It was a Thursday evening, and I was dressed up to the nines, (glitter dress and all), off to receive one of my first ever awards for the work I’d done with One Girl. The organisation giving out the awards was holding an fancy event at Crown Casino, and I invited a friend of mine along, hoping we could celebrate together.
Half way through the event, she stormed up to me, looked me straight in the eye and said..
“Hey Chantelle. Go fuck yourself…” And walked out.
I stood there stunned. Uh, wait... what? What the hell was that?
And so, it had begun.
She was one of ‘those’ friends. The ones whose eyes flash with jealousy if you share a recent success. A friend who is more comfortable keeping you in the same place rather than celebrating your growth.
A friend who seemed to think that if I succeeded at something, it meant something bad about her. In her mind, my successes made her less than.
For years, I ignored it.
After all, doesn’t everyone want to be liked? (I know I do).
The strange dynamic reared its ugly head for the first time at the awards night. And you’d think after a situation like that, someone sane would let that friend go.
But no, not me. I want to be LIKED damn it. She presented a challenge to me, so I tried harder.
In my mind I said, “I’ll be better - I promise! I won’t be too much for you anymore. I’ll fit in, I won’t step out of line, and I’ll do whatever I can to support you and build you up so you don’t feel so threatened.”
And on when went.
When she got upset because someone wrote an article about my work with One Girl on International Women’s Day, I apologised and promised I’d try to get some media attention for her business next time.
If I applied for an award, I’d send her the application immediately, encouraging her to apply - desperately hoping we’d both get picked – for fear of what would happen if I was chosen and she wasn’t.
It wasn’t long before I stopped sharing my successes. The cutting remarks and and flashing eyes became too hard to deal with. It became easier to say nothing. To share nothing.
Our relationship was built on a foundation of eggshells. Her trying to contain her anger, while I tried to dull myself – hoping I wouldn’t shine too brightly in case she got upset.
I became less to prevent her feeling bad about who she was.
(Note to self : this is NOT a healthy friendship).
Eventually, our relationship ended.
I got tired of pretending to be something that I wasn’t. When I stopped making myself small and pandering to keep her happy, nature took it’s course and she left my life.
It took me a long time to realise that her judgements and reactions had nothing to do with me – and everything to do with her own low self esteem and opinion of herself. She was hell bent on beating herself with the ‘not enough’ whip, it just seemed to go into overdrive whenever I was around.
And look, I get it.
I’ve spent my whole life thinking I’m ‘too much’.
Too loud. Too opinionated. Too stubborn. Too fat. Too messy. Too masculine. Too passionate. Too driven. Too distracted.
And when that gets old – I pull out the ‘not enough’ whip.
Not feminine enough. Not pretty enough. Not skinny enough. Not caring enough. Not a good enough manager / sister / daughter / friend.
I call it..
The Self Worth Paradox
It’s all about how we see ourselves. The comparisons we make to our friends, our family, the images we see in the media. For most of my life I’ve bounced between these two extremes, too much of one thing, not enough of another. And I bet you have too.
Too much, too much, too much.
Whoops, bored of that now.
Not enough, not enough, not enough.
And man does it get tiring.
So I began thinking, where on earth does this crap come from? What is the origin of the self worth paradox?
Well, it can come from a variety of sources.
Societies expectations of you.
Your families expectations of you.
Your friend’s expectations of you.
Hell, your partner – your kids – their expectations of you.
The threat of their judgement and expectations can weigh heavily on you.
After all, it’s a basic human desire to want to fit in and feel a part of something. So acting outside of people’s expectations and what is considered ‘normal’ within your environment can feel threatening.
But very recently, something clicked for me.
I am who I am. And there is no point in apologizing for that. Or trying to change that. Or trying to be something other than the brightest and shiniest version of myself.
For a long time, I’ve found myself apologizing for who I was. And trying to be less than. To dull. To not offend. To fit into a box marked “others expectations of me.”
