Monday, February 23, 2015

Don't Let Comparison Steal Your Joy

  Tonight, I did something that I've done several times in the past...  too many times, honestly.  I decided it had been awhile, and I had done good to keep away from facebook..  so I decided I would sneak in and check it.  My hubby had deleted his account but it wasn't totally gone like mine was. So I thought..  why not?  Check in, just see what everybody has been doing on the social site while I was gone.  Why not?  So I did.

   Before, when I would step back in after taking a break, I would feel a flood of emotions.  Most of them were the feeling of being 'left out' of the loop.  Feeling like the world was participating in something I wasn't.  Feeling sad because people didn't take the time to remember me or talk to me, but seeing them live out their life on facebook made me feel like I wasn't important to them.  It normally made me regret leaving, and want to come back.  For the past three years that I've struggled with facebook, I've felt that way when I've 'stepped back in', whether it be for a moment to check in before deactivating again, or creating a new account altogether...  it was still always the same feelings.
   This time, I felt amazing, because this time, although still a flood of emotions, it was very different!
  I still felt emotions, but very different ones.  I felt a confidence brush over me that I hadn't felt in a long time.  One that felt almost sad seeing everyone interacting.  I felt normally like I was on the outside looking in, but this time in a good way.  In a way that felt like I had overcame a great burden.     I looked at one friends page, and as I read their status updates, I felt the pang that the way they were broadcasting themselves was not at all the way they were in reality, and I felt sorry that they felt they had to be someone else, because who they are is really great!  I felt ashamed for the friend that overshared, and I knew that one day they would feel awkward in a situation when one of their hundreds of friends that they didn't know that well, knew everything about their life.  I felt grateful that I had learned about a friends happenings because I had a conversation with that person, not because I read about it on facebook.  I felt sad when I saw families that were now broken, deeply sad, and I hadn't felt that way before..  maybe because it was so common when it was on my facebook feed, or maybe because I was just so caught up in the act of busy-bodying that it just seemed like more gossip to me...  but I felt it sadden me on an entirely different level than it had before.
   All of these feelings flooded me, but one stood out, one that really just encompassed all of my emotions.  I still didn't enjoy facebook..  for so many reasons.  But- this time, it felt so different.  When I logged out promptly, I decided once and for all- at this point in my life, when I've decided to take a step back its not just for a set amount of time.  Right now, facebook is not a part of my life.  I don't want it to be, because it no longer makes me feel left out, unpopular or unknowing.  Now, I don't want to me on it, because it reminds me of who I used to be...
   I used to be very different than I am right now.  I used to feel like I wasn't good enough.  I used to want to go on a diet and end up looking like a victorias secret model.  I used to feel like there was nothing I could do to be accepted by certain groups of people.  Before, I was upset because I felt like so many people were doing so much better in their life than me, and I hated the feeling of jealousy that came over me.  Before, I felt that my marriage was lacking because I didn't have as many selfies of me and my husband, and he never wanted to write sweet things on my wall like other couples.  Before, I felt like home schooling was a burden, something that I had to do instead of having awesome jobs like the friends were posting on my timeline.  Facebook made me feel those things, and if it didn't actually cause those feelings, it certainly harbored and nursed them.
   I don't feel those things anymore...
   Although I would like to lose weight, its not like 50 lbs, more like 30. I want to be healthy, not stick thin, and believe it or not, I'm really happy with where I am right now.  I wouldn't be sad if I lost weight, but I have a breath of confidence that I never thought I would have.  I've struggled with my weight my whole life, but rather than struggling with needing to lose weight, I've struggled with loving myself no matter what I weighed.  I finally can feel that release, I finally don't feel like I'm not good enough for life just because I'm not a size 6.  I feel great about myself, and that's something I never thought I would be able to say, and certainly not while I was overweight!  I thought my life would be great if I could just be smaller, and finally- I'm not smaller, but I still think my life is pretty great.
   I don't see home schooling as a burden anymore, but an enormous blessing!  I'm so greatful that God called me to be home with my children.  I pray so hard, and when it gets really hard, I don't think "well I'm not cut out for this!" anymore..  I simply think of a different way to do it.  Home schooling is no longer an option, its a lifestyle that I Love.  I am not hesitant to tell people that I home school anymore, I don't feel ashamed by it.  I'm not burdened by thinking my children are 'unsocialized' or by anyone's comments..  I'm happy, I'm proud, and I'm determined, regardless of what others think or say.  I don't feel jealous for Mom's who work anymore, because what I do is exactly what I want to be doing, and I'm so happy that I have the freedom to feel that way!
   More than anything- I've freed myself from the burden of people pleasing!  I love that feeling.  I know there are some who judge me- they don't like the way that I dress, what I have to say about facebook, what I have to say about home schooling or my reluctance to join groups so that my kids will have 'peers' and be 'socialized'...  I know that.  I know that even some family members can't support me, but for the first time in my entire life- I'm totally okay with that.  I'm doing whats best for me and mine, and I'm not comparing that to whats best for you and yours, and that's an incredibly freeing feeling!
  Also- I'm head over heels batty over my love.  I love that our relationship has cultivated into something special, significant, and totally ours.  I love that our relationship coincides with our ministry and what we feel called to do- and the fact that our talents compliment so that we feel called to do it together.  I love the love that we share, the marriage that we have.  I love that our marriage is ours, completely and totally ours and that nobody else can share in that or see it, and that it doesn't compare to anyone else's in any way, shape or form.  Not because ours is better than others, but because its different, because it belongs to us.  It's totally cool if he never posts anything to me on instagram, haha, because I know he loves me- I know how he loves.  I think that's pretty amazing.

   I'm so grateful that my heart has changed so incredibly and entirely.  Its not fair to post all of those feelings on facebook, but its important to note that the reason I felt all of those things stemmed from insecurity, and that insecurity can feed off of social media.  Its not fair to pin it on facebook- but for me, it took cutting that cord in order to bring those feelings to the surface and exposing them, so that I could seek out my Father and his help to diminish them.  I couldn't have done it without him, and I wouldn't have taken it to him with such abandon if it hadn't been for my willingness and conviction to cut the facebook ties.  I'm thankful that I can walk away from it this time, feeling completely and totally at peace with it.  Not sad, or feeling left out.  Although I have friends who are dear to me who write far more on facebook than they would ever tell me in person- that's okay.  We share things that are personal, between us- not between them and the world, and that's something I treasure.
   I'm learning a lot, and sharing some of it.  For now, I wanted to just open up and put that out on the table.  I'm so grateful for the transparency that God has granted me, and for the strength he's given me to work things out in my head and heart.
  So my best advice to each and every one of you out there, is to live your life and love your life, and remember that it is specifically tailored to you.  Don't ever let comparison steal your joy, and rid yourself of anything in life that facilitates that...  then, your heart will begin to change.