Last year a friend of mine set up a pod-club. It was a bit of an experiment for her and a project she was passionate about. The basic premise was to get a few mums together, we’d listen to a podcast and afterwards we’d chat about it. The podcasts were about self esteem, anxiety, negative thinking, goal setting and about general mental well being. She asked me and a few other ladies I know to join in and it would be fair to say I was a little nervous about the sessions and what would happen in them. In the end I was surprised by how much they helped me and even now, many months later I still think back to them.
Some of the women in the group I knew better then others but listening to the podcasts brought up conversations that were much more honest and open that I’ve had with most people, even close friends. How often when you have quick meet up with someone do you just gloss over your own life and what’s been happening? It’s very rare to find the time to actually sit down and talk about what’s really going on underneath all the superficial stuff. I don’t think we even realise that sometimes that is what we need the most!
The biggest thing that came out of the sessions for me was the preconceptions we all had about each other. I sat down with these other women who I thought they were all fairly confident, happy, organised, life all sorted and I discovered they thought the same about me. It’s funny to think that what you put out there is often quite different to how you’re feeling.
I’ve known some of these ladies for years and yet only in these discussions did I open up about the things I carry with me. I know I’m a private person and I find it hard to share how I’m truly feeling, I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe I don’t like the loss of control or the vulnerability. However, I can say talking these things through, realising others are just the same, definitely helped me. I found that though certain events and circumstances may be different to someone else’s the feelings are still the same. To be able to sit around a table with other women just like you and discuss your past and your worries, your insecurities and your dreams is a wonderful thing.
It was only when we had these conversations that I realised that it doesn’t matter what kind of life we have, we all have our own insecurities and hang ups and so many of my own anxieties were the same as theirs. We had a long discussion about being labelled as shy at school and so many of us admitted to being painfully quiet. I’ve had people ask me now when I stopped being shy and I laugh because in my head I still am; it’s something I’ve always been conscious of. I’m still not good talking in front of large groups of people, even if they’re friends or family but as I’ve gotten older I’ve definitely made an effort to be more chatty, mostly so I don’t come off as rude! So many of the group said the same and I guess that we often see the best in others. We see how they are and think, ‘oh I wish I could be like that, I wish I was that confident’ when actually it’s something that that person has worked hard to overcome and put out there. Everyone of us could list the brilliant things we see in the other women and yet it was so hard to say the same things about ourselves.
I’m glad I went to do it when I very nearly gave an excuse not to go. I’m glad that I feel like I know and understand these women better now. I’m glad I talked about the things I often keep bottled up. It can be a scary thing to admit the things that you find difficult but when you realise that others are just the same there is an amazing comfort to be found. I really feel like it cleared out some negative things I was hanging onto and has given me space to believe in myself a little bit more. Since the pod-club I think we’ve all been much more open when we’ve met up, there is less superficial chat and more questions about how things really are. I’m sure that can only be a good thing.