Improving Self-Improvement

When I first wrote this draft almost a week ago, I was super down in the dumps. Naturally, the tone of this post followed suit. I read it and reread it and just kept thinking ‘This isn’t me. This isn’t what want to put out there.’ So I sat on it for a bit.

Being honest is very hard for me. Not with others; with others, I value the truth over everything. I don’t like the way lying feels and I prefer to show those I care about that they are worthy of the truth. Being honest with others comes naturally to me.  Being honest with myself, however, is a different story. This is my attempt to work on that.

I’ve been struggling within myself lately. You may find this surprising, given my last post about seeing the silver linings in any situation. That was working for me for a while, until things started to feel so clouded that I couldn’t see the light anymore. My problem, I recognize, is that while I was looking for the positives with every hoop we are having to jump through, I wasn’t actually dealing with any of the negative feelings that accompany them. There are only so many corners of your brain you can push things to until you run out of room.

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Life has been taking every opportunity imaginable to remind me that I am not in charge. I have absolutely no control over what happens. The only thing I can control is how I react to these circumstances, and as of late, I have lost my grip on that as well.

As the great Justin Timberlake once said:

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All of this belly-aching is to say this: Something needs to change. There are some rigid details of my life that I am completely powerless to. That doesn’t mean I cannot work on myself, though.

Here are a few areas I’d like to improve upon:

1.Self-Care. Aside from feeding myself and keeping up with basic hygiene, I really have not been taking care of me in ways both physical and emotional. Most of the time my cup is empty but I still keep pouring. I’d consider myself a pretty giving person. This is a trait I inherited from my father, the most generous man I know. Growing up, I watched and wondered why he always did for everyone else and never stopped to just buy himself something nice or treat himself to a round of golf. I get it now.

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2. Bending until I break. I think 1 and 2 go together. With the selflessness comes the question of ‘How much is too much?’ I have noticed in the last year(ish) that my generosity and desire to help others can be taken advantage of. Being nice and being weak are not the same thing. Through interactions in many different aspects of life, though, I’ve realized if a person believes they can exploit my generosity they will. I need to start putting my foot down but that is something I really struggle with. I’m always afraid to ask ‘What about me?’ because I don’t want to change the way people view me. That’s gotta go.

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3. Social anxiety. Ugh. This. Anxiety in general is such a pain in the butt. My husband has been encouraging me to put myself out there since I became a stay-at-home mom. I have a couple (as in two) really solid friends who have consistently stuck around since Evelyn was born. Checking in regularly, making plans regularly. I am so thankful for them. My other friends are busy (totally get it) and I hear from them everyone once in a while. That helps to make visiting with them so much sweeter. A mom needs mom friends though! It’s just different. I’ve let my fear of the unknown stop me from pursuing opportunities to meet other moms because I am actually a very shy person. It takes me a while to open up and feel totally comfortable with someone I’ve just met. So I sit around wishing that I had someone to mom with but doing absolutely nothing to make that a reality. Edit: Since writing this the first time, I have taken a few opportunities to put myself out there and it has made a huge improvement! More details on this to come.

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4. “Of course this would happen.” I’m really guilty of throwing myself pity parties. When bad things happen here and there, I can take it in strife. It’s when it starts to pile on that I revert back into what I call “the dark shadowy place.” I fall back into the trenches of “woe is me” and wonder why bad things happen to good people. Boo hoo. Everyone has hard stuff. You absolutely cannot control the actions of others. What you can control, however, is the way you proceed. I feel like I already said that. Hm, must be important. Controlling my reactions and attitudes is really something that I could stand to spend some time working on.

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5. O, me of little faith. Finally, this. My faith is not really something I openly talk about. Maybe that makes me a bad Christian but for me, it’s something extremely personal that I share only when I feel it is safe and I am invited to do so. I don’t mind the type of people who love to spread the Word, but nothing about my disposition is very ‘in your face’ and my faith is no exception. Lately I’ve found myself yelling (figuratively and literally) at God asking “WHY are you doing this to me?” In a very tearful conversation with my mom, she kept telling me to pray and repeating “God can.” At first, I was a bit irritated. I wanted a right now fix. Nothing feels better than letting go and letting God though. This is my biggest weakness of all.

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Okay, okay. This was all very dramatic. All of this may leave you wondering “So what?” So your life is kinda, barely tough. So what? Oh you’re wallowing in self-pity? So what? There is a point I plan to make, though. A point I did not see when I started writing this draft. Luckily, the idea occurred to me as I worked through it.

I know I cannot be the only one who feels this way. You may not identify with everything I write, but I have had people reach out to me directly, thanking me for sharing my struggles because they are struggling too. Which is the coolest feeling, by the way. I love helping people so much. It’s so rewarding when I can bring comfort to someone without even meaning to! That being said – here is my plan: I like the idea of doing a ‘blog series.’ For starters, it makes coming up with content slightly easier. It also helps to bring focus to my posts and my to life. It gives me something to think about during the mundane parts of each day. My next installment of blogs will be all about how I am actively working to improve these areas of my life. I am really excited about exploring new options to take charge and improve my personal well-being. My hope is that someone else who may be struggling the same ways that I am will feel confident in trying new things to make their lives better, too.

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Maybe it’s dumb, I don’t know. What I do know is that I have so much to be thankful for and I no longer want any of these distractions causing me to stray from my gratitude.

We’ll see how it goes.

OH PS – John and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary. In honor of this event, you can expect a celeb shot blog post from John in the next week or so. I’m excited, are you?


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