“Love Yourself Instead of Loving the Idea of Other People Loving You”
I saw this quote come up on my Instagram feed and I immediately felt seen. This quote encapsulated my struggle so well, so I shared it on my story. When a friend reached out then saying she related and started telling me her story, I felt I had to share my own story– I had to share why this quote meant so much to me and touched me so much.
So, I sat down on my bedroom floor (the spot with the best lighting in my apartment) and I recorded a video about losing myself sophomore year of college. I had the perfect life on the surface– a big group of friends, leadership on campus, a great internship, and good grades– but, I was still so unhappy. I felt lost. I was at a point of doubt with my religion and I was seriously questioning if God was real and if He was, did it even matter? I made a lot of decisions because of groupthink, rather than using my own judgment. I was always with people and yet, I had never felt so alone in my life. I thought I had to love myself because others loved me, but I wasn’t happy with myself. I finished recording (after a few takes) and hit post.
Immediately after uploading, panic hit. Had I shared too much? Would the people who knew me during that time period judge me and unfollow me? Did people even want to hear about my struggles with faith?
I’ve shared my stories in the past, but this was scarier to me than usual and for a while, I couldn’t understand why. Then, it hit me. I was sharing this story simply to share and for no other reason.
When I speak about anxiety, I’m speaking to share, but also because I want to be a resource to anyone who is struggling. When I talk about social media comparison culture, it’s because I want to be part of changing this culture. In those moments, I am working for a higher purpose.
When I posted about feeling lost, confused, and unhappy, I simply shared because I wanted to be real. I wanted to take off the mask for a moment and say my honest truth without trying to put a spin on it. And telling the truth, for no reason than wanting to show reality, is really scary. It leaves you at your most vulnerable, but those are the moments that matter.
I don’t think we tell the truth enough. I don’t think we’re real enough, with ourselves or others, enough. We always have an agenda or are trying to put a spin on things. Right now, I’m conquering my fears by just telling my truth. No spins, no masks, just me.