Self-Confidence

If you post nothing but positivity and perfection on social media, you make everyone else feel bad.  While everyone also believes that there is absolutely no way your life is that perfect.

You’re just faking it.

You shouldn’t brag about your accomplishments.

But you shouldn’t have low self-esteem.

Do this.

Don’t do that.

Act this way.

Don’t be absurd.

Why are you being like that?

Just be real.

Oh, but not that real.

Share your feelings.

But only if they’re positive.

But be real.

Admit your struggles.

But don’t talk bad about yourself.

Have self-confidence.

But be humble about it.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Because it certainly does to me.  There is such a fine line between self-confidence and self-deprecation that it’s truly a wonder if any of us have a small measure of mental health.

After a lifetime of never feeling like I was good enough, or smart enough, or just plain enough…I finally feel like I’m maybe, almost making a little bit of progress.  Not to say that this isn’t a daily struggle.  Because it is.

But…

I know that I do not need to settle for anything less that I deserve.  And when I say that, I mean…I’m smart, I’m capable, I’m strong, I’m stubborn, I’m funny, I’m kind, I’m a million different things.

And when I say that I shouldn’t settle for anything less than what I deserve, I will not settle for anything less than someone or something that sees who I truly am, and isn’t fearful of that.  I will not surround myself with people who choose to put me down instead of lift me up.

We often get so focused on what other people think of us, and how other people make us feel about ourselves that we lose sight of what is truly important.

God.

Not only who God is to us…Father, Creator, Friend, Strength…but also who we are to God…loved child.

We.  Are.  Loved.

Daily, we are surrounded by so much love, it can be overwhelming, it can seem false, but it is never unfailing.

Never.

Do you need to read that again?

Because God’s love for you never fails.

No matter what you’ve done.  No matter how unloving you have acted.  God’s love for you has never failed.

It seems incredible, doesn’t it?  That someone loves us without any type of condition laid upon us.

Yet, it’s the truth.

So…

How can that truth help us navigate the tricky path that I laid out above?

Let’s talk about the word humble.  The act of “being humble” does not mean self-deprecating.

To be self-deprecating means to put yourself down.  To say that you are less valuable that you actually are.

But to be humble means to have knowledge and confidence in who you are, and knowing that all you are, all you have, is because of God.

Does that solve a lot of problems?

Well, yes.

I will.  Maybe not instantly.  But it will definitely solve a lot of problems.  And it will help you build a more firm foundation to navigate the rest of the challenges that life throws your way.

So now that we have the easy answer out of the way…what does this really look like?  How do we begin to implement this in our lives?

It isn’t easy.

It isn’t fast.

But it is so worth it.

God didn’t create worthless pieces of junk.

So maybe one of the things that you need to do is take some time to really look at yourself, and who you are, and the things that you offer to the world around you.  Write out a list of all of the good things that you are if you need to.  Turn it into a poster and hang it on your wall if you need to.  Whatever you need to do to remind yourself of your value.

Read your Bible.  I cannot stress this enough.  You must spend time reading, studying and understanding God’s words to truly understand who He is.  I can sit here and type until my fingers bleed about who God is.  But until you actually get into a relationship with Him, you won’t really know Him.

Now…can the Bible be complex, and overwhelming?  Absolutely.  It can be terrifying.

But it’s ok to be afraid, and still move forward and do it.

I promise you, it will be worth it.

Maybe take it slow if you need to.  Get help when you need it.  Ask questions.  Just, please, make sure you’re asking for help from people who have some understanding of the Bible.

Once you have taken those 2 steps, something will naturally happen.  You start to take a look at what you’re doing, who you’re surrounding yourself with, and you really start to take a look inward about whether you need to make any changes in your life.

And guess what?

Those negative voices that have surrounded you in the past, the voices that have tried to bring you down…once you stand up for yourself, and have confidence in yourself, those negative voices tend to weed themselves out.

Not always (unfortunately) so you may need to make some drastic changes to your social scene.

But you won’t be sorry for it.

My friend, you are loved.  You are amazing.  Now go have an amazing day!!!

I Apologize If This Is TMI

I have this thing.  This…I don’t really want to call it a disease, because that gives such a horrible connotation that it just isn’t fitting.  I recently shared that I have been sick, and in a near zombie-like state for a few months. And I also recently got a diagnosis, and medication that brought me out of the zombie apocalypse.  

I have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

A big shout out and thank you to my parents, who so lovingly passed along basically every negative possible genetic feature in our family to me.  Including a family favorite from my mom…being difficult to diagnose. This resulted in me being sick for months 9 years ago, I mean months (an another zombie apocalypse) upon months, of not being able to figure out what was wrong with me.  My Dr. was at a complete loss, and was about to start the process of referring me to a psychologist because she thought it was a mental problem, when, during a last ditch effort to determine a physical cause, they discovered I had gallstones.  What should have been a simple diagnosis took months to figure out.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention, I did get one positive genetic trait.  From the dad. He didn’t noticeably get gray hair until he was 60.  I have had 11 gray hairs so far. So there, I did get something good from my parents.

Anyway…when I went to the Dr. a few months ago with some abdominal pain, I wasn’t optimistic about finding the cause.  Turns out, I had a cyst on my right ovary. Simple enough, with a simple enough solution. Birth control. Ok, no big deal.

