On Never Being Satisfied

location, notting hill, london
NOTTING HILL, LONDON

The other day I saw a friend in the gym who said to me “damn, your skin is glowing”, I looked at her sort of confused, then said, “ah, well, see – I was out during the day so I’m wearing makeup. Yeah, I’d never usually wear makeup to the gym.” She laughed, and told me just to accept the compliment and keep it stepping.

The next day, I was chatting to Marianne my photographer, and we both shared our take on how we view our successes. For me, it was always that I never felt (or feel) like what I’ve done is enough. For any little thing that goes well, more often than not, there is a list of a million other things I’m telling myself I should do more and do better.

The two paragraphs up there don’t directly relate – but they sum me up pretty perfectly. I call it the There’s Always Something syndrome: for every complement, I have a counter complement (“Your body is looking really good!” Is usually met with “Ah, it’s the gym gear. It totally sucks me in. Don’t be fooled.”) And for everything bit of success, there’s something that makes it not as successful as it seems (sure, I went to a top 5 university… but I wanted to get a 1st and I ended up with a 2.1 so I graduated with the understanding that “ok, so I’m not smart…”).

I think I started to really notice I had the There’s Always Something syndrome at the start of the year – I was hit by two double whammys. First of all, I published an end of year wrap up post that was extremely negative and had a lot of people asking me – “really? Your year seemed fine?” This was then shortly followed by someone approaching me on Instagram asking me how to get followers during a time where I was totally mentally “done” with Instagram and was actually thinking – “girl, when I figure it out – I’ll let you know!” Which is ironic as I expected eternal happiness once hitting the 1k follower mark, and now, over double the amount later, I keep chasing more and more.

Now, I don’t totally think this is a totally bad mentality to have. The reason is because it keeps me it keeps me on my toes and keeps me always pushing. Wherever I get to, I’m always looking ahead to what’s next, and how to achieve more and better. Complacency is totally not a word that is part of my vocabulary. However, all that said, there’re definitely some not-so-great factors of this There’s Always Something syndrome. I very rarely appreciate anything good that I’ve achieved. I got three As in my A Levels but I was super sad because I wanted an A*, I got 9A*s at GCSEs but sh*t, I totally f*cked up that random Drama course I decided to take so instead of being proud of myself, I cried. I’ve made so much progress this year with my health and fitness, but to be honest, I’m totally not as lean as I want to be, so… meh. It’s an endless cycle with regards to everything in my life, and more often that not, I need someone to tell me that I’m being totally irrational.

Registering all the above, this year I’m learning to fine tune my outlook just a tad. First of all, I’m learning to actually take in and appreciate the different things I’ve achieved. I work out 5x a week and I can run way faster, lift way heavier and do way more than I could some months ago. So maybe the next time someone says my body is looking good, I can just thank them, and thank myself because – you know what I work really hard on my health
& fitness
. Also, instead of looking back at a year and ticking off all the things I didn’t manage to achieve – I can feel thankful for all the things I was able to achieve and the experiences I was able to have. Whilst we’re at it, I should probably stop comparing myself to others and feeling like something somewhere has gone wrong because I’ve not made millions yet whereas some 23 year olds did this some time ago.

And this needs to be well balanced with a general thirst to succeed. As I said above, I hate to get complacent. We only live once, I’m quite an ambitious person, and I feel satisfied pushing for more, achieving more, and pushing harder. If that means I feel a slight way looking at a sheet of all As because there’s not an A*, then that’s totally fine, because I can use that feeling to go even harder next time to hopefully reach my goals.

Overall, I’m learning that because ambitious doesn’t have to be intertwined with driving myself crazy. Plus, that sometimes I can accept a complement with a “thank you” rather than an excuse as to why the complement shouldn’t be given. I’m getting to a place where I’m learning to take a breather, be logical, and live a bit more in the moment.

Does the “There’s Always Something” syndrome resonate with you?

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