Natasha is mother to 5 children who are now adults, and grandmother to 10. She reflects on ‘trying’ and ‘doing’ to be ‘good enough’ and how much that had influenced her life and what she was role-modelling until she met a role model of her own…
“I was given a birthday card a few years ago with the words, ‘You are all kinds of awesome’ on it. I put the card in a letter rack in my office and it looked at me for a long time. In all honesty, most of the time I didn’t feel that I lived up to the card. I had been highly critical of myself for most of my life. I always thought I’d have to ‘do’ something spectacular to meet the criteria of ‘awesome’ and spent a lot of energy ‘doing’ to try and achieve this. I was constantly chasing my tail to ‘do’ and ‘get’ the approval and recognition, and yet so frequently stuffing up and feeling bad again. It was a repetitive cycle.
I can see how this had played out in my family, where my children and I, all looked for recognition for the things that we did. I was a single parent, so I ‘did’ a lot. ‘Doing’ seemed really important for all of us. My kids were ‘doing’ and ‘trying’ in school and at home as much as I was in my workplace and in my family, all to be the ‘best.’ Even if I allowed myself the grace to be just ‘okay’, ‘doing’ was still part of the grinding treadmill I was moving on. Just talking about all the ‘doing’ felt exhausting. Being caught up with ‘doing’ was killing me and modelling a pattern of behaviour for my kids that was sending them down the same road. I had tried so hard, worked and pushed myself to be ‘good enough’ that I didn’t even realise when I had been running on empty. All it took to please me was the buzz I got from someone acknowledging what I’d done. But it was always very short-lived, as once praised, it felt hollow again inside pretty quickly, so I would work on getting the next piece of praise.
To consider that, without any doing at all, I could be ‘awesome’ had been a niggling worm. I couldn’t but consider it.
Then, something incredible happened… I had a role model who was able to ‘parent’ me and they modelled something altogether different.
I saw something in them that I knew I could walk myself. They were an adult in the world, they were a parent, and they were awesome without even thinking about it. Nothing hard at all, no ‘trying’ whatsoever. Not a shred. It dawned on me…
What if we make everything complicated to distract us from what is incredibly
It got me thinking…when we hold a baby, we can feel they are so awesome without having to ‘do’ anything, literally nothing. They simply lay there and shine out a beauty we all can feel. What if that does not leave us and we are, in all ways, the same?
If we are the same, then we don’t need to ‘big ourselves up’ or rah-rah ourselves into awesomeness. My role model was showing me what was possible to live. That the simplicity is in our cells and particles, and we can’t get away from it because it’s part of our very physical make-up and structure – our being.
I know I spent way too long investing in the opposite of what we are naturally born with, grabbing self-doubt, angst and self-criticism (to name but a few), all to keep me away from who I am.
All the doing and trying in the world had never let me feel or see anything like what I was now being role-modelled as a way of life.”