The worst thing someone could say to me


I’ve always said that if I have a super-power it’s that I’m really, really hard to offend. But this line:

‘You just seem to have the perfect life don’t you?’

It’s one that tends to get to me.

I hate the thought of someone thinking my life is ‘perfect’ because I feel it means I’ve not been ‘real’ enough in my communications with people. That I’ve fallen in the trap of only ever sharing the bright and shiny while sweeping the not-so-bright-and-shiny under the rug.

So what I do is go out of my way to share the ways my life isn’t perfect while underplaying the stuff that’s going really well.

Take this week for instance. It’s been pretty spectacular. Yet when I wrote the first draft of this post I was emphasising the ‘bad’ stuff. (The gastro that hit with great ferocity on Monday morning, the fact that the Amazon US kindle sales for Practical Perfection didn’t hit the heights they needed to get the blessed algorithm working for me.) And completely discounting the good.

I caught myself doing it and asked on Facebook whether anyone else does it. I took away a lot of things from that conversation, way too many to list here, but here is the main one:

Annette said, ‘Stop hiding your joy!! Joyful and smug are not synonyms!!!!’

Here’s an uncomfortable truth. There was a time in my life where I was smug about my happiness.

I used to think the equation was pretty simple: work hard = good things come your way, and you deserve all those good things. I’ve since become very uncomfortable with the idea of ‘deserving’ because I now know that, often, hard work by itself is not enough. You also need a big dose of luck + the support of others.

This week needed both those elements in order to deliver some stuff that’s made me supremely joyful and grateful. Stuff I almost didn’t share with you because I was scared I would come across as smug:

  • Practical Perfection launched with a blog post on my dear friend Woogsworld’s site.
  • Kevin Kruse not only gave it an amazing review on (Yes! Forbes!), he showed that he just ‘got’ what I was trying to communicate in the Overwhelm section of the book.
  • In the Amazon Australia store, Practical Perfection is sitting at #1 in one of its categories. (Unfortunately, the Amazon US store is where it really needs to be doing that … but still. I’ll take it!)
  • Despite having gastro in the wee hours of Monday morning, I was able to recover in time (thanks Alexx!) to record my first podcast interview about the book with Michaela and Warrick.
  • I’ve already received some amazing emails from readers letting me know how it’s impacted their lives.
  •, the podcast network that Let It Be and Straight and Curly are part of, caught the eye of the iTunes editor and he/she put both podcasts front and centre on the first page of iTunes!
  • I asked my writerly and bloggy friends for help in spreading the word about Practical Perfection, and they responded in incredibly humbling fashion.

So, yes, as far as ‘weeks in my life’ go, that was pretty special.

I’m currently experiencing a warm glow of satisfaction and I’m going to spend the weekend doing something Brooke mentions a lot in our podcasts: I’m going to ‘sit with it’ for a while. And just enjoy it.

(And I hope you guys reading here will too. Because, truly, none of it would have happened if not for you.)


Comments 19

  1. I hear you! I’ve the irrational fear if you show how happy you and and how good life is going the Gods of irony will strike you down with a dose of bad luck! Working on fixing that at this very moment x

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  2. Well done on the book. I don’t have yet but I intend to get it. I’m a new commenter, coming from your podcasts but I did follow you on fb many moons ago.
    I always down play or completely ignore the good things in my life as though ‘who am I to have good stuff happen’ I don’t want to make anyone feel bad so I just share the shit parts of life, but really my life is freaking good even with the shit bits.

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      “my life is freaking good even with the shit bits”

      I came to exactly the same conclusion the other day about my own life. And then felt guilty?!

  3. Congratulations Kelly! I’d normally say you deserve it but from your post I see that’s not always appropriate – keen to listen to Podcast in which you discuss this. Your ending really resonated with me – I too have trouble sitting and simply enjoying ‘it’. But why? I think it’s because I’ve grown up in a culture that emphasises protecting yourself against the ‘evil eye’ – and it does sometimes exist. Why do we have trouble being genuinely happy for others? If nothing else, happy people can bring much needed joy and lightness to the world. Thanks for listening!

