mental health

Fears and Tears

I’ve chosen An Area in which to be creative (as I mentioned in my last post) and I’ve been finding it frustrating, demoralising and an assault on my self-esteem. It’s tough being a (recovering!) perfectionist.

I have to frequently remind myself that developing a new skill is not about achieving; it’s about exploration, experimentation, education and expansion.

On my recent holiday, I had two sailing lessons – one in a traditional boat and one in a modern dingy. For many years, I have wanted to learn but have been too scared. I used to live near a beautiful urban reservoir and as I strolled around it on summer evenings I’d watch the white sails and wish I were brave enough to learn.


So this summer I finally had a go – two goes, in fact – as I booked a second lesson. I was afraid but I loved it (well, I loved the traditional ‘Swallows and Amazons’ boat – not too keen on the modern one!). I’m looking forward to having another go in the future and maybe a sailing holiday in the Norfolk Broads one day! Thank you to the Glenridding Sailing Centre for two fantastic, gentle and encouraging teachers.

As well as the sailing, I also had a morning of mountain biking coaching alongside Mr Pilgrim which I simultaneously loved and hated. There was nausea, tears and bruises (all me, I hasten to add).

I had to win a mammoth mental battle with myself in order to overcome the inner voice which screams: ‘You can’t do that. You’ll never be able to do that. Don’t even try.’

There is a short video of me mastering pedaling and braking (it’s harder than it sounds!). I did keep trying and I did do it. This Girl Can.


Huge thanks to Rich at Cyclewise at Whinlatter for his patience and tremendous coaching skills.

Most of us are deeply disturbed at the prospect of being horrible at something, even temporarily. When you try something new, you’re usually very bad, and you know it. The easiest way to eliminate that feeling of angst is to quit practicing and go do something else, so that’s what most of us do.Josh Kaufman, author of The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything Fast

I’m not the only one who struggles to learn new skills. Josh Kaufman’s words encourage me to keep going at my new activities, even when I’m not doing very well and my self-esteem takes a knocking.

Small Boy and Little Miss, who have both developed some pretty impressive skills over the last three and a half years, also spur me on with their personal determination and self-delight as they grow and see their worlds expand.

I dare to hope one day they will be inspired by their mama’s perseverance and achievements.



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