The Biggest Lie I Tell Myself
Taking the right steps to deal with the guilt of working from home
Elenor Roosevelt, a lady whose words inspired my youth, once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
This wisdom had me thinking: Why am I letting others live in my head?
During my early 20s, I got my dream life. I had a high-paying job that flew me around the country. I got to eat out at bougie restaurants and enjoy the feeling of being on a set of television commercials. I got to enjoy takeaway coffees and complain about having to shop for premium-fitting corporate clothing.
Everything I saw in the movies and aspired to have, I achieved.
People admired me in the comments on my social media. They respected me.
It felt good.
Until it didn’t.
I am an introvert, so, even though on the surface it looked like I was living the glam life, I was crippled with anxiety in group settings.
At meetings, on sets, in airports, I would be on the verge of panic attacks because I couldn’t recharge. I would have to work with people when I am in fact more creative and suited to working alone, and I would have to entertain small-talk when I am much more of a deep-meaningful-conversation kind of person.
I struggled with boundaries. It all seemed like I was shoving a square peg in a round hole.
Also, the people around me who had “everything” seemed empty. Hearing adults in their 40s and 50s sharing the same stories from their 20s only panged my anxiety levels further, challenging me to wonder who I would be at their age.
Was I living my best years working excessive hours, dreaming about work and pre-planning interactions to one day regret it and not even have stories from my 20s to joke about?
No really, I left my corporate job.
I started online teaching.
I started my new life trying to work from home.
I learned that the girl I thought I wanted to be, just didn’t fit with who I really am. And, that’s ok.
What wasn’t ok, was that the buzz and electricity people used to have around me changed to suttle-judgment and pity.
People stopped asking me about my job and life. People joked that I stayed home, poor, painting my nails with cheap nail varnish, in sweat pants, all day.
This is where I started guilting myself into not enjoying my life that I was perfectly suited to. I was too scared to admit how happy I was because I lost the flashy-factor that comes with corporate life.
Online teaching provided me with an income, but I was still the same driven businesswoman. I just didn’t feel like I needed to put on a show anymore.
I started my own businesses from home. Some worked, some flopped and some just were a terrible fit. When I tried to share what I was doing, again, people met me with pity. Entrepreneur and side-hustle don’t have positive connotations to everyone. Being your own boss, to some, is a step down from working for big established businesses.
So what this meant is that I would work harder at home on my business ventures than I did in the office. To prove people wrong.
But that’s when it hit. I let people live in my head. I let myself feel inferior.
I would con myself into believing that if I actually enjoyed my day, that I wasn’t working hard enough. I confronted the guilt that came with being genuinely happy.
Here are the facts:
- I am blessed with the biggest gift that I never asked for.
- I created a life that, at the core of it, fits me better than any expensive clothing.
- I am, so happy. So deeply happy and I don’t want to guilt myself into thinking that I don’t deserve joy.
I have decided to stop lying to myself. I have decided to can the guilt.
If I want to wear sweat pants, I will. If I want to paint my nails at 1 pm, I will.
If people speak down at me, it’s ok because they don’t understand.
There’s an American proverb that says, “The squeaky wheel always gets the grease.”
I am able to find joy for those making the noise that society celebrates.
But, that’s not a party I want to attend. I like the quiet, simple life and the sounds I make come from my content, not my resume or my social media profile.
Who I am is far more important than what I do or how much money I make.
And who I am, at this very moment, is the best version of myself.
And you know what, I am so very happy.