Why positive honesty is so important – for us all

Have you ever felt stuck, lost and alone? Read how one mum’s anonymous blog reminded us of how important positive honesty is for us all.

Last night, we were sent an anonymous blog by a mother. The brutally honest submission (you can read it in full below) describes how desperate she feels, stuck, as the family’s breadwinner, in a job that pays little more than their essentials.

Reading her blog brought back very familiar feelings for us. It doesn’t feel that long ago that we were in a similar situation – working or commuting almost every waking hour, feeling guilt at not seeing our children, and battling a creeping sense of envy that everyone else seemed to have it easier.

Social media makes us feel MORE alone

At times like this, social media doesn’t help you feel any better. Facebook and Instagram are full of people sharing their apparently perfect lives. Angelic children, adoring partners, endless holidays, and carefree days spent with beautiful friends and family.

(Although when you actually catch up with these people in real life, things aren’t always as rosy as they’re carefully designed to appear; it seems that the happier some people seem to be on social media, the more they are compensating for a less-than-satisactory life.)

As a result, you feel even more alone and unlucky. What did you do to deserve this life?

We ALL have good and bad days

The truth is that we all have ups and downs. We have good days, week, months and even years. And we have awful times when things go horribly wrong. Each of us is on our own path, fighting our own battles – often privately.

So what happens if we stop presenting the world with a perfect front? And instead are more honest with each other?

Last night we replied to the anonymous blogger to share our own experience, and how we got through it. And she said that it helped. She now knows that she’s not alone – and that this will pass in time. She has a recommendation for an excellent book that can help, and someone else’s experience of moving past her situation to learn from.

Why positive honesty is more powerful

We believe that it’s much more powerful when we are not just honest, but positively honest (“I was there too but now I’m fine and here’s what helped”) with each other.

Our collective experience, learning and empathy can mean that we never need to feel alone, and can take positive action to help ourselves, rather than feel stuck.

Indeed, when we launched Talented Ladies Club, our ethos was ‘positive honesty’. We never want to shy away from the reality of life, and the problems we all face, but at the same time we always want to give you hope and show you how to take action.

That’s why most of our articles have tips or actions to take in them. We don’t just want you to feel less alone in whatever situation you are facing, but to have positive actions you can take to help yourself.

You aren’t alone

If you’re struggling through tough times, please know that you’re not alone – despite how it may feel. Right now there will be other women (and men) battling similar problems – and thousands more who have overcome them and moved onto happier times.

So don’t stay silent and alone. Reach out and share what you are going through, and seek advice and support.

And if you see someone who is struggling with something in their life, reach out to them. Let them know there’s light at the end of whatever tunnel they are passing through, and offer any honest support you can. You never know what a big difference just telling someone “I’ve been there too” can make.

So, as promised, here’s the blog that inspired this article.

“If I keep going, all will be okay”

When my husband got made redundant in the spring I will admit that both of us were pleased and excited.

He got a severance package plus a few month’s worth of salary.

The plus point, was that I had the offer of a permanent job – paying less than my freelance work – and he had the summer to spend building up his fledgling foodie business.

So far so good.

It’s not the first time I’ve been the main breadwinner in our family; a few years back when my oldest daughter (now seven) was 12 months old I went back to work as an editor on a successful financial news website.

In fact I positively thrived there, so much so I was headhunted to join an internet start up. And well, it went a bit wrong at this point but the thing is I had been here before, and enjoyed it.

Six years later, I now had a three year old daughter. I loved my freelance lifestyle. It was stressful but it did mean I was within a five minute safety distance of being able to pick my daughters up from their school and pre-school.

We were both earning good money and the only real stress we had was to decide whether we wanted to buy the house we were renting.

But that seems like a lifetime ago – although it was less than six months back.

I’ve replaced my ‘leisurely’ start to the day with a brutal 5.15am alarm, and a 6am train into the City of London. Some mornings I get a slightly later train – nearer 7am. But most mornings I’m up before my children and my husband.

My working day is supposed to finish around 4.30pm and sometimes it does, but not always and on Mondays and Tuesdays I will often stay to around 5.30pm. It’s only an hour later but with my early starts it’s beginning to take a toll on me.

I no longer feel inspired, I’ve stopped blogging and I’ve all but given up pitching articles to the women’s magazines and national newspapers that I so enjoyed working for.

I don’t know what has happened – but I’ve gone from being bright eyed and bushy tailed to a shell of my former self.

I still go to the gym, but I know my routine is just about bouying me from sinking into full-on depression.

I’ve been offered anxiety counselling from my doctor, but there is a three month wait; but I’m not taking medication for something which has largely been placed upon my shoulders – something that is not of my choosing.

My salary covers everything, but it doesn’t cover extras, like allowing us to save up to buy our first home, like allowing us to buy our children clothes, or even have my hair cut.

I am starting to get like a grumpy old woman, I get angry when I read about FTSE bosses paying themselves 10% more, when we are just about scraping a living. Or the buy to let investors who are mopping up all the houses that would have been bought by first time buyers like ourselves in better days, when mortgages were easier to come by.

I have to content myself with watching other people – who are better at playing the corporate political game – earn more than me and have better jobs. I have to remember that I am keeping my family going and that my husband will get a job eventually.

I have to remember these things for my health and the wellbeing of my family.

I have to remember this when I see pictures of my mummy friends enjoying their days out and their holidays abroad with their children. And I have to remember this when the tears start to come – so I can gulp them back and keep thinking that somehow if I keep going, all will be okay.