How much energy do we needlessly devote to building or recouping social status when actually, no one else really cares about what we do?
When my first child was born I suffered a bit of a fall. Not a literal fall, more a drop in how I regarded myself and in how I believed others saw me. It wasn’t a genuine fall from grace, an undoing or a failure. It was what many of us experience when we leave the workforce to be mothers. A loss of status.
I’d established myself in my career as a psychologist and I’d worked long and hard to get there. Next thing, I was folding endless washing, changing nappies and breastfeeding a babe day and night. Hubby toddled off to work early each morning and trudged through the door each night and all it felt I’d done all day was sit, coo, rock and wipe.
And here’s the thing. This is what I’d dreamed of doing for years. I’d always looked forward to having a baby and here I was, living the dream. Only, it wasn’t as fun as I’d thought it would be. Plus, once the first few weeks of celebration and plaudits were over, there wasn’t a lot of good job Trish or, you’re doing brilliantly as a new mum Trish, coming my way. It’s a bit thankless really.
And I want to make a distinction here. This isn’t about fulfillment and appreciation for what I had. No really. It’s simply about status. I missed my status as a professional woman and it did impact on my sense of self-worth. I began questioning whether I was doing a good enough job looking after our baby and I wondered if it was normal to feel a bit isolated and forgotten by society.
And then, not five years later, I threw the renewal form for my registration as a psychologist in Western Australia, in the bin. Quite a lot had changed. I’d taken myself down a new path by studying Touch for Health kinesiology and was launching my new career in the complimentary therapies. It felt very risky to walk away from my professional status as a psych but then, I’d survived five years of full-time ‘home duties’ and in that period, it’d become very clear to me that I was done with conforming to anyone else’s rules on how, when and with whom I should work.
It was actually very liberating. But this is when, by breaking free of one set of restrictions, I placed another yoke around my neck by seeking other ways to reclaim my social status. It was subtle because in truth, I’m fairly down to earth and humble but I definitely put pressure on myself to create a successful business, raise my children impeccably, have a lovely home and look fabulous doing it. It’s a little bit insidious isn’t it? Damn you Country Style Magazine!
I’m ready to let it all go now. Call it maturity, call it middle-aged nonchalance, call it laziness, I don’t care, I simply don’t want to waste anymore energy on worrying about what anyone else thinks of me. Because what I know now is that nobody is thinking anything about me. They’re mostly thinking about themselves. We’re all mostly thinking about ourselves.
The social media world that I happily inhabit every day, is rife with people spruiking their businesses and personal brands in a one-way fashion and not interacting with anyone else. I certainly use these platforms to promote what I do but I also love commenting and applauding other people in their endeavours. That’s what makes it feel like a true community to me. Plus I learn things, enjoy a laugh and gape in wonder at what others share in images and words, every single day.
This status thing is purely and simply a mirage. No one is truly as they seem online or in the media and what a relief it is to be among the millions of little-known people on the planet just going about my day. I guess it’s true that the higher my profile, the more of a positive impact I can have but hey, I’m not going to make that the main game. Being sane, authentic and relaxed are far too important.
Are you ready to relinquish your need for status?
Drop me a comment below or if you’d like to work through some things in person then just click here, and give me a call.