Insecurity Behind the Smile

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I tried to write all of this in an Instagram post, but it told me it was too long! It probably wasn’t meant for social media, anyway, so I’m sharing it here, in my safe place.

Style white tulle skirt blue wall

 

Fabulous blue wall✔️

New white tulle skirt✔️

Freshly curled hair✔️

Fancy black heels✔️

Insecurity behind the smile✔️

Sometimes I feel completely in-authentic sharing shiny happy pictures, when I have moments of struggle while posting them. It’s not that I’m afraid to share, it’s just that I generally prefer to focus on the positive, and I never want to hurt anyone else in the process. But I truly think it’s important that we can share with each other our challenges, because I think we can be strengthened by others, and it’s just a reminder that social media does not tell the full story.

This morning, in our seminary Bible study class, we talked about the Goliath in our lives, or challenges. I had each of the kids write on a post-it note, a challenge they are currently facing, and we put them on a giant poster of Goliath, as we slung oversized marshmallows at him. It was a fun activity, but what I want most wanted them to know, is that through all of life’s challenges, if we can remember, like David did, that with God all things are possible, we will be much happier in life.

When class was over, and I was cleaning up from the activity, I pulled off all of the post-it notes, to read them.

They were anonymous, so I don’t know who wrote what, but I was heartbroken to see a bunch of them wrote that among their biggest challenges were finding good friends, and feeling accepted. I think it pricked my heart so much more, because I can relate. I want them to know, and others out there who are struggling, that they are not alone, and I have truly felt lifted through prayer in this personal challenge of mine.

I’ve had major insecurities around friends lately, and it seems so strange because I never had that growing up. As an adult, I’ve been left out of things, recognized I’m the pity invite, shown up at a restaurant to find a group of people gathered that I wasn’t invited to, been ignored, dismissed, asked questions to others to not have any questions in return, my comments seen as irrelevant…. and most of that has happened in the past year.  I’d like to think that I’m a fairly easy person to get along with, but I’ve also come to accept that I may just rub people the wrong way, and I need to be OK with that, because, lets be real, some people rub me the wrong way. All we can do is try to keep a smile on our face, push through the tears, and aim to be kind hearted, even when we don’t get along with some people. I used to be the party-thrower, always gathering people together, but it became too painful when I’d organize, and not feel included when others organize. So I’ve mostly stopped those. If I try less, it’s not as painful.

I used to lament to my husband that I wish I were “funnier.” I notice all those funny people really get the “approval” card from others, and I just don’t have that trait. I figure, if I’m not funny, surely I’m just boring.  BUT, I’ve got heart, and I care about people, and I’ve decided that if I can’t be funny, I should at least feel grateful for that.

A bit over a year ago, I wrote a post all about being TOO Sensitive. I am overly sensitive. I notice and feel everything. I wish I weren’t so sensitive sometimes, I wish I could let things roll off my sleeve, or have thicker skin, but I’m overly aware of others and their actions, and often am realizing that what I have to offer isn’t what some people need. So if I can’t make people laugh, I must at least try to go with my strength that I care. I care deeply about people and what makes them tick. I want to understand people, and I’m sure I’m often bothering people with my incessant questions.  Sometimes I don’t have boundaries, because I honestly don’t care sharing everything with people. I only ask questions because I want to truly know them, know their heart.

Life isn’t fair. We can’t expect it to be. Just as my beautiful-still-single-high-school-friend texted me last night, as we discussed her dating life. We are all dealt different cards, and I’ve decided that this is one of the big ones for me. I go back and forth in my mind with wanting to be mean and spiteful, ignore the world, call people out on things, cry about it, or brush off the dust and move forward with those people that I truly know care, and that’s what I end up doing…eventually. I do have those awesome people in my life. Good, solid friends, so why am I so bothered by those that don’t care? I try hard not to focus energy on the negativity, and aim to share the good, the happy, the joy. In all of these struggles, I think God is trying to point me in the direction of what is truly important, and that is my family. I have so much gratitude for the good, supportive man that I’m married to, and I’m overly blessed by children whom so far…still seem to like me!  So really, how can I complain?

I write all this down, because I want my seminary students to know, and all of you out there who think that colorful, bright, happy social media pictures DON’T tell the full story.  I think it’s great that we can share triumph and happy online, the downside is that people don’t know the heartache that everyone experiences, behind it. I don’t want any “I’m sorry’s” or pity from people, I’ve come to a good place in all of this. It doesn’t mean it stops from hurting, but I tend to “get over it” quicker than in the past (with just a day or two of tears). I have faced this Goliath before, and come out ok, I know I will face it again and again. I think more of us struggle with “the friend thing” than we let on. It’s embarrassing, awkward, and hurtful, so surely we don’t shout it from the rooftops. But, I do feel it’s important to share, because I think in sharing insecurities or sadness, we can bless others in knowing they are not alone. THAT is more important to me than any embarrassment I might have.

So the next time you see a picture that makes you feel insecure, or that you’re not good enough, I hope you can think of this blue wall, and my smile, and be reminded that things aren’t always what they seem. That we can band together in knowing that no one has it all. We all have something that brings us to tears.