I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks, not just on a media level with the article in the Sunday Express, it’s been interesting on a much more personal level as well.
The headline of the article starts “Former Model and Single Mum…..”, this gave me pause for thought as neither of those titles are ones I would ever use to describe myself. Taking this a step further made me think about something a very close friend of mine was talking about a few months ago. He was questioning whether the way we introduce ourselves,( in terms of our occupation) defines how we see ourselves? Good point, but these descriptions of me led me to take this hypothesis a bit further.
I was talking last week about meeting new people and having to explain about my life and why I find other peoples’ so much more interesting than mine. We all reveal a lot about ourselves when meeting someone new and getting to know each other. It can be so interesting to listen to what people say and can give a huge amount of insight into who they feel they are inside, which can be very different to how they come across. Using the words ‘just’ or ‘only’ in front of a job description is a big clue as to how important the person sees themselves, you won’t often find someone introducing themselves as being ‘just a solicitor’ or ‘only a doctor’! These are jobs that automatically seem to carry weight and authority, however, you’ll often hear people describe themselves as being ‘just a waiter’ or that they ‘only work in a shop’. I would argue that neither job is more or less important than the other, it’s people’s perceptions of worthiness that create the judgements.
I also believe that how we see ourselves is how we encourage others to see us, so, if we always refer to ourselves as a ‘single mum’, that is how people will treat us in accordance with whatever the publics’ perception of that description may be. If we always put the word ‘only’ in front of our job description the same thing will happen but, imagine if you will, a world without waiters, shop assistants and refuse collectors (especially that last one!), how much less fun and how much harder would our lives be?
But it isn’t just our job title that gives us away, we define ourselves in a lot of other ways as well. As I’ve already said, it would never occur to me to introduce myself as a ‘former model’ or ‘single mum’, I just don’t see myself in those terms. So, who do I think I am? First and foremost, always, I’m a mum, single or otherwise. Secondly, I have a degree of expertise in the area of Autism, not any letters behind my name but front-line, hands-on experience, this gives me the gift of sometimes being able to guide others with any autism related challenges they may be having. I also write, am a professional speaker and campaign whenever the opportunity arises via the media, or or any other platform I can get my hands on, to raise awareness about what autism really is! I also try my hardest to be the best ‘me’ I can be, but there isn’t a title for that one!
We put ourselves down without even knowing we’re doing it and it only takes one word to tell people that we don’t have a very high self-esteem!
Listen to yourself the next time you tell someone who you are and listen to the voice in your head as well, is that telling you you’re not worthy in some way or less advantaged because of your circumstances? If it is……STOP IT! You are who you believe yourself to be and, trust me, you are awesome!