“Having it all together” is a myth
|This blog post contains the word ‘shit’. If you’re not a fan of it, feel free to stop reading now|
Having our shit together.
How often do we think and talk about that?
How often do we look at others and think “They’ve got their shit together. I wish I did”?
Well, it’s time for a quick reality check. Shit-togetherness, for the most part… is a myth. It doesn’t exist the way we think it does. Not really. Sure, some people may have some of their shit together… but other parts of their shit are spread far and wide.
I realised this in a recent conversation with my own partner. We’ve been together for over 6 years now, and with my health issues, we’ve been through some pretty rough stuff, and he’s seen me at my worst. So he’s seen me depressed, miserable, near-death in a hospital bed, bawling my eyes out and dribbling on myself… the works.
Yet still… he can’t always see through the mask I don’t even always realise I’m putting on.
Just after Christmas 2016, I was struggling… big time struggling. “Admit oneself to a psychiatric ward” struggling*. I couldn’t see how to manage my life, let alone how to cope with my business, which despite deciding to take a “break” (not advertise AT ALL) and only take referral and organic clients, had just had its busiest two months in the entire two years it had been running.
I was at breaking point. I had a really, really difficult couple of days, which a dear friend helped talk me through. As I was making my way out of the abyss, I said to my partner that night “I’m sorry I’ve been so weird and snappy these last couple of days, I’ve just been really struggling with everything.”
He says, “what do you mean by everything?”
“Life, the business, everything!”
“Really?” he says to me. “I thought you had things under control in the business.”
I was flabbergasted.
Under control? UNDER CONTROL!? Did he not notice that mini-meltdown I had just yesterday all because something wasn’t working properly that he could and did, fix for me?! Did he not hear the door slam, or notice that I was about to lose the plot completely? Evidently not. Or at the very least, he assumed I was just having a funky mood and it would pass.
“So…” I said, “…you think I’ve got my shit together in terms of the business?”
“Well…” says I, “I sure as shit don’t.”
Let’s just say, he was surprised. Lots of conversation ensued, and now he’s helping me find ways to cope with the business growth. At the time of writing this, I’m still struggling to some degree, but not to the extent of having a genuine nervous breakdown any moment. Big improvement.
But here’s the revelation I had: The more someone looks like they have their shit together… the more they are trying (even subconsciously) to hide the fact that they don’t! So next time you’re worrying about comparing your shit-togetherness to someone else’s, remember this… there is a very, very good chance that their shit is in just as much disarray as your own, in its own way.
Sure, some people may have their shit together in some parts of their life… but I guarantee there’ll be something they’re dealing with, and that shit is plastered all over the place. So stop even worrying about having your shit together. If it happens, it happens. Great. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. You don’t HAVE to have (or even look like you have) your shit together all the time. Because the reality is, no one really actually does.
Even the richest or most well-off or seemingly loving families have their little secrets that outsiders have no idea about. So stop worrying about matching a façade that others are putting up.
And actually… that woman with the kids running around and the neat hair and clothes who looks so shit-togethery… she probably looks at you, wearing your shit-not-togetherness on your sleeve and thinks “I wish I was brave enough to show my true situation to the world.”
So, stop worrying about what others think, and just worry about what matters TO YOU.
Oh… and talk. Communicate… It’s amazing how much others can help, and will help you shovel that shit into place if you open up.
*Please note: Michelle uses the phrase “admit oneself to a psychiatric ward” in all seriousness. She did seriously contemplate admitting herself to somewhere that would be safe and could help her. And you know what? That is absolutely OK. Actually, it’s more than OK, it’s brave and sensible. It’s OK to need that kind of help.
If you’re struggling, or you need someone to talk to, remember you should talk to your GP, see a psychologist or therapist, or if it’s urgent or after-hours, you can call Lifeline (Australia) 13 11 14, or chat online between 7pm-4am (AEST) at Lifeline Australia. Or contact a Crisis Line in your country.
I’m Michelle, and I am a New Zealand born & raised, Aussie. I have joint hypermobility & orthostatic intolerance amongst other conditions such as Crohn’s & chronic fatigue. Prior to becoming significantly unwell, I was a young, active woman on a ‘career & study’ path. My health changed that and I now currently operate a small business from home, with the help of my fiancé, who has been my pillar of support & inspiration. I have learned a great deal through my illnesses and look forward to sharing some of those things with others. I feel like I am gradually working towards reclaiming control of my life and look forward to returning to social ballroom dancing with my fiancé and partner by the end of the year.