How do we know what success looks like?
What does it feel like?
Is success something tangible (money), or a state of being (happiness)?
For me, success can sometimes feel like trying to hit a moving target at a carnival game. It’s loud, it’s stressful, and it seems to be laughing at me. The more the target moves, the more anxious I feel and the less accurate I am.
What makes our target move?
Social media has become an incredible platform for connection and communication with the world around us. It can be a fun way to show our friends and loved ones:
- our latest adventures (Fun!)
- tasty desserts (Delicious!)
- cat videos (Hilarious!)
On the other hand, when we’re not feeling good about ourselves, social media can feed into a voice inside that says “everyone else has it all figured out.”
We begin to compare our inner-struggles, insecurities, and insufficiencies – with other people’s highlight reels.
When fear sets in, we begin to see other people’s happiness and successes as proof of our failures. The story we tell ourselves sounds like this:
“I’m not enough. I’m not doing enough, working enough, working out enough, working hard enough, etc.”
Then we reach in our pockets, pull out our phones, and start scrolling. My Achilles-heel is images of freelance bloggers on yoga retreats doing a handstands on beaches…
These images have now become tangible proof of my laziness, lack of success, and general lack of upper body strength.
When it comes to comparing yourself to others, you are NOT alone.
This icky, “I’m not enough” feeling, can lead to us acting out in ways that don’t always reflect the best/bravest versions of ourselves. This is largely due to the fact that when we are knee-deep in shame…We’re terrified.
Dr. Brene’ Brown, a world renowned shame researcher, believes that storytelling is a key tool to strengthening our shame resilience and cultivating authentic relationships with others.
Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.
It’s such a powerful statement…but what does “owning our story” look like? Where do we begin?
The first step in owning our story is – awareness; taking inventory of how we feel about ourselves, our relationships, and our place in the world.
Interested in deepening your awareness??? Here are three simple activitivities that have worked well for me:
- Journaling vs “I’m not enough”
- Tracking time vs “I’m not doing enough”
- Social Media vs “Everyone has it figured out but me”
Journaling – I have a hamster wheel in my head that spins and spins when I’m feeling anxious or stressed. One of the worst things I can do is continue to let my thoughts spiral out. It’s moments like these that I feel like I’m chasing the clock, never have enough time, and frantically try to do ten things at once (move laundry, answer emails, FaceTime friends, make dinner, while doing yoga).
Putting pen to paper helps me pause, reflect, and become aware. This brief pause opens up an opportunity to breathe and refocus. Almost without fail, after journaling I feel like time slows down just enough for me to relax, refocus, and rewrite my story from “I suck,” to, “I can do this.”
Tracking time – This exercise is relatively simple, but it requires a small measure of commitment. For an afternoon, a day, a week, etc. – write down everything that you do.
Recently, this exercise was tremendously helpful for me. One of the stories I tell myself when I’m stressed is, “I’m not enough, and/or I’m not doing enough.” For 10 days, I wrote down everything I did from the time I awoke to about and hour before sleep. I was BLOWN away by how much I accomplished in a day. I became aware that a major contributor to my stress was that I was largely shifting the most challenging items on my to-do list to the end of my day (a common time management mistake), and would either be too tired or not have enough time to get to them.
This insight gave me the clarity to reprioritize my day, which greatly reduced my stress, and helped me rewrite my story from, “I’m not doing enough,” to, “I can do it. I just need to change WHEN I do it.”
Social Media – One of the places where most people (with internet connection and mobile device) share their story is on SOCIAL MEDIA. When I’m knee-deep in my shame, the story I tell myself is, “Everone has it figured out but me.” Then, I start scrolling on Instagram and Facebook.
I see friends, acquaintances, and freelance bloggers posting perfect pictures, with perfect filters of their perfect lives. These images become evidence for my story that, “I’m a slug, a loser, and everyone else has it all figured out.”
When I become aware, I have the opportunity to turn the story around. Acknowledging my feelings through creating a post helps me take my power back. I’ll share a picture that makes me laugh, find a quote that inspires me, or repost a memory that I love. Using social media in this way helps me feel empowered and not take myself so seriously.
The stories we tell ourselves are a driving force behind how we feel about who we are and our place in the world. Deepening our awareness, whether it’s through journaling, time management, or posting on social media gives is the opportunity to reconnect with our best selves, so we can bring out the best in the world around us.
Until next time,
Did you find these suggestions helpful? I would love to hear from you!