I shared a casual business conversation with my father the other day, a man whose pep talks on self-employment have been very helpful to me lately, and he stared at me intently as he noted, “you know, Nat, all your struggles have simply come from a place of low confidence. And maturity is all about knowing when to take no more shit from others” – and despite that these very words shouldn’t have been particularly surprising, they somehow caused me to reflect. 2020 is already all about the life lessons – and the greatest one is only just teaching me a thing or two about the people I choose to surround myself with. I absolutely adore my friend group, I’ve rid myself of family members whose presence felt more tedious than enjoyable, yet certain relationships in my life have left a dent on recent months. There’s something truly unfortunate about being blinded by affection; thinking so highly of someone who regards you ever so poorly. It ate up my confidence; I retracted back into my shell, my introversion reached its peak. And most alarmingly? It took a toll on my work.
I cannot emphasise the importance of your chosen circle enough. I remember a time when relationships in my life felt emotionally, mentally – sometimes, physically – draining. Those ‘friends’ who felt compelled to throw in passive insults at every living chance they obtained, the individuals who bred negativity. The narcissists you’d always walk on eggshells around, the partners who did not truly think much of you. We’ve all met them, maybe even been them. And as you age, you only do begin to realise just how limited your days are; how precious each living moment truly is. None of it is worth wasting on unfulfilling romantic encounters or relationships that wreak havoc in your life. And it might sometimes slip your mind or solely occur in your subconscious state, but the relationships you choose to cultivate have a direct effect on your happiness, your confidence, and your work.
We hold the opinions of our loved ones highly, and there is beauty in that, but the thoughts that accumulate in that compelling mind of yours matter more. The words of another, even if that other happens to be your soulmate, shouldn’t define the life you lead. A strong-willed woman will live life on her own terms – please do remember this.
My opinions and career choices have certainly pushed away people in the past. And recently, I struggled to accept that individuals I valued most and thought of ever so highly, were so incredibly unsupportive of my dreams and career’s journey. But I held on to what mattered, because truthfully? I’d never forgive myself if I gave up my goals for another’s acceptance. And you should reason similarly.
Photos from brighter days –