31 Days of Becoming Me – Day 17: Social Media & Comparison

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There’s so many pathways in the topic of comparison. In this digital age, it’s easier than ever to compare ourselves with others. This is most unfortunate since we are seeing others put their best perceived selves out there and generally comparing them with our worst selves. Other than Glennon from Momastery, I don’t see a lot of people hanging their baggage out for others to peek and pry into (one of the reasons I love Glennon). It’s photos of vacations, of dates and gifts and perfect kids. Facebook and Instagram are notorious for this. Instagram is only slightly better (in my opinion) because it’s less about the words and more about the photo.

by ownernation.us
by ownernation.us
Anjelah of anjelah.com writes this:

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media and how it can affect our spirit. Listen when I tell you that your journey is your own, specially tailored for you and nobody can take that from you. There are so many special gifts along the road waiting for you and only you. When you look at what other people have and start comparing it to what you have, you may start to devalue something that is actually pretty special. It’s special because it’s specifically for you at this point in your life.

I think this is the same for who you are. If we are comparing who we are to what other people do or present to the world that they are we are setting purse up for failure. The beauty of who we are resides in us alone, we cannot find it in another.

In March earlier this year, I decided to take a break from Facebook, indefinitely.  It felt momentous at first. What would I be missing out on. Would anybody notice I was gone? Would I miss it? 

For me, Facebook had this drug-like quality. I hated it with a passion most of the time (except for the quizzes, loved those things), but I couldn’t stop myself from checking it. It was a boredom trigger. Waiting at school pick-up? just a quick check. A few spare minutes? check. On and on it went. I had taken the app off my phone, but that only hindered me slightly.

Then, I had several ‘friends’ make comments on Facebook that I couldn’t un-hear, do you know what I’m taking about? Snap judgements that people made that felt like judgement passed on me.  I’d brood about these comments and be angry or hurt far past an appropriate passing of time. And worst of all, it was damaging those relationships because I now filtered it through the comments they said. I started asking friends, “how does it make you feel?” Nobody, nobody said “it’s life-giving, I feel so connected or isn’t it great?” It was a mixed bag of, “It kind of helps me stay connected,” and “I wish I’d never gone on it, but now I can’t give it up.”

I made the choice to leave Facebook, thinking I might be back soon. But I haven’t gone back, and truthfully, I haven’t missed it much either. It’s not without it’s trade-offs. There are things I miss out on. But, overall I’m a healthier more integrated person because of it. My spirit is lighter and less encumbered. It may not be for everyone, but it has been the right choice for me.

Have you ever taken a break from social media? Why? How has it worked for you? I’d love to hear your experience.

31 Days of Becoming Me – Day 16: Self-Acceptance and Self-Knowing

31Days2015headerIn David Benner’s book The Gift of Being Yourself he writes:

“Self-acceptance and self-knowing are deeply interconnected. To truly know something about yourself, you must accept it. Even things about yourself that you most deeply want to change must first be accepted — even embraced. Self-transformation is always preceded by self-acceptance. And the self that you must accept is the self that you actually and truly are – before you start your self-improvement projects!”

Yikes. At least that’s my first reaction. But, it’s true isn’t it. Why do so many of our self-improvement projects fail? How can I become more compassionate, healthy, kind, etc. without realizing how I lack in the first place?

I’m not talking about taking a trip down misery lane and berating ourselves for our inequities. That’s not the goal or the focus.  It’s more about self-awareness. Being aware of who we really are is the starting point. And, we might find out some things about ourselves that are surprisingly beautiful and good.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of mother I am. When I measure myself up against culture’s standards I don’t pass. When I compare myself to my mother and mother-in-law I don’t pass, depending on the criteria. But comparison isn’t the starting place.

If I start with what kind of mother I am and what kind of mother I want to be, I find that I’m actually more aligned than I thought I’d be. Perfect? No way.

I want to be an integrated woman, one who brings her whole self to her family and models that for her kids. One who loves deeply and respects her limits and the limits of her family. I want to train my kids to be independent, thoughtful, compassionate and kind. They’re only 2, 5 and 7 years old, but I’m modeling the best I am able to be these things.

If that’s the kind of mom I want to be and am on the path to becoming, can I fill our schedule to the brim and be involved in every committee myself and every activity for them? Absolutely not. So I don’t measure up to the super-mom standard. But that’s not what I want in the first place.

This is unique to me, and you have your own unique design and desires. Only you can become self-aware and self-accepting of yourself.


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31 Days of Becoming Me – Day 15: Stop Apologizing for Being Yourself

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photo-by SnapbyThree MY
photo by SnapbyThree MY

There’s another 31 Days writer I’m following. Mary writes at Giving Up on Perfect. 31 Days of Not Sorry. When I saw the topic I was intrigued. What’s that about? Here’s an excerpt from her blog:

What I’ve been thinking lately is that all that apologizing is just one more way I’m trying to be perfect. And just like all my other attempts at perfection? It’s exhausting. And I don’t think all this trying…and failing…and apologizing is what God has in mind for my life, for me.

