. I haven’t even finished reading the entire thing but I was just instantly struck by this one quote from New York Magazine columnist Heather Havrilesky:
Man Repeller: Finally, any words of wisdom or advice about “getting your shit together” that you wish someone told you years ago?
Heather Havrilesky: Decide what you love and sacrifice to do it. Don’t expect to be as good as other people at everything. Find a way to satisfy some of your emotional needs through your alone time or your hobbies or your work. It’s hard to be a good friend or a good partner or a good parent if you don’t know how to address your own needs first and foremost. If you don’t know what you want or need or how to satisfy your emotions, then you have to figure that out. That needs to be a top priority. But above all, don’t model yourself on other people, based on some scoldy voice in your head. You might be obsessed with being amazingly well dressed precisely because, at some level, you know that’s not really you. What’s ironic is that sometimes we fixate on the things that we just don’t give a shit about when push comes to shove. It’s just another way of hating ourselves for who we actually are! I think letting go is a giant part of getting your shit together. Knowing who you are and what you care about, and being unafraid to show THAT person with THOSE priorities to the world, is everything.
“What’s ironic is that sometimes we fixate on the things that we just don’t give a shit about when push comes to shove. It’s just another way of hating ourselves for who we actually are!” Who else nodded their head while reading those two sentences?! It was this little aha! moment for me: there are some things I care a lot about, some things that simply are not a priority to me right now, and if I hold myself to the highest standard for all of them, I’ll always find a way to hate something about myself.
“Decide what you love and sacrifice to do it.” I care about being a good daughter, sibling, fiancée, friend, and boss. I’m focused on looking after my mental and physical well-being in a way I haven’t for too many years. I have a job I love where the only limitations are the ones I needlessly put on myself. And I don’t doubt that I would be better at all of that if I cut myself some slack on the stuff that I’m not only bad at but also honestly don’t care about being good at, at least in this stage of my life.
Here’s an example for you. Last week I wrote a post called “getting real about getting fit” and it got a ton of traffic, comments, and positive feedback on social media. Woohooo, right? But a ton of readers asked to know what I’m eating, cooking, snacking on, etc. and it took 0.2 seconds for the guilt set in. Right now, as Will and I focus on furthering our careers and making friends in a new city and planning our wedding, it’s all about takeout in our house. And one day I hope I’ll be whipping up homemade meals for my family and saving money by not eating out all the time — but honestly, today is not that day and it would feel pretty freaking awesome to stop beating myself up about it. I’m sure that makes me less relatable or less inspiring or any number of things I could continue to hate myself for. But when I’m totally honest with myself, cooking at home is something I just do not give a shit about right now. Pardon my French but it feels pretty great to be honest with all of you too.
I guess my point (paraphrased from Heather’s) is we’re all so good at beating ourselves up, often for things we don’t even really care that much about. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What’s important to you right now? And what’s one thing you need to stop hating yourself for? Please be kind in the comments and, even more importantly, let’s all be a little kinder to ourselves.