Thursday, March 16, 2017

The secret to being happy and confident

Recently, a woman I love dearly was telling me about an old friend from high school that was posting pictures of herself in a skin tight ski suit on Facebook. This woman I love was fuming as she pulled out her phone to show me the pictures and continued to talk about it for nearly 5 minutes.

I listened, looked at the pictures, and made a joke about how that woman did look good, and she might as well flaunt it. The joke did not go over well. Tough crowd.

After that, I said, “Just unfollow her,” and proceeded to tell her a similar story about a woman I’ve never met, but used to follow on social media.

This woman has a gorgeous house, a rockin bod, and a gaggle of small children who she courageously wrangles without breaking a sweat. She is also a successful blogger and is literally hanging out with all the Christian female bloggers I only dream of meeting one day. Also, she is really good at home renovations, like right up there with Joanna Gains. Finally, she and her husband seem to have marriage completely figured out.

She has more, does more, looks happier, and somehow manages to do all the things I can’t.

Basically, she is incredible, and she's not that much older than me.

I started following her because she was inspirational. Then, as time wore on, I started comparing myself to her, which left me feeling icky.

This was alarming to me, because even though I don’t have my life perfectly put together, I like myself. I think I have a great life. Yes, I still have things I want for myself, but I understand that having goals and dreams are an important part of my journey. Why was I letting this woman, through no fault of her own, steal my joy?

So, I simply unfollowed her.

I realized that no one was making me follow her. It was my choice.

I asked myself if my life would be better and more peaceful if I stopped obsessing over every picture she posted, and the answer was yes.

As soon as I stopped following, it was like a weight was lifted. I was free of the comparison. I was no longer subject to those images.

The measuring stick I was using to gauge my unworthiness disappeared.

Now, anytime I get the twinge ( you know the one- the little clench of your heart, that self-conscious grip that makes you a little sick to your stomach) I unsubscribe, unfollow, unfriend, and delete.

I use this technique on anything in my life that makes me feel bad about myself.

I don’t even limit myself to social media. I use the "How does this make me feel" test on jobs, new friends, and tv shows.

I started paying attention to how the outside influences in my life made me feel.

If the answer was that it (or they) made me feel less worthy than I felt before their influence, I cut it out of my life, no questions asked.

As I told this woman I love all of this, I could see the determination in her eye. She said, “You know what, you’re right,” as she pushed unfollow on Facebook.

When the deed was done, she looked lighter, more in control, more confident, and dare I say, even happier.

I’ve not thought of this moment until today, when a dear friend told me about how she feels bad after seeing how a sorority sister of hers has it all together.

It reminded me of this technique I use, which has become so natural to me, I forget other women don’t know about it.

It seems so simple. I could tell that this woman I love was wondering why she didn’t think of it.

The truth is, we don’t believe we can. We think we should support our sorority sisters and sisters in Christ. We think we can’t cut ties with an old high school friend, because then we would be disconnected. It simply hasn’t occurred to us to unfollow.

The things in your life that make you feel bad about yourself aren’t necessarily bad things. Just like the female blogger I unfollowed is incredible, so too, is your thing.

They may not be bad for other people, but to you, it’s poison.

Not that you need it, but today I’m giving you permission to purge the poison.

Unfollow, unfriend, unsubscribe.

Be ruthless about it. Don't double guess it.

Be free from anything that makes you feel less worthy than you are.

Eliminate the influence and therefore your self-loathing.

Take care of your mental well-being by making it easy to love yourself.

The phrase,comparison steals your joy, is true, but it also steals deeper, more important things, too. Like self-love, motivation, and precious self-confidence.

The next time you feel that twinge, followed by the nausea and the myriad of negative emotions, give yourself permission to purge the poison and fall into the peace of mind that follows.

You’re amazing. You’re worthy. You’re never too much. You’re always enough.

Don’t let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.

And if it tries, if the twinge comes back? Purge, my friend, purge.