Friday, September 30, 2016

Last Day Of Blog-Tember | My Advice.

It's our last day of Bailey's Blog-Tember Challenge! Congrats to all of us! I'm sad it's ending. I look forward every September to this writing challenge. I meet so many wonderful fellow bloggers who are so encouraging and inspiring. But this prompt is especially fun so let's get to it! 

Today's Prompt:  Picture this, you've been stopped on the street by the photographer of Humans of New York, and he asks, "What advice would you give to a large group of people?" Share a picture of yourself along with the advice. 

External Self (how I would like you to see me)                                           Internal Self (what I don't want you to see)

I'm going to give some advice that I need to hear on a regular basis. Here it is:

Don't judge or compare your inside with someone's outside. 

In other words, we are so quick to compare ourselves to others highlight reel. We see all those airbrushed, edited, face-tuned photos and wonder what is wrong with us. We see others work-full time, raise children and manage to volunteer and immediately we begin to turn on ourselves and berate ourselves for not doing it all. We shrink when we compare. We determine our inner worth based off of everyone else's outer appearance, accomplishments or achievements. 

We intuitively know this is not true but we FEEL that it is. 

For so many years I would look at others as a barometer to remind myself that I can and SHOULD be doing all of these things. I would constantly criticize myself and wonder why am I so tired after work? How come they can work full time and have energy? How come they have the stamina for pinterest parties and baking from scratch? How on earth do they keep up with manicures and hair trims and eye-brow waxing and shaving when I can barely manage keeping up with my laundry and showering?! How do they manage the strength to lead a bible-study, lead a workshop and volunteer with the homeless?

And then there are deeper and more harsher comparisons. I bet