As she transforms stylist.co.uk into a digital sanctuary for the day, Fearne Cotton encourages us all to find our Happy Place.
What is your Happy Place? Is it an actual place, drenched in memories and sun-kissed nostalgia? Is it a frame of mind you slip into when you remember the importance of gratitude? Is it a person, a gang or, in fact, solitude?
I think “mine” is a bit of everything: an alchemy created from the comfort and joy of all things in life that feel real. As I surf into my late 30s, I have no time for the fake, the frivolous or the surface. I want to dig deep, get my hands dirty and feel what is really going on around me. I want to have conversations that spill out from the heart like a Niagara Falls of love, pain and authenticity. I want to meet people who tell their stories with pride and vulnerability. I want to breathe in the air around me and properly engage with what is going on around me. The state of being fully awake, ready to hear it all, speak the truth and love whole heartedly - THAT is my happy place.
It certainly hasn’t always been this way. I mean it has, deep down, but the potency of this way of thinking was covered up by fear and worry about what others might think, if I would ‘fit in’ (whatever that means) and if I would be ostracised for thinking differently, or saying my bit. This may have manifested itself in making decisions based on what others might believe, saying ‘yes’ to people pleasing, drinking on nights out to gain a faux confidence, diluting my own light at times and by, well, simply not being ME. I’m sure we’ve all done this to some extent whilst growing up, through the awkwardness of teenage braces and crimped hair, to landing a job with actual adults yet still feeling about 16. We look around, emulate others and cover our truth with new clothes, alcohol and fake smiles.
I lived like this for some time. Don’t get me wrong, my teenage years were exhilarating as I began my fast-paced career whilst stumbling though my GCSEs. My twenties were a blur of jet lag, strong gin and tonics and interviewing every recognisable face out there, but I wasn’t always truly ‘me’. I don’t necessarily regret my naivety or insecurity during these years, but I do recognise when I felt good or bad.
I may, at the time, have put it down to losing out on a job, disagreeing with others around me or not liking the way I looked, but I can now clearly see those moments were instead not necessarily correlating with what my core beliefs were. I would take jobs out of a fear of missing out, act in a way in which I believed others expected and would approve of, and didn’t always speak my mind.
Sometimes this still led to happiness and great adventure but these days, with the omnipresent juggle of parenthood and a deeper understanding of how I personally tick, I just try and stick to being me.
You can’t go wrong when you are being truly YOU. Your decision making might be different to others but when you tap into your gut emotions and follow them clearly, the outcome will always be the right one. The way you present yourself might not fit in with those around you but others will see you shine brightly because you’re thoroughly expressing the essence of YOU. You may say things that rub people up the wrong way or cause discrepancy but if you believe in them and feel happy articulating yourself in a specific way, then others will have to accept your beliefs and story and work with that.
I’ve gotten into the rhythm of this over the last few years and it feels great. I still have the odd down day or midweek slump, where my hummus covered T shirt and unwashed hair make me squirm when I catch my own reflection in the mirror, but that’s OK too. They are all corners of me. I don’t have to be a one dimensional character who only dresses and acts in a certain way. I can be Fearne the mum/step mum who cleans human poo off the bathroom floor but also Fearne the talkative and passionate worker, who states her mind and has her say. I can equally be quiet and content in my solitude as well as full of love and buoyant from a conversation with my old school chums.
We are all complex, dynamic and ever-changing creatures but with a bespoke core ethos and moral compass that steers us in the right direction. I’m still intrigued to find other corners of myself over the coming years. What am I capable of? Who might I meet? Who could I help? Who might help me? What emotions might I feel happy to share? Your guess is as good as mine, but I do know that I will be 100% ‘ME’ in whatever situation I experience and THAT is my Happy Place.
Along with sitting on the sofa with my husband eating cereal and watching The Crown.
As well as baking cakes with my kids.
And raiding Topshop with my step daughter
Oh, and along with a gargantuan gossip with my best mates on a hot sunny day.
Oh wait, one more… bed!
For one day only on Tuesday 27 March, Fearne Cotton has taken over stylist.co.uk and transformed it into her very own Happy Place – a digital sanctuary, focusing entirely on wellness, happiness and good mental health.
For similarly inspiring and uplifting content, check out Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place, available on Apple Podcasts now.