Tag Archives: proud

QUALIFIED

58529680

Hello, lovely reader!  How are you doing?

After an absolutely glorious run of preview performances, Tumbling After (the show I’m directing) is now ready to undergo some nips, tucks and general tidying before we take it to the Edinburgh Fringe.  I’d like to say an enormous, heartfelt, cuddly thank you to everyone who has contributed their time, money and energy in order to get this show together.  It has been and continues to be an absolute blast.

Putting on a show is a very demanding process, and it tends to rob you of free time (and clean clothes, sleep, a social life and verbal dexterity).  Now that previews are done, I’ve managed to catch up on most of these things, so I’m free to tell you all about my exciting new project: QUALIFIED.

I guarantee you that you could hand me my best friend’s CV and, apart from the name at the top, I wouldn’t recognise a single syllable of it.  This is because the things that we are most proud of, or that our friends know us for, are not necessarily the things that employers need to know.  Our CVs are not just edited descriptions of our lives: they are censored, trimmed and tarted up to make us seem like consummate professionals who’ve never experienced a moment’s uncertainty.  This is all fine for the world of work, but in real life we are so much more than the sum of our A Levels.

Real-life qualifications are definitely something to be proud of, but I don’t think they mean anything when compared with everything else we can achieve as human beings.  The love you show to people, the difficult situations you endure and the challenges you rise to meet are all integral to your identity, but how on earth do you fit them into “hobbies and interests”?  We’re qualified for all sorts of things that have nothing to do with work.

With that in mind, I have decided to start a series of interviews on this blog, asking people what they are most proud of in their lives.  Some of them will, I’m sure, be CV suitable – but I’m really looking forward to finding out about some of the less employment-relevant ones.  First up will be fashion designer and all-round wonder woman Cieranne Kennedy-Bell of CKB Vintage – look out for that interview on Friday.

I’d love to hear from people from all walks of life, so if you’d like to get involved with this project, please leave me a comment on this post and feel free to spread the word!

Have a gorgeous Thursday.  Your hair looks tremendous, by the way.

Advertisements

Getting Confidence Without Having to Teach Seven Kids

raw_file_url

Hello, dear reader!  How’s your Tuesday so far?  Surprisingly amusing, I hope.

Today I’d like to talk to you about confidence.  All sorts of things can knock our self-esteem sideways, and sometimes we might not realise how much of our oomph we’ve lost until it feels too late to do anything about it.  Whether it’s a soul-destroying job or a bad break up, we all go through things that can leave us feeling diminished.

In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews’ nun-turned-governess attempts to overcome her own confidence issues by literally singing herself into self-belief.  While I appreciate that marching through the streets of Salzburg with a guitar and an enormous hat might have its psychological benefits, I’m not sure how practical that course of action is for most of us.  Let’s find a slightly less extreme way of battling our blues.

First of all, confidence is – and forgive me for getting a bit theatre-ish out of context – a huge piece of performance.  Some people who seem confident aren’t actually feeling too great about themselves, which is why we tend to respond negatively to arrogance: we can vaguely detect a whiff of bullpoo beneath the boasting.  Having said that, putting on a show of confidence will inevitably lead to you feeling better about yourself.  After all, if you can convince people around you that you are something special (which you definitely and truly are), then you will eventually manage to convince yourself.  We should act confidently but not arrogantly, basically.  Confidence comes from reality and arrogance comes from misplaced wishful thinking.

Secondly, take the time to be proud of yourself for things that you’re good at.  Something as small as making the perfect cup of tea or being especially good at opening tricky jars is still a point in your favour.  It is silly at best and damaging at worst to dismiss your virtues as “only” this or “not as good as” whatever.  A talent is a talent, so don’t discredit yours.  I guarantee you that for every seemingly insignificant skill you have there will be a hundred people who are desperately envious of it.

Thirdly, listen to people who compliment you (unless you can sense that aforementioned scent of offensive falsehood, in which case put your hand over your nose and back away slowly).  People who know you and love you don’t say nice things about you for the hell of it: they want you to see yourself the way they see you.  I know for a fact that I have become more confident during the past few months, and that my friends have been pleasantly surprised by my reduced (only incrementally reduced, but still reduced) tendency to beat myself up over stuff that doesn’t matter.

Next, don’t let the little things get you down.  One bad date or one failed job application does not take anything away from who you are.  Hundreds of bad dates and thousands of failed job applications doesn’t make any difference, either.  Just because some people don’t recognise what you are capable of does not mean that you aren’t good enough.  After all, you know yourself a lot better than these people do, so who are they to make you doubt yourself?

Finally, understand that everyone is battling with the same self-doubt as you are.  The wise-cracker at a party who has everyone in stitches might be desperately unsure of ever finding love, or the perpetually popular party girl might be riddled with uncertainty about her personality being as attractive as her face.  You are not the only person whose confidence is fragile or a façade.  If you get the hang of being genuinely nice to yourself, you can spend more time telling the people you love all the nice things that you appreciate about them.

In fact, go and do that right now – tell a friend or loved one something that you like about them.  Hopefully it will kick-start a truly marvellous Tuesday.

Deliver Us to Temptation

2014-02-03-GeorgeBernardShaw

Good morning, you gorgeous creature!  How was your bank holiday weekend?

Today I’d like to have a chat about temptation and what it means to each of us.  To a married person it might mean avoiding the temptation to flirt with an attractive stranger; to a student it could be staying home to revise on a Saturday night.  To a lot of Londoners it’s deciding not to push tourists down the escalators, and for pretty much everyone it’s not kicking your television in when Simon Cowell makes an appearance on it.

Being tempted in any sense is a bit of an ordeal, because it combines two juxtaposing things: the opportunity to have something that we want, and the anticipation of impending doom.  It’s lovely to imagine obtaining something that would make us happy, but the key is to remember that that happiness would only be fleeting.  The person on a strict diet is only happy for as long as takes to consume a doughnut, and the recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon will only have their hangover as a souvenir of the fun times.  Greatness comes before a fall, look before you leap and bad things come to those who just can’t wait.

The key to successfully defeating temptation is, bizarrely, not to avoid it.  Repeatedly facing temptation makes us better at seeing it for what it is: a very temporary sensation that would have catastrophic effects in the long run.  Not many people have the clear-sightedness to see past the moment of temptation, but the more times we come up against these moments, the better we become at looking beyond them.  George Bernard Shaw said, “virtue is insufficient temptation”, but I think virtue is actually temptation that got bored and was eventually forced to leave us alone.  We won’t become people we are proud of by avoiding the things that could ruin us: we become those people by standing up to our demons and saying “bog off, demons.  I’ve got better things to do.”

Speaking of which, have a glorious Tuesday.  I hope you tick lots of things off your to do list.