I went back for a follow up 3 months later, and told my Dr. I had only started feeling like anything close to a human being a couple of weeks before.  Honestly, all I was capable of accomplishing was trudging to work, and I could not wait to go home, where I was a vegetable, until I decided it was finally an acceptable time to go to bed.  Even mundane tasks, like grocery shopping, felt overwhelming, and required too much energy.

My Dr. wasn’t happy in hearing that I still wasn’t feeling better, and took a look at the test results, and determined I had PCOS.  And prescribed Metformin, which is normally prescribed for Type 2 Diabetes. Well, of course I have a family history of Diabetes (on both sides of the family) so there is already a good chance I’m going to end up being Diabetic.  So let’s just try to prevent that as long as possible.

It took almost 2 weeks of being on Metformin for me to honestly and truly start feeling like a human being again.  The first couple of days, I couldn’t believe it. I thought maybe it was a fluke, and any day I would end up feeling like a zombie again.  

A little over a month later, and I’m feeling more confident that it wasn’t just a fluke.

And I also feel like this is just one more negative genetic feature my parents (my mom) have passed along to me.  

My mom was never diagnosed with PCOS, and 20 years after a hysterectomy is far too late for a retroactive diagnosis.  But that being said, knowing what we know now, there is a high likelihood that she did have it. One of the things that she and I have been plagued with is horrible hormonal mood swings.  She has even made the comment many times that she’s amazed that she still has a family left because of how bad her hormones were. Honestly, she’s not wrong. It was tough growing up with that.  And it caused a strain on our relationship. And to be honest, a great deal of my lack of self-confidence came as a result of her mood swings.

Now, don’t think I’m throwing my mom under the bus.  This is something that we have dealt with. And we have a wonderful relationship now, and she is one of my best friends.  And maybe we are so close now because we have appropriately dealt with our issues from when I was a kid.

But now I look back on my life, with such a different perspective than before.  I have much more compassion toward my mom now, knowing that what happened wasn’t a result of her being completely unhinged and outrageous.  

For many, many years I honestly wasn’t sure if I even wanted to have children, because I didn’t want to be the same type of mom that I had growing up.  I wanted something better. And I wasn’t sure if I could be such a person.

As I have gotten older, I have realized that I do, in fact, want to be a mom…and I’m hoping that at the ripe old age of 37 (and being ridiculously single) that it isn’t too late for me.  

But also, maybe the fact that I haven’t had children yet is God answering my prayers from when I was younger.  I didn’t, and still don’t, want to be the type of mom I had growing up. And maybe it took this diagnosis for that to truly come to fruition.  

I also look back and wish that this could have been diagnosed at a much younger age, because maybe I wouldn’t have went through some of the things that I have been through in my life.  Because I have felt the hormone swings before, felt completely unhinged and outrageous. When I had brought it up to Dr’s previously, the initial reaction was to put me on Prozac. Which didn’t really make sense to me at the time, but I was desperate enough to try it.  

After a few months of realizing that the side effects of the medicine were horrific, in addition to the fact that it did absolutely NOTHING to solve the problem it was prescribed for, I stopped taking it.

And then I just tried to deal with the hormones.

Honestly, it is no surprise that I have struggled with my weight my entire life.  Because I have moments where I just cannot eat enough food. I am a bottomless pit.  And no amount of water I drink, or trying to talk myself out of eating anything has worked.  So I go through a vicious cycle of eating everything under the sun, and gaining weight, and then feeling guilty for eating everything under the sun and beating myself up for doing that.  Over, and over, and over, and over again.

Looking through the symptoms of PCOS…weight gain, fatigue, acne, pelvic pain, headaches, sleep problems…I can check all of those (and more) off.  Irregular periods, mood swings…check and check!

So where I thought I was just crazy, and needed to spend a little more time with Jesus, now I know that there actually is something wrong with me.  But even better, it can be fixed! At least, I hope it can be fixed.

So here’s the deal…this is still new.  Yes, I’m starting to feel like a normal human being again.  But I have a lot to learn about how to handle myself now.

For example, once I started feeling better, but still dealing with some of the hormone swings, I started eating.  And eating and eating and eating. I gained back nearly all of the weight I had lost being sick. And I beat myself up over it, a lot.  Hence the journey I’m currently in the middle of, banishing my scale.

But also, I have started exercising a lot more.  Basically, Cheese the dog and I are walking our tails off.  The weather is finally starting to swing in our favor, and between the nasty winter weather, and being sick, I have been cooped up for too long, and I hate it.  So, a huge and immediate increase in working out has thrown off my nutrition. I am keeping track of my calories, and I increased (slightly) the amount of calories I have been eating daily.  BUT, I don’t think I have upped that number enough. A couple of times in the past few days, I have felt shaky, and light headed. And I wondered if maybe low blood sugar was the culprit. Or if I simply am just not eating enough food to counterbalance the increase in activity level.  But, I’m bound and determined not to give up. So hopefully we can figure this out. Cheese enjoys the walks, and the time spent with mommy. I enjoy the walks, and being outside. And honestly, just being active feels amazing.

But I am also smart enough to know that I am not all the way there yet, and I may need to change some things up in my daily routine before all of this is said and done.  

So…here’s to more progress, even if they are baby steps.  

8 days down.  34 to go.