In the Summer my 11 year old daughter went to a drama club. This club was being run by one of the original cast members of Matilda (the musical) and another actor who I knew from my time working as a theatre director.

As I dropped child number 2 off for her day of fun, I got chatting with my actor friend. Our conversation ambled along predictable lines while I propelled my son back to the car. Soon enough he asked me if I was still working in the theatre. I told him no, that just over a year ago I decided to give it a break for a while.

When he asked why, I uttered the cheesiest thing. I said,

“I was sick of waiting to be picked. I decided to pick myself.”

I cringed.

This felt icky.

I looked to the floor.

The next day, I was still ruminating on my spontaneous answer.

By now I had gotten over my professional embarrassment and was thinking about the importance of this statement.

I picked myself.

I pick me.

For a long time I wouldnt have picked myself. I didn’t think I had much to offer. Everything I’d tried I had, if not failed at, then at least come up wanting. I felt frustrated and disappointed with my efforts at life. Parenting, my career, living adventurously, travelling, having an exciting social life, my home.

I didn’t feel I had excelled at anything.

I was so focused on the imaginary bar I was not reaching that I disqualified myself from everything.

I know this wasn’t how I appeared.

I am a talkative person and to all outward appearances, pretty confident, but on the inside I felt like a fraud, a fake, a failure.

Even when things were going well, there was always further to go. I could always be more popular or more in demand, I could always be thinner and cleverer, more successful.

The stick I was measuring myself against never seem to measure my growth, only where I was lacking.

It has taken many years to slowly build the self-worth and belief that I have a worthwhile contribution to offer, that I am a person that matters.

But over the last few years with the help of my therapist, the love of my friends and the space to think about what I really want and who I really am, I have learnt, decided, determined, to pick myself.

I have found the only person who can give me permission to live the life I really want, of meaning and substance and joy, is me.

So here is a mantra of love to myself, that the younger me would have cringed at and never been able to write. An anthem of acceptance of the whole of me, just as I am, in this present moment. A declaration that I am worthy of being picked and I will continue to pick myself, despite and regardless of my very obvious and flawed humanity.

I Pick Me

I pick me.

Disorganised, big-hearted, plain-speaking.

I pick me.

Big thighs and small waist, gappy teeth and deep dimples.

I pick me.

Over-sharer, idea-generator, talking too much.

I pick me.

Uncertain, faithful, hopeful.

I pick me.

On long walks and in deep conversation.

I pick me.

Irreverent, a critical thinker, generous.

I pick me.

Enthusiast, great starter, poor finisher.

Lover, Mother, Sister, Friend,

Writer, doodler, over-thinker.

I pick me.

When I am doing well and when nothing is going my way.

I pick me anyway.

This desire to choose my whole self, to not be ashamed of any part of me, has set things in motion.

I speak with more confidence, I show up more often. I have become more sure of what I think about things and when I am not sure I don’t hesitate to ask for help, or to question. I have started to invest in myself, in developing skills I am interested in and being more deliberate about who I spend time with.

Of course, I am still undeniably human and have plenty of wobbly moments, but when I do I try to go back and remind myself of the all the reasons why I pick me.

How about you? Do you pick yourself? Are you aware of all the brilliant, creative unique things about you?

If this feels unbelievably icky, don’t worry, I totally get it, I struggled with this too (still often do).

But can I implore you, start to value yourself, learn to pick yourself.

If you don’t know where to start, here’s an idea I heard the other day and have become quite enamoured with:

interview yourself.

Write a list of what you know to be true about you. What are you good at? What questions or problems do other people always come to you with? What things do you find hard? What does this teach you about you?

And then ask a close friend or family member what they would say about you. Start to focus on the innate gifts you have and then gradually look at the full gamut, the entire spectrum of what makes you, you.

You are fabulous. We need you to pick yourself, so please, start to learn how to.

 

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