Mental health and wellbeing matters: what can’t you do?

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In our regular spot where we chat about mental health and wellbeing, a few thoughts on not being good at stuff, and why that’s absolutely okay.

Hello and welcome to Mental Health & Wellbeing Matters, our little bit of the Film Stories site where we talk about – as you might have guessed! – mental health and wellbeing.

If you’ve not read one of these pieces before, it’s a place where we write about things that may be affecting you, us, or people around us. We work on simple rules: not every article we run is going to be of use to everyone, but hopefully across this series, there’s something that’s of use to you. And also, comments are very welcome, and appreciated.

Can we just bust a myth in this week’s piece, then? The idea that we’re all having to be pretty good at lots of stuff? The stereotype that there’s an instant list of things we’re supposed to be able to do when we’re ‘adults’ – changing lightbulbs, a bit of ironing, rustling up a meal – irrespective of whether anyone’s told us what to do or otherwise. That there’s the assumption of some form of osmosis going on.

The truth is, in the nicest sense, there’s a whole bunch of stuff we’re all crap at. It’s impossible to be good at everything, and I am walking, talking proof of that. What’s more: that’s absolutely fine. And this post is about listing a bunch of faults and accepting them.

This doesn’t mean I don’t try to fix them, but I’d rather acknowledge – in a world where it seems we’re all supposed to strive for perfectionism – that there’s a bunch of things you absolutely shouldn’t rely on me for. Here are some of mine.

Things that I’m rubbish at:

  • I’m useless at DIY. It’s not that I don’t give it a go, and I can just about work my way around a flatpack. But I’m not even your go-to person to get a toilet seat screwed on.
  • I’m not great in big social situations. My instinct is to go small.
  • I have utter blindspots when it comes to knowledge. There are things that I absolutely should know, that go out of my head, or never set up residency there. As such, people sometimes assume I know the simplest of things, and I don’t.
  • Names. Usually quite good, sometimes terrible. Can’t help it. Please don’t be offended.
  • Not crying at movies.
  • Following recipes. I try really hard, there’s one bit in every recipe I mess up. Drives me mad.
  • Tidying my desk. Awful.
  • I’m not good at drawing at all.
  • I could go on.

The point is all of that is part of me being me. I’ve got an eye that’s a little bit knackered, I don’t sleep well, I drink too much coffee and I have a habit of accidentally pissing people off.

There’s a list of good things too, but part of being human is none of us are perfect. And I think that’s okay, isn’t it? As long as we’re not deliberately trying to hurt anyone or do wrong?

So down with perfectionism (appreciating that not everyone can help that). Up with being a human being. Feel free to list all that’s wrong with you too if you want. But mostly, let’s just make the most of what we have.

This column is going to take a week or two on the back burner due to holidays and breaks now. But it will return. It’s really important to us. And so are you.

In the meantime, we’ll re-post one or two older columns here to make sure there’s still presence for this feature on the site. And most importantly of all, you all take care, and we’ll be back soon.

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