I love this. I know I’m guilty of apologizing for this reason. Why? Because in the past I really want to be perfect and be perceived as perfect by others. But that’s ridiculous.

No one is perfect and pretending that we are or that it’s something we can attain is putting our best false self forward. That’s not the authentic life. 

When we put up these kind of walls, it puts distance between ourselves and others. That’s not our goal. Our goal is intimacy and that’s only achieved by being vulnerable and sharing our true selves.

Part of our becoming is admitting we’re human. Our humanity is not something to apologize for. We are all human. It’s how we were created. Not meant for perfection but for living. Let’s choose to inhabit our being. Don’t apologize for being you.

31 Days of Becoming Me – Day 14: Love Language

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One way to get to know yourself is figuring out how you give and receive love. It’s also helpful to find out the love language of the people around you, but start with yourself first.

The five love languages are quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts and acts of service. The way you receive love will directly affect whether you receive the gifts of others as love or not.

If you’re interested, read the book Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. He also has a book for kids.

I used to be a gifts girl, and I still am, but after having kids my receptive language is definitely rooted in acts of service. It’s very helpful to know how I receive love so I can make requests and have tools to talk about it.

What’s your love language?

31 Days of Becoming Me – Day 13: How do you like your eggs?

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photo by I love Peanut Butter
photo by I love Peanut Butter

Did you ever watch Runaway Bride? I was a bonafide Julia Roberts fan. A total sucker for all those romantic comedies of the 90’s. Could.not.get.enough. They don’t  make romcoms very often anymore I’ve noticed.

Anyways, do you remember the scene of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts where they are at the diner and she’s trying all the different ways eggs are prepared for breakfast because she’s discovered she’s always deferred her preference to whomever she was dating.  One beau liked eggs benedict (side note: is this how Saint Benedict liked his eggs?), so that’s what she ordered too. Another preferred scrambled, so that was her choice as well. No one, including herself, had ever asked her “How do YOU like your eggs?”

Obviously this spanned far more categories of self-interest than eggs, but it was poignant because we all do this. Maybe you defer to your spouse, parents, kids, boss or friend. Have you stopped to ask yourself what you really like?

Compromise is a necessary part of life. We won’t always get our way or preference, but it’s freeing and empowering to know what you love. And we should be sure to include what we love on a regular basis in our life. It’s the real us.

It may sound simple, but rediscover what you love. Have you been drinking lemon tea because that’s what you grew up with? Pick up a few flavors that sound yummy and explore them. My favorite is Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea – fall in a cup.

Go beyond food, what books do you really love to read? What stores do you like to shop in? Do you like to talk on the phone? Is Facebook really your thing?

We can’t eliminate everything we don’t like or love (as previously stated) BUT, we definitely can eliminate those things that don’t serve us and we’ve just been holding onto because.

Please share, what do you love? What have you been holding onto because _____? I’d love hear from you!

31 Days of Becoming Me – Day 12: You are a Cup of Tea

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Do you ever think “I have no idea who I really am,” or “will I ever know?”

This process of becoming is long and often it feels like you’re walking on a narrow path that is blanketed in thick fog. The visibility is poor so it’s one step at a time. It is lonely work.

Often, our tendency is to look at others. We fashion ourselves like a patchwork quilt, taking the good parts from what we see in others and appliquéing it onto our own person.  But it’s not really us, is it?

Or maybe, you continually bump into people and often feel out of place.  Especially when we’re in the process of becoming we’re in change and that disrupts our circles. Others may bump into me and not like the difference they see.

What do we do when faced with these circumstances? We’re not sure who we are, but we’re not the same either and others aren’t thrilled with the change.

A mentor and friend of mine is known for saying:

“You may not be their cup of tea, but you are a cup of tea.”

As you go throughout your day, remind yourself of this truth. Our goal is not that everyone should like us. People-pleasing is a path wrought with frustration and inauthenticity. But, as you begin the transformation of becoming your true self will call forth others on the same journey. Souls that love you just the way you are.

You are a beautiful cup of tea, don’t change your flavor to suit those who won’t be satisfied. Allow yourself to unfurl and develop the depth you were created for.

31 Days of Becoming Me -Day 11: Books 

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There are so many great books out there on this topic. I’d thought I’d share some of my favorites. Do you have any to share?

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When the Heart Waits – Sue Monk Kidd

Transformed Into Fire: Discovering your True Identity as God’s Beloved – Judith Hougen

Invitation to Silence and Solitude – Ruth Hailey Barton

The Gift of Being Yourself – David Benner

Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest – Bonnie Gray

Simply Tuesday – Emily P Freeman