Weekly Need To Know: Gratitude, Guilt, and Being “Inferior”

Happy Sunday lovely people! I spent last weekend at my parents place in the midlands, and as much as I love seeing them, I find my routine goes completely out of the window. My eating isn’t great (more so because I seem to leave my self-control in London…) and I just get zero work done because I want to catch up with my fam. Which I suppose is the whole point of going home, but that self-employed life has you thinking you can never really switch off.

But switch off I did. We went to the Cotswolds on Monday in the glorious sunshine and I had the most amazing day. I barely checked my phone. I ate scones and rid myself of food guilt and reminded myself there are no bad foods, just bad diets, and my diet in general is a good one, and it was so nice to just get out and breathe the fresh air. Of course, as a result, I’m now way behind in my week, I haven’t filmed next weeks YouTube videos and definitely won’t get round to it before my trip to LA, and have invoices and contracts I need to get sent out.

But so what? Isn’t the point of being your own boss so that you can do what you want and play things at your own pace? I often forget that. We’re often told to think of the positives rather than the negatives. And told to practice gratitude. It’s an incredibly powerful tool, but can also be debilitating depending on your current mental situation.

Maybe it was the endorphins, but walking from Kobox today to get my after class coffee, I was thinking how lucky and grateful I am for my life. It’s not completely luck, I’ve worked for years for free and spent hours on work with no return for so long. But I do feel lucky. And I feel fortunate. But I remembered when I was feeling so incredibly low, and how when people would tell me to practice gratitude and be grateful for what I have to try lift my moods and realise how lucky I was, it simply made me feel worse. It made me feel guilty. “I have all of these amazing things and I’m still not happy? I’m so ungrateful. I’m an awful person” Then I’d feel like I was broken because practising gratitude didn’t make me feel better. It just felt patronising when people would say “just think of the things you’re grateful for!”. Like ok hun, that hasn’t cured my depression.

People seem to think practicing gratitude is a fix-it-all approach, but it’s not always. So you know what I’d suggest if that’s not working for you? Just calling a friend. Getting out the house. Reading a book. Getting to the gym. Something else. Something to put your mind elsewhere.

What I’m Listening to/ Reading this week

Truthfully, I haven’t listened to anything of particular note this week which has made me think ERM MUST SHARE THIS! But I have read a new book – Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story.

So a while ago I went and stayed with this guy in Japan. We’d been friends for some time and had an on-off thing for a couple of years and would hook up whenever we were both single and in the same country at the same time. It was an absolute nightmare of a trip and he was one of the most sexist people I’ve come across, but would claim he’s not sexist, he’s “just trying to have a debate” – we’ve all heard that one before. In this £1000 a night resort, we sat in an onsen, and he said to me “at the end of the day, it comes down to Darwinism, and men are stronger than women, so they’re the more superior sex” – after a week with this guy I was mentally exhausted and just wanted to melt away into the steam like the wailing shrivelled witch he probably saw me to be.

In Inferior, Angela Saini revisits some of the landmark theories and studies which have informed our understanding and societies views on men and women, picks through the research and the bias within the studies, and deconstructs the problems with it all – and how this has landed us in a position where women have been seen as inferior to men.

I think every single woman has been in a similar situation to what I faced in that onsen in Japan. Hell – I’ve been in countless situations like that. On a random date. Talking to your uncle. Some douchebag at work. Situations where we’re faced with guys trying to tell us how men are better. Saini too has been in this situation – with a man who came a talk she did in Sheffield – and it’s one of the things that inspired her to write the book.

“For everyone who has faced that situation, the same angry confrontation with a person who tells you that women are inferior to men, and the same desperate attempt not to lose control but to have at hand some hard facts and a history to explain them, this book is for you”

Please go read this book. Write in it, annotate it, post-it-note it, like I did.

What I’m Loving This Week

This girl is off to LA tomorrow, so I’ve got some cute things in mind for that. Also included the dress and mirror from these photos. Shots by Fifi Newbury 

 

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