Ugh. Dang Facebook making me feel small and unworthy again. Social media has an extremely direct and pointed way of spotlighting the weak, flabby-ish parts within me. Sometimes I post scriptures or thoughtful quotes that may present me as having it all together, but I’m only trying to inspire myself.
This morn I saw an acquaintance sharing happy news, and I felt jealous of the attention she was receiving. (Sometimes I’m jealous of the circumstances, sometimes of the attention received for said circumstances.) Next, I noticed a friend who regularly “likes” pics/posts on FB, but never mine. It annoys me. I wanna ask her why but it would probably tick her off, so I’m not sure it’s worth asking. THAT frustration boils down to me wanting affirmation, especially from certain people.
And then, on the rare occasion, FB incites within me the urge to gossip. I observe those who have been deceptive or proactively mean (on FB or in real life/to me or to others) being admired and applauded. I can’t stand it. I wanna grab the admirers by their shoulders and say emphatically, “You’re being fooled!” But my motive is purely retaliatory: they think they can hurt me and get away with it? I’ll show them. I haven’t actually followed through on these gossip urges. But is it any better having that malice grow up in your heart and squeeze out your joy?
Finally, I watched a video of someone I know who is drop-dead gorgeous, uber-fashionable and semi-famous give a speech to a couple thousand college kids and BOOM. Adios, whatever meager amount of self-confidence was trying to grow up in there. Back down in the dirt you go.
If you’ve never felt these sorts of insidious feelings – the ones that slither up behind you while you’re absent-mindedly scrolling the newsfeed or chillin’ at the holiday party observing the crowd – awesome. I mean that sincerely. It’s not fun. But if you have, I hope you know you’re normal. Struggle is the human condition.
It’s taken me a solid 39 years to come around to the truth that there’s no shame in feeling these things. No, I don’t advise staying there. Don’t play in the mud for too long. It smells weird, it’s cold, and it weighs a person down. But stop shaming yourself for falling into the pit in the first place. It’s gonna happen.
So. Self. Here is what I suggest: fully feel the feeling. Feel it without any shame. Accept that you’re awash in anger or jealousy or contempt or inadequacy. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT IT. Ponder it for a bit. Ponder why you’re feeling that way. Examine what sets you off. Use those feelings to learn your spirit. Then, cheer yourself. In whatever little way you can muster. Eat some salted dark chocolate. Dance with your kids. Watch something funny. Ask a friend to tell you they love you. Write a Facebook post
Like my new BFF Anne Lamott writes, “If you have a body, you are entitled to the full range of feelings. It comes with the package.” Sure keeps things interesting, right?