I’ve just finished a book by Cathy Kelly, ‘The Family Gift’ as well as Jane Eyre which I’ve been reading with my book club. Two totally different books but I enjoyed both. I’ll be writing more about my review in my monthly ‘What’s on my bookshelf?’ post at the end of July. In the meantime I’m always interested in what others are reading so feel free to drop me a comment or reply to this email with any books you recommend.
Okay, so back to The Family Gift. Cathy Kelly, is an author that I enjoy when I don’t have to think too deeply. Her books are usually thought provoking but don’t give me a headache. The Family Gift was not what I expected and it actually gave me pause several times as I bookmarked pages with ideas and quotes I wanted to remember or to ruminate on. Spoiler alert some baring of the soul might be contained in this email
Treat yourself to the heartwarming, hilarious new novel from Sunday Times bestseller Cathy Kelly!
This was how Goodreads described the book, yet when I read it I actually didn’t find it hilarious. It was real life, although at times I thought the main character Freya was a little annoying. But then I realised some of her actions and way of thinking was how I think! When I finished the book I felt the questions I needed to ask myself were:
Am I living life my way, authentically and honestly? or Am I living my life projecting a different persona to the world? Am I holding back asking for help or pushing my fears and anxieties deep inside because those around me have enough to deal with and I feel guilty dumping my problems onto them? Am I trying to please everyone but not pleasing myself?
Now I like to think, I’m a ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ and generally positive type of person and mostly I am. But being human, yes human there are times when I feel the need to perhaps ‘smooth over the lows’ because most people only want to hear about the highs.
Can you relate to this? I’m saying that life for me is normal with all the highs and lows that go with living. What I’m saying is that sometimes we feel we can’t show our vulnerability because others ‘need’ us to be strong or we feel showing that side is a sign of weakness. But as the quote a little further down reminds us that showing our vulnerable side shows strength.
The question I would like us all to ponder this week is:
Are you living life YOUR way?
This was the question I posed in my weekly Living Well Letter to my subscribers. I’m encouraging others as well as myself to take a dose of reality and honesty and looking at how we are living our lives. It is so easy to get caught up trying to be there for others. Perhaps pushing your own problems or fears deep inside because you think that everyone else needs you and you can’t burden them.You feel you need to push through. You need to be the sunshine for others all of the time. This is how Freya in the Family Gift was misguidedly living her life and I’ll let you read the book to see how it affected her and those around her.
I was reminded that life isn’t always the way we see it portrayed particularly in social media. That life is not a ‘one-size fits all’. Sure we all want to put up positive posts about the good things in our life, who doesn’t? But that’s not reality 100% of the time. Is it? Life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns for anyone.
I was reminded yet again, that:
- It is definitely OK to feel the bad times, the bad hair days, the feeling frumpy, the more serious issues where you feel you just aren’t coping with life.
- It is definitely OK to feel vulnerable and admit it to others – to reach out and ask for help.
- It is definitely OK to not automatically answer the question ‘how are you?’ with ‘I’m fine’ and to remember you aren’t Super Woman, the world doesn’t rely on you taking all the burden.
- It is definitely OK to make your own decisions on what is right for you.
- It is definitely OK to accept that you can’t please everyone all of the time and you need to please yourself most of the time.
- It is definitely OK to accept that you can’t keep juggling all the balls and not drop one.
Conversely, I still believe that we need gratitude and acceptance in our lives to provide some balance because life is good and we definitely should acknowledge the good times. In the book Freya learns that ‘sh…t happens and sometimes you just have to accept that, you can overcome but sometimes you need help from others.
I’ve changed the tagline on my website to Living Life Your Way because we all need to feel comfortable with living a life that suits us. With being comfortable to be ourselves, without comparison, without feeling as if we have to be a persona which just isn’t us, because for whatever reason, we feel we have to.
Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know your answer. I’d love to hear your thoughts and your experience so feel free to reply to this email.
P.S. In tomorrow’s Micro Mondays Podcast I’m discussing Friendship, Connection and How a small gesture can make someone’s day