For Lent this year, I took up believing in myself.
Let me explain. Giving up something for Lent is a concept that I can't personally muster the energy for. The idea of all that negativity aimed at depriving myself of something I probably enjoy makes the little hairs on my arms stand up in horror.
The concept of taking up something for Lent was something that I stumbled across completely by accident whilst at University. One of my close friends and her housemates had decided, as a Christmas prank, to pay for their other, unsuspecting, housemate to be officially ordained as a priest in America.
It was a while before I found out about this prank and naturally thought it was hilarious and wanted to join in. The Unsuspecting Housemate didn't have my mobile number and so we hatched a plan to send him inspirational text messages each day, pretending to be the alternative church he had become ordained with. This all happened to coincide with Pancake Day and so, by complete coincidence, I'd taken up the fictional role of Inspirational Motivator with the Universal American Church of Life.
Don't panic. I was on a contract, not Pay As You Go.
Starting out, I genuinely didn't think that this was going to last for more than a week. But as the days went by and the Unsuspecting Housemate didn't clock on that we were texting him from the same room, the temptation to carry on was overpowering. It was pretty funny to play along each time he received a text. He really seemed to enjoy it.
What started out as an accidentally-on-purpose Lent prank lead to a full year of messages. Not necessarily every day, but regularly enough to enjoy. Some quotes were copied off the internet. Others were inspired by whatever fruit or vegetable happened to be in front of us at the time. The greatest part was that no matter what bad, sad or mad things had happened in a day or week, we had the joy of knowing that we had made someone smile.
He was devastated when he finally found out. We told him the night before graduation that it had been us and he was hugely disappointed that it wasn't going to continue. He was also wildly impressed that we had managed to keep it up for so long.
I agreed with myself that night that in future years I would always adopt a habit for Lent rather than trying to give one up.
There have been varying degrees of success since. There was the year that I decided to give up being grumpy for Lent. Not that I'm a grumpy person particularly, but it seemed like a good one to try. Inadvertently, I'd discovered Mindfulness for myself before it became wildly known and I still to this day try to abide by the rules I set myself.
Then there was the year that, on the recommendation from a boyfriend at the time, I decided to listen only to classical music. I now have a favourite Philharmonic Orchestra which makes me feel very sophisticated. I also have the Jurassic Park theme track permanently stuck in my head.
(EVERYTHING is made better by the Jurassic Park theme. Try playing it next time you are shopping for toilet roll and it will instantly improve your experience).
So when Lent 2019 rolled round, I had to give this one some careful thought. I finally settled on an idea. I was going to take up Believing In Myself. Which, in my head, sounds far more official with capital letters.
I consider myself a confident person. Throw me into a social situation with a room or mountain full of complete strangers and I'll be totally at ease. I know what things I am good at. Running is one of these things. Equally, I know the things I am terrible at but will still participate in enthusiastically. Swimming and changing duvet covers fall into this category. So it's not the confidence part that I need to work on.
Having the faith to not just believe in my own strengths but to act upon them is the part that needs work. I've got the gas set up for the metaphorical camping stove of life... I just need to be brave enough to strike the match.
Like any true Millennial, my first port of call for my quest was WikiHow. Obviously the greatest source of guidance and information on the planet.'3 Ways To Believe In Yourself' split the task down into methods and sub-methods and sub-sub methods detailing how to establish positive habits. All very well, but it was quite a long read and I needed something a bit more punchy.
Me: Help me sort my life out 🤣
Jago: Write it down. Plan it out. And commit. :).
Much more succinct. Thanks man.
An additional life guru this week came in the form of my friend Helen. In a bizarre twist of fate, it materialised that Helen and Jago actually know each other. I think I need to drink from the same tap as them both to catch some of this wiseness that they have. We have agreed to become zero-judgement accountability buddies, which I hope means I get let off for the MacDonald's banana milkshake I consumed on Sunday night. More importantly, it means that we both have someone to run ideas by and bounce off when we are almost ready to share our projects with the world but need a final kick up the backside to take the final bound. This sounds exactly what I need.
In grand conclusion- this is how this Lent is going to work.
1. Know my strengths.
2. Listen to Jago.
3. Run ideas past Helen.
I'll keep you posted on the developments.