I have spent my whole life reading the manifestoes of other people. It never occurred to me I could have my own, that I could actually put pen to paper and write one for myself.
So, I decided my clients and I deserve one, our very own. Written just for us. In fact, we don’t just deserve one we need one.
So here it is. My manifesto. For you; my clients. For me and my business. For womxn who are ready to break free from people-pleasing, perfectionism and pretending.
This is a guide for us to come back to again and again when we are lost or we forget (because, hello! there are folk invested in us forgetting) that the world needs us as our boldest, bravest selves.
Without further ado, here are the 10 principles for living a life on our own terms.
#1 We will stop people-pleasing.
It is time for us to put ourselves first. Wait! Wait! Don’t leave yet, hear me out! …Despite what you may have heard, I promise you we were not put on this earth with the sole purpose of serving others. It is not a moral victory to put the happiness of our loved ones before ourselves. We can tend to ourselves as well, to our own needs. Wishes and dreams are VERY welcome here, they are not selfish. Believe me, it is ok to put our masks on first. In fact, we HAVE to.
I am giving you a signed permission slip to stop, right now, pleasing others before yourself.
#2 We will not make ourselves small again.
We will speak up in front of our friends, family and colleagues. We will voice our opinions. We will raise our hands in meetings and we will apply for jobs we Know We Deserve. In fact, we will apply for jobs we are only 60% qualified for. We will ask for pay rises. We will take up and claim space and we will not relinquish it because it is OURS. This is imperative. We will be brave in the face of anyone who tries to make us small or quiet our words. We will not limit our potential, for anyone, ever again.
#3 We will commit to ourselves before any other.
We are the only people we spend our whole lives with. So, we will commit to ourselves before any other. We will commit to making ourselves come alive, to making ourselves shine, whatever it takes. Until death do us part.
#4 We will strive to meet the world as our truest, boldest selves.
It is quite simple; the world needs us this way. It is political. Humanity needs us as our real selves. Not the tame version, the quiet or pleasing version but the real, raw, messy, beautiful and wild version. This will scare some people, do not worry. It is not your responsibility to tame yourself to protect others. Your only job is to learn how to be the truest version of yourself possible.
#5 We will surround ourselves by people who get, understand and love us.
Imagine a place that is just yours. It is safe and inspiring, you feel loved there. You feel confident. A place where you can be your real, amazing, vulnerable and brilliant self. Well, this is you. You are this place. You are an island. And the only people allowed on to your island are those who will lift you up and love you, for you. If your true self is too much for some people, they’re not your people and can leave your island, promptly.
#6 We already have all the answers we need.
They are there, deep down. I PROMISE you. Give yourself space and a little time. Be gentle with yourself, be nurturing and let your inner voice bubble to the surface. Let your voice be the loudest. No one else has the answers for you; not your mum, grandma, uncle, partner or bestie. Every time I have ignored what I knew was right for me, I have come back to it in the end anyway.
#7 We will not dim down.
What is your thing? What makes you burst with excitement and joy? Is it singing karaoke, jigsaws, or football? SEO or coding? Other women, or gender fluidity, or men and women. Is it collecting magnets, body-building, wearing glow-in-the-dark orange, singing, dancing, or jive? Is cooking is your thing? Or comedy, Game of Thrones, Warcraft or Disney? Is feminism and social justice, or fighting for equality and climate change your thing? Do you secretly still love Atomic Kitten? Is S&M and swinging is your thing? Or is it maps and science? Is it DJ-ing, playing the harp or the recorder? Do you want to be Prime-fucking-Minister? Whatever it is, we will never run from who we are. We will not dim down to make other people comfortable, ever again. In any way whatsoever. We will do what makes our hearts glow.
Thank you, Billie Eilish for the line.
#8 We will let go of perfectionism, for no reason other than it is a load of shit.
We will not be afraid of trying new things because we expect them to be perfect first time. It is ok to fail. I invite you to fail. When something goes wrong we take stock, we learn and we move forward. Failure is a lesson, not a full stop.
Man created perfect to make us nervous, small and quiet and we are no longer going to be nervous, small and quiet (see #2).
#9 We will learn how to say no.
This is crucial. When stopping people-pleasing, practising the art of saying no is Very Important Indeed. We will embrace not getting it right first time. We will experiment. But, we will keep trying and we learn how to say no to things that are not right for us. We will be curious when we say yes and we will be kind to ourselves when we don’t find the two-letter word. But, we will start to notice when we do things we don’t want to and we will find strength in only doing the things we do.
#10 We will embrace less, but better.
Society tells us we need more. More money, status, belongings, likes, clothes, followers and, and, and, bigger, better, bolder. But, we already have everything we need. It is time to unwrap ourselves from the narrative that we need material possessions to feel good. We need less, not more. We need simplicity, not chaos. And, simplicity gives us space for the things that ARE important to us, the things that Bring Us Alive.
Are you with me?