The greatest compliment I get is when people tell me that I'm an inspiration to them. Strangers send me emails and leave comments on my social media feeds saying that my words make their pain a little less painful, and that sharing my life makes them feel less alone (see the comments on this post).
Close friends whom I have nothing but respect for, tell me that I'm the most inspirational person they know. A few have told me that my story was the catalyst for them writing a book, or setting up a business.
On a daily basis people say that they are astounded by how much I achieve on such little sleep, with so much additional crap on my plate that most have to deal with.
When you don't feel very inspirational
I've had dark periods in life where I haven't been able to accept these kind words. I didn't feel that I deserved them, and I questioned how on earth wonderful, intelligent people could possibly find me inspirational when I'm so flawed.
Some days, even now, I can't see past these flaws, and it takes every ounce of strength I have to tune out to the self-doubt demons.
I have nights where my past haunts me in my sleep, and my days are so hard they leave me sobbing. When the challenges have been non-stop, and I have barely scraped the bottom of the parenting barrel, I think 'wow, if only you could see me now.'
Then there are the really dark days. The ones where loathe myself, and can hardly face looking in the mirror. When the flaws are the only things I can see, and I truly question how I will make it through another year.
But you are inspirational
Then on other days I realise how well I'm doing. That the hard work I put into turning my life around ten years ago has been paying me back ever since. I can see the progress that the kids are making, and even though we still have plenty of challenges to overcome, who doesn't?
I can also see that I'm achieving far more than I ever dreamed I would with my writing. I am able to quash the monsters who tell me I'm rubbish, and get through the next round of edits for my book. I know, deep down, that I will get Kate's Story published, however which way, and it will sell.
I'm proud of my blog, and the doors that it has opened for me and my family. I've written almost eight hundred posts now, and don't look back at any of them and cringe. I've remained true to myself, I never collaborate with brands I don't believe in, or write sponsored posts just for the money. I write from the heart, and only from the heart.
Be the change you want to see
In a confusing media-driven world we are up against it not to doubt ourselves. We are told what we should be doing, who we should be aspiring toward, and what constitutes inspiration. We are bombarded with Insta-perfection and Pinable lives, which quite frankly are so out of reach for most of us, that they make us feel awful not inspired.
So I say screw the cliches. Instead we should be our own inspiration! Especially when we have children.
If they can see us achieving and being proud of those achievements, they will want to mimic us. If they watch us being able to accept a compliment gracefully, they will learn to smile and say thank you when someone tells them how wonderful they are.
So next time you feel bogged down, dig deep. Face those demons and challenges head on, and give yourself a high five.
If you care enough to read this article, I can guarantee that you are doing much better than you give yourself credit for.
Be strong. Be proud. Be inspirational!