5 ways to be truer to yourself, by Mel C
We ask for other people’s opinions and have retrained ourselves to not listen to our gut.
I’ve learned how to handle being judged. It has to be water off a duck’s back otherwise you go mad.
A BIT ABOUT ME
My career kicked off 20 years ago with the Spice Girls, and I’ve gone on to do musical theatre, perform with other artists and have a solo career. I feel like I’m starting a new chapter in my life; I’ve got to a stage where I feel courageous.
By nature, I’m a people pleaser but I’ve realised it’s important to follow my instinct and not be frightened to say ‘no’. These days, I trust myself.
RETURNING TO YOU
As a child, I was so ambitious and set on becoming a pop star. But when I’d achieved these dreams, I experienced the negative side of fame. I was depressed and put on weight, and the media was very critical. It made me feel ashamed of what I’d wanted as a child.
I sought therapy and learned how to handle being judged, but some days I still feel vulnerable. I now want to find that part of myself again, because I know we don’t ever really change. We just morph to fit our environment.
MAKE YOUR OWN MISTAKES
I’ve been signed to a major label and thought: ‘they know better than me’. Then, when it didn’t go to plan, I thought, ‘B*******, I wish I’d made my own mistake’.
Take responsibility for your life and don’t let others define you or decide for you.
DO IT: SAY ‘NO’
Turning down next year’s Spice Girls’ 20th anniversary reunion was a hard decision. But once the decision is made, the burden falls from your shoulders. That’s how you know it’s the right decision. Being sincere and introspective isn’t inconsiderate.
Confrontation used to make me feel physically sick, but as I’ve got older I’ve realised you have to have conflict to move forward. In the Spice Girls, of course, we had fall outs, but communication is key.
The chances are, if you’re not feeling good in a situation, another person isn’t, either. After airing your grievances you can move on.
‘At times, it’s been hard to act in accordance with what I truly believe. I’ve made decisions based on keeping the peace or to please other people and that’s eaten me up. I still find it hard to disagree with people but now I’m in my forties I’m more confident with my opinions.’
‘As a mum, I have the responsibility of guiding my seven-year-old daughter, Scarlett. Before, I’d worry about what everyone thought of me, but now I want my little girl to grow up to be assertive and make good life choices. That mentality has helped me to treat myself better.’
5 STEPS TOWARDS A TRUER YOU
1. Be good to yourself
The tools I use are: eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. This was the only way out of depression for me.
2. Watch your drink
Alcohol is a social lubricant and before you know it, you’re the person you really didn’t want to be.
3. Wear other people’s shoes
Listen to other people’s opinions and consider how others will be affected by what
you say. It pays to be kind.
4. Speak truth
Be as honest as you can at all times using diplomacy and tact. But first, be honest with yourself.
5. Keep going
I’m still making mistakes. We’re not made to be perfect – learning from errors helps us grow.
Read more: Elle Macpherson on how to manage 24/7 living