Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
On Saturday night I, unusually for me, joined my housemates for drinks in a fashionable bar. Days before the event I’d started to get anxious. How would I pay for drinks, and stay within my budget? What would I wear to fit in with my glamorous friends?
In the end, I just felt like the Ugly Duckling, the odd one out, pale and frumpy. I stumbled in my shoes like a child dressing up in their mother’s heels.
My housemates were tall and beautiful, bronzed and dolled up to the nines.
I bought the first round of drinks, and almost had a heart attack at how much they charged to my debit card. Why would anyone pay this much for drinks on a regular basis?! I shook my head in disbelief.
My pulse was racing. It was as though I was in the 100 metre final at the Olympics; except that while everyone else legged it to the finish line, I had to wade through Marmite to get there. I was falling behind, and getting very frustrated.
So, would it have made such a difference if I’d been able to buy a new party dress, a glamorous pair of heels, or if I could have bought that round of drinks and shrug at the cost?
Last year, the NHS was good enough to pay for me to have a series of sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It transformed my life, and I am forever grateful that I was able to have this treatment without having to pay for private healthcare.
Something I often discussed with my therapist was the importance I placed on the “packaging” in life. She taught me to see that even if others’ lives appeared flawless on the outside, nobody’s life is perfect in reality.
The guys and girls in that bar looked stunning, rich and care-free. By comparison, I was just a “loser”.
Yet I know that I must convince myself that just because I can’t afford a new dress, shoes, or overpriced drinks, I’m no “worse off” (figuratively speaking) than them.
When you place too much emphasis on “packaging”, you quickly forget what’s really important in life. Cutting back has, at times, made me feel like I’m not keeping up, like I’m not good enough, like I’m a “loser” (whatever that means).
Life’s too important to waste on feeling inadequate, simply because I can’t afford as much as The Glamorous.
I don’t think that this (re-)discovery will transform my mindset overnight. It’s a good reminder, though. It’s something that I have to keep reminding myself, too. Otherwise I very quickly become anxious. And life is too short for such superficial worries.
Thanks for reading,