How to forgive yourself (one me at a time)

Have you ever had one of those days when it feels you can’t do anything right?

I have spent the last month dividing myself between working, setting up a side project, organising a big fundraising event, going to every social occasion I have been invited to, seeing my friends and spending time with my family. I have never felt more alive and I just loved it.

But when you are trying to juggle too many things, eventually, one after the other, they will start slipping out from your hands. Slowly, I started to feel like I just couldn’t be everywhere, and that while I was focusing my energy on one thing, I was also somehow neglecting all the others. I just couldn’t manage to do everything at my best and be fully present in every situation.

And then one morning, it finally happened. Overwhelmed by a kilometric to do list, feeling pressured by too many deadlines and guilty for not being able to be there for the people I love, as I made a small mistake at work, I felt the world collapsing and I bursted into tears.

So there I was, hidden in the toilet of my office, crying inconsolably, for no reason and for many reasons.

When my eyes caught my reflection in the mirror, I stopped for a second and looked at myself. “What is going on? Why do I feel such a failure despite all the things I am managing to do?”.

You know how they say women are able to do many things at the same time? Well, that day, while my mascara was running down in the ladies of the 4th floor, I realised that what we are actually capable of, is to be many things at the same time.

We are skilled professionals AND supportive partners AND trustful friends AND caring mothers AND loving daughters. We are all this and not just any of these, but we can’t expect to be the very best version of all these versions of ourself at all time. That is simply not realistic.

What to do then?

I never really managed to “forgive myself” when I failed or felt I wasn’t good enough at something (sounds familiar?), but now, while looking in the mirror, I wasn’t seeing myself as one me anymore: I was seeing myself as a composition of a professional-me, and a partner-me, and a daughter-me, and afriend-me and so on.

Therefore, I made an experiment. “Maybe I can try and forgive just one of my mes? Yes, today my professional-me is a mess, but you know what? That is OK. Because for example my daughter-me can still be great”. So I picked up the phone and texted my mum: “It is so hard to be on top of everything sometimes. Today, my professional-me would simply want to tuck in bed and sleep. My daughter-me instead, is thinking of you and loves you very much. If today, for any reasons, you will feel down, please remember that your mum-me is amazing”.

It worked.

Why don’t you try it too?

This blog post is dedicated to all the amazing women I know, who are trying their best every day and never stop, even when their mascara is running down.