What do you think of when you think of Victoria Beckham? Is it the Spice Girls, or her fashion brand, her treacherously high heels, ludicrously beautiful children or her husband modelling underpants? Whatever comes to mind, I’ll bet it’s not “insecurity”. Yet in a letter the 42 year old mother of 4 recently wrote to her younger self, it’s clear that she, like the rest of us, struggled with accepting herself.
“I know you are struggling right now” she says, tenderly, “You are not the prettiest, or the thinnest, or the best at dancing…You have never properly fitted in…You have bad acne…” She goes on to offer reassurance and advice to this vulnerable teenager, admiring her for expressing herself and suggesting that she “learn more about football, especially the offside rule.”
It’s a heart-warming and compassionate read, and it really made me think about all the things I’d like to say to my younger self, especially the anxious, self-conscious Jo who decided to set up on her own almost five years ago. What I wanted more than anything then was a better ‘life blend’. I wanted to spend time with my granddaughter and to show my daughter that she could be successful in her own right too.
I wanted THAT Jo to hear it from THIS Jo that, whilst it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, it would all be OK. Much better than OK in fact: I wanted her to know that it all works out brilliantly, in ways that she couldn’t have imagined! So I wrote her a little note…
Writing this letter was a brilliant reminder of all I’ve achieved, of how proud I am, of how hard I’ve worked and how far I’ve come.
I think it’s so important that we all stop from time to time to look back and celebrate the changes we’ve made in our lives, the risks we’ve taken, the challenges we’ve faced and the battles we’ve fought. Doing so reminds us that the things that once terrified us are really not scary at all….not when you grit your teeth and face them head on.
They say that hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it truly is, for it’s only when we look back at our own journey and see how much we’ve changed and developed along the way that we get a true sense of our real potential and how far we still can go.
Five years on, I really do have the life blend I dreamed of, I’ve never worked harder, but I love what I do and I’m reaping the rewards of being my own boss every minute of every day.
It’s far too easy to beat ourselves up, to dwell on past mistakes and torture ourselves with “what ifs”, but it’s much more rewarding and worthwhile to celebrate ourselves, where we’re at now and the things we’ve learned along the way. So, when you have a minute, I’d suggest writing a letter to your younger self. I think you’ll be glad you did!