And man is that painful.
And it doesn’t have to be a friend. We all know someone who has struggled with their parent’s expectations – whether it pops up in choosing a career, a degree, a partner, hell, even a place to live.
In many ways, it’s easier to blame outside influences, but in truth we often do it to ourselves.
You walk into a room of people we don’t know, and because you want them to ‘like you’, you hold your true self back.
You excitedly share a big dream for the future with your family, and after receiving a few disapproving looks, you file them away in a box marked “one day”. (aka. Never).
Or you walk into that job interview, the business pitch, the sales call, and your own self doubts start screaming, so you stop trusting your own abilities.
You take the safe road instead of the right one.
And that beautiful light inside you starts to lose its brightness because you are afraid to be who you really are.
But the world needs you and your brilliance.
All parts of you. The loud bits. The quiet bits. The crazy bits. The quirky bits. The bits that make you, uniquely YOU.
Sometimes, we all need a little reminder of this. Which is exactly the reason why I created the new Limited Edition Be. Rose Gold bangle. Engraved with…
Be the shiniest fucking unicorn in the room.
Let GO of the expectations you have of yourself, and the expectations others have of you.
Just BE who you ARE.
No apologies. No dulling. Just you.
Comparison is the death of joy. You can be no one other than yourself, so why not embrace it? Give others the space to embrace their shininess as well.
Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.
(St Catherine of Sienna said that).
It’s my new favourite bangle.
I’ve made less than 100 of these, and there won’t be another run of them. These are Limited Edition (just like you!). And once they’re sold out – we’re done. So if you want one, please get in fast. They are going to go quickly. Get one now!
And to finish it off, I’d love to hear – WHO ARE YOU? Like seriously. If you were owning all those pieces of yourself, or in my friend Carmen’s words – Giving Zero Fucks. Who the hell are you?
I am Creative. Loud. Messy. Funny. Radically transparent. Determined. Passionate. Stubborn. Independent. Sexy. Beautiful. Cheeky. Naughty. A Leader. Inspiring. Blunt. Rough around the edges. And having a shitload of fun.
Tell me in the comments about YOU! :)
PS. For the next 24 hours, buy TWO or more bangles and get 12% off using the discount code “IAmAShinyUnicorn.”
I can not even begin to explain how much this article spoke to my soul. You could be telling my story (all be it I am the owner of a business in a different industry). The self doubt when in a room full of executive males is sometimes overwhelming but my god there is no chance you can show them!
I recently had my ‘ah ha’ moment and as a result at going through a separation. The day I made this decision I felt free.
Thank you for giving me this article… you have no idea the impact it has had! You legend!!!!
Ps. Independent, loud, cheeky women make the best leaders. Just add in a bit of crazy and you have the perfect recipe for success! X
OMG ! Absolutely love this !
Oh, this is GOLD!
I have come across this attitude in others, they are what I quietly dub the sad ones. My philosophy is ’there’s enough success to go around’ yet some people just cannot find it within themselves to even offer a simple congratulations or give credit where credit is due. Even if they sometimes do, it just doesn’t feel ‘real’ as you know that they really don’t FEEL HAPPY for you, they just say it out of keeping up appearances, or to make themselves appear better. I do not need their credit, I am quite happy to bask in the glow of my own hard work, determination & success. BUT YES, it’s NICE to be able to share that – and it’s actually a NICE feeling to be happy for others. How sad to be stuck in such a negative jealous world inside their heads! I love being in a biz where women empower others and they ‘get it’ – Fantastic Post, you go girl – shine bright, live loud and tell the world #shinebright
Be loud and proud I say !
Thi story is so my life. That one friend who you grew up with that suddenly decides that your achievements are not good enough & you realise that you have outgrown that friendship. WOW love it.
I was you, until she blamed me for something horrible, and I stood up, and walked away. I am the Unicorn (been collecting em for years), but I’m also the fattest unicorn, with a condition that swells and leaves my arms and legs, so I’m pretty sure your bangles won’t fit. But I love the messages, and that’s what I’ll take away from this.
