You know, when you see this picture, a lot of you will say "wow, that's so cute! they're literally perfect. #goals" But it's been on my heart lately to be real. Social media is such a cool avenue to keep people in the loop about life but I think it's not really about that at all. It's become more about how you take 20 tries to get the right angle, vsco it up, spend 36 minutes finding the most engaging three line caption and hope for the pictures to reel in all the likes and affirming comments. Because honestly, we want to be accepted and approved. We constantly all search for validation, for meaningful people to say we are good enough, worthy enough, gorgeous enough. What's behind and underneath and between our posts though? We are struggling, fighting, retreating, losing, fearing, and living non-edited, real-people, tear-stricken, exhausting, unfulfilling, day to day lives. Yet we highlight and document and spotlight our beautiful moments and hope people take that as the real us. So here's food for thought - guess what's in between the pics of me and my incredibly dashing and heartwarming man? It's not always roses and butterflies, cheesing-hard smiles, love, laughter, grace upon grace, balance, forgiveness. What's actually in between the cute captions and immaculately wonderful photographs are some hard times, stress, the push of work and school, time-management, greasy hair and stinky feet, starved bellies from under eating due to busyness, miscommunication and sometimes low investment emotionally and spiritually. But you don't see that, of course. Guys, when will we be real and say hey - yeah, life is great and I love sharing about it with my sick pictures and cool edits, but here's the real me. The real US. The real inside story behind the scenes. Let's be real for a moment. People, circumstances, life stages, faith, and relationships all have brilliantly wonderful parts to them. But they also have difficult parts too. So don't just get caught up in the scrolling and comparing and judging. Because the same people that are your #goals are having bad hair days, hard points in their relationship, and times where they snap at those they love. So if you mess up, can't get the right lighting, hate your smile with teeth, think you're unworthy to post a makeup-less selfie or whatever your insecurity is .. just pause and be real. What you see on instagram or facebook or snapchat is most likely the prettiest and most glorified part of someone's day, week or month. Don't worry guys. It's ok to struggle. Be honest and wrestle in the struggle a bit. Talk it out, figure it out, hash it out. But be REAL. Search to be authentic - don't park at the extremes of "woe is me" or "wow I'm the absolute best." Commit to finding a middle ground and just be humble and honest.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.
If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.
Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.
Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.
This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.
In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.
To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.
Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.
Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...
Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.
Recently, news outlets have been reporting on how the people of Sommarøy, a Norwegian island located north of the arctic circle, would like to remove the concept of time. This is largely in part due to the fact that the sun does not set during much of the summer nor does it rise during the winter. The inhabitants of Sommarøy do not have rigidly separated days and nights like the rest of the world and can be found doing normal daytime activities at 2 am in the summers.
They also would like to take clocks out of their society. Although this lifestyle might seem impractical to the rest of us, I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to live in a world where time is irrelevant, in regards to the concept AND the physical effects of its passing. This newfound information gave rise to ideas of things (some simple, some whimsical) I'd do if the concept of time did not exist and we had as much time to do the things we wanted.
1. Live on a ship at sea.
2. Watch a flower grow from a seed to its death.
3. Apply as much makeup as desired without being late.
4. Retake my favorite college courses and participate as fully as I possibly can, including the completion of every single reading and film.
5. Take a non-stop trip through every country in the world.
6. Learn to play and fully master every single musical instrument in existence.
7. Watch a full rotation of Earth around the sun from space.
8. Live by myself in a cabin at the edge of the woods a la Thoreau.
9. Reread every single book that shaped my childhood.
10. Have a brief conversation with every old friend.
11. Re-drink that first sip of the perfect cup of coffee.
12. Observe how the tides change with the lunar cycle.
13. Learn as many languages as possible.
14. Sit at the beach and listen to music for days.
15. Train for an Olympic event.
16. Write a detailed, thorough analysis of every track in my favorite movie soundtracks.
17. Take a photo of every interesting place I visit and every little nook I find peace in and make a physical photo album.
18. Cook food without burning it.
19. Watch a star's life cycle from birth to death.
20. Replay the feeling of coming home.