This past Sunday I got the chance to see Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery speak in Indianapolis. I’ve been a huge fan of hers for years, so the chance to sit in the same room with her and soak up some of her wisdom and insight felt like magic.
She spent some time talking about social media. And how we can all be tricked into only presenting the shiny, happy sides of ourselves. We believe everyone has it more together than we do and so we don’t feel comfortable sharing our fears, concerns, or burdens. So we stuff them down.
And when we lock in those fears and burdens, we also don’t get the opportunity to lighten the load. We don’t give someone who loves us the opportunity to help or listen. We don’t give ourselves the opportunity to see that we aren’t alone. That likely someone else is experiencing (or has experienced) something similar.
Stuffing those thoughts down doesn’t make them fade into the dark distance. There, they grow until they seep out into our interactions with our spouse, our children, our co-workers, or perhaps strangers.
I remember one time being at a birthday party with Chris and the girls and having a conversation with another parent from school. We were talking holidays and travel — at the time I was feeling overwhelmed by the idea of it all and must have overshared how I wasn’t really looking forward to the holidays. At all. When we got into the car Chris said, “Hi Ms. Negative. What happened to playing the At Least Game?”
I looked at him strangely, and then realized… Oh MY GOSH! I DID sound super negative! Way to win over new friends… Without a real outlet for understanding how I was feeling and what was going on in my life, it just sort of seeped out onto this unsuspecting mom-friend.
Not a good choice. For me or her.
I’m usually super aware of my thoughts and try to make sure I’m not putting negative energy out into the world. It’s something I personally don’t like to dwell in and also I work really hard to reframe my thoughts because I know they are temporary.
I’m not naive enough to think that negative thoughts and emotions won’t happen. They happen. Daily. Sometimes they’re easy to shake off. Other times, not so much.
And it’s those times we’ve got to have our people to share that stuff with. Otherwise if we keep it inside, it changes us. We notice all of the wrongs…and none of the rights or amazings. Which can begin a downward spiral.
But there’s another piece to this whole sharing thing that I’ve begun to realize. Aside from social media, we don’t exactly share the happy stuff either. Maybe because as young girls we were taught to smile quietly. To be humble. Or perhaps its fear of sounding like you are bragging…
I don’t know. I just don’t know many women who are willing to celebrate their accomplishments and share them with others. And that’s a shame.
When I think about my daughters I want them to see women all around them who are striving, failing, reaching, making mistakes and being open about all of it. That’s how as a community we all become better. By seeing the range of possibilities in life and in emotion and knowing it’s all human.
It’s a rainy day. Perhaps its making me melancholy about how I don’t hear enough good news. But I’m hoping you’ll do me a favor.
If you have a current ‘WIN’ in your life or something that you want to celebrate, would you care to share it? Let’s show what’s possible and what happens EVERY DAY — and then be there for each other to celebrate.
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