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      I SO know all about that evil eye! I get really scared being too happy ever because of that!

      But I so agree with you – seeing other people being really happy and joyful makes me happy. So I am not sure why I think I shouldn’t be happy and joyful when I am feeling that way xx

  4. Good for you! Celebrate those wins! There are more than enough shitty things that happen in life – like I said on Facebook, life’s too short to hide your happiness!
    I do hear you, though. If people tell me my life is perfect, I recoil. Nobody has a perfect life. I know as well as anyone that we never know EVERYTHING somebody is going through. It doesn’t sit well and comments like that make me feel like I’m being judged as not being able to relate to someone else’s struggles. Like I’m being dismissed or even backhandedly snarked at – tall poppy syndrome is strong around here at every level of society! I think sometimes we mistake ‘keeping it real’ for meaning we should always only reveal the crap stuff. I think keeping it real also means not playing down the good stuff too. So keep keeping it real, Kelly! 🙂

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      It’s a weird thing to recoil from isn’t it? Almost as if recoiling is a humblebrag. But I do get really offended!

      Thank you so much Kez. You are right. ‘Keeping it real’ means sharing the good stuff as much as the not-so-good!

  5. Marinate in that good stuff Kelly!

    I’m going to have to put another podcast on my list – great work!

    Gee you have some wise Facebook followers, don’t you?

    ; )

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  6. Boo for being sick. And YAY HIP HIP HOORAY for everything else. Hard work, talent, deserving, good luck – whatever the combination was, I’m glad it’s happening to someone so wonderful. The book is FABULOUS. Will be reviewing it soon (just have a few more reviews to go live first). x

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  7. I totally relate to this. Probably five years ago (that is how much this bothered me – I remembered it the second I started to read your post) a woman who I did not know well told a friend that I obviously had a perfect life with a perfect child and perfect husband. My friend told me that she just stared at the woman like she was crazy and asked her if she had ever spent more than five minutes with my “perfect” child and explained that, while she loved my daughter very much, she was one of the most complicated two year olds she had ever met in her life and was definitely not easy. She then went on to explain that while my husband is a wonderful man, “perfect” is not the first adjective that would spring to mind to describe him either. I was so glad that she did that talking for me and am actually good friends now with the woman who thought my life was perfect but it did make me wonder if I was presenting a fake me to the world. I ultimately decided that emphasizing the positive and laughing off the negative, particularly with people I don’t know very well, was not a fatal character flaw and was better than being an endless complainer (of course, somewhere in the middle might be ideal but I am trying to avoid making myself go to a crazy place here and the dichotomy, while a false set of choices, keeps me feeling a bit better about who I am). I honestly do not think you come off as trying to appear perfect – I think you should be able to talk about things that are great without being considered a braggart and should be able to also bring up not-so-great things without fear that readers will think less of you – and I believe that you strike the balance pretty well. This was actually one of the things I really liked about your book. You were honest about the awful times without getting sucked into a black hole of victimization and honest about the gains you have made without being smug.

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      Aw Debbi – thank you. I do work hard to strike that fine balance where honesty meets hope … but without offering false hope! It’s nice to know you think I have done so. It means the world actually xx

  8. Anyone who thinks that anyone else has a perfect life, can’t be in the real world.
    everyone’s life requires work: sometimes harder than other times.
    Write or talk about whatever captures you at the moment.

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      I will admit that back in day I used to think some people had perfect lives. I know better now of course – but perhaps only by virtue of being older!

      But thank you!

  9. Beautiful relatable post Kelly. Your friends are right – sharing your joy and success if only inspiring! I get a bit worried of sharing my ups too, and constantly play up the bad stuff. Is it because we are Australian? I don’t think Americans do it as much. Your book sounds like it’s going great! Well done xx

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