For someone who has accidentally built their life on needing the affirmation of others, the world of blogging can be an unsettling and lonely place sometimes. I can’t count how many times I’ve sat wondering whether I could get in touch with old school teachers or university lecturers to see if they’ll critique my work for free. Positive or negative – sometimes more importantly negative – I have been craving my work to be assessed in some way or other ever since I left the education system. At least that way, if it was deemed terrible, I’d have a reason for feeling so insecure and I could simply start again. But the real world isn’t that easy. This is why I thank my lucky stars every single day for the support I have from those around me. Those who’ve taught me the important lesson that you don’t need constant reassurance if you can learn to value yourself as much as your friends do.
It isn’t uncommon to hear girls raving about the fact they’ve got the best friends in the entire world, but I can promise you, I really do. My ridiculously inspiring and supportive group of friends – and I can’t leave out my fiancé James in this either – are the living persona of a piece of yourself that exists outside your own body and mind. They are my tribe, my village, my world. They aren’t scared to face things that terrify them. They aren’t afraid of the truth. They navigate this crazy world safe in the knowledge that we’ll always have each other no matter where we end up. This is why, in spite of my temptations to write about all of the travel bloggers I admire (of which there are many), I’m sitting here writing about my invaluable support network. These people are an endless source of inspiration to me and I’ll never be able to thank them enough.
Trusting in my own abilities is a constant state of limbo, more often than not tipping in to the darkened crevices of self-doubt. But, alongside every pit of anxious darkness, there is always a light in the distance and this comes from the people who believe in you. I can only speak from my own experience but this is the reason I’m still writing and the reason I start writing again if the pressures of daily life ever feel like too much to bear. These people have subconsciously carried me when I haven’t felt the strength I needed to continue, a lot of the time without them even being aware of it. They’re who I think of and turn to when things aren’t going my way and one of the most important things they’ve ever taught me is that you can face anything with your army of supporters by your side.
I have finally learnt that the opinions of others is completely outside of my control when it comes to how they receive my work. Anyone who knows me will take note of what a gigantic epiphany this is for me. In fact, by some miracle, I actually see it as a good thing. All those years ago, when I received my first ‘unenthusiastic’ review (you can guess I’m being kind to myself there) it really did feel like the walls were caving in around me. To be fair, I was way too young to comprehend the notion that this wasn’t a personal attack. But I’ve now figured out my own personal magic formula: if I like what I write then nothing else matters. And even if someone is particularly nasty to you it doesn’t matter either; all you need to do is call on your troops and they’ll be there for you in a heartbeat…