That is one of the best fucking sales pitches I have ever read! Softly in your face with a sneaky kapow!
I hope you sell all of your merchandise baby! What a human, sensitive, SALES GROOMING! lol. Well Done!
Loved this story! Brought 2 bangles! Unfortunately the code didnt work
I am a wife, and editor and magazine creator, I am for community, for connection, for building other women up and celebrating our uniqueness. I am strong yet fragile, I am independent, resilient, loved and loving. Thanks so much for sharing Chantelle. I’d love to share this post with my tribe, i’ll shoot you through an email about that. Peace and Love Sam
wow!!! your words are my words … only i am not a unicorn ?…. more of an earth angel ?… we need to meet xo
Thank you for giving me a new mantra ?
So Inspirational! Thank you for giving me the strength to realise I am not the horrible nasty person my mother makes me out to be……. I am strong, independent, blunt, logical, caring, thoughtful, supportive, brave, protective, passionate, cheeky……. I am wonderful, I am me
I am unique
1 of a kind
I am me
I have learnt a lot in the last 8 years with my dad passing and my marriage ending.
I have learnt I am incredibly strong and capable of more than I could ever imagine and incredibly loving and giving.
I have a 5 year little boy and I am incredibly determined he will grow up strong knowing who he is and not apologising for it.
Your article is beautifully written and inspirational. You should be really proud of yourself.
I love this! This blog had me eventually sit up saying dam that is me! :)
I just burst into tears. I’m going through this with a “friend” right now, and the urge to make myself smaller in every way has been overwhelming. I’ve apologized for things no one should apologize for. I’m disgusted to say I’ve come very close to walking away from a new friendship ‘she’ doesn’t approve of. I am not being real with myself. I’m not being real at all.
Thank you, thank you so much. Just thank you for this.
Love your story, your ammunition to suceed and thirst to keep on going. It’s just what i needed.
I feel i fall into a similar category, but had 3 really (well so i thought) friends of many years up and.leave me when i needed them the most after some major life changes.
Proved that jealousy is true be it in your pain or happiness, others will always find a way to try and bring you down further if they feel they deserve more attention then you.
#Heart your post. I’ve always been the red umbrella, in a sea of black .. its only now that I appreciate the magic of that dynamic.. and I cherish the journey hat led me to that reflection and realisation. #BE the unicorn, in all of your unique glory!.
Super story, what a pity for that other person to be that way. Are you thinking of making bangles that says Giving Zero Fucks… That would be terrific… Just saying ;)
I am ME!!! And that’s enough.
Loved it and needed to hear it!
I am: bright, loud, laughing, sharply intelligent, compassionate, expressive, sensitive, affectionate, sexy, cheeky and a little bit hot tempered. And I am also a f@cken recovering alcoholic and PROUD of it!!
I am a Goddess. Your honesty speaks to my heart and fills it with hope for all of my fellow Goddesses! F*ck the haters and the soul suckers. Be the best you! I know I am the best me!!
They told her she couldn’t. She said, “Watch me!”
Love mine and will get more. LOVE these as my reward for achieving goals.
Would also love
SHE DID IT ANYWAY
NEVER GIVE IN
Well written, great piece. I think we all can relate to some degree, blame is easy to personalise sometimes.
I learnt to be a fuck you and your monkeys on your back sorta person through life slamming me at times. It was a long, hard process, and yes, there are still times when I do not see the toxic nature of some until I have been slapped hard in the heart a few too many times but they are becoming less and less.
I watched my youngest try and dumb himself down and change for those so unworthy of a minute of his time or even a sliver of his beautiful heart. He is still learning his truth but has anger and resentment mixed into teen hormones at this point – but I do see the glimpses of light and laughter that give me hope he will soon emerge into realisation and walk away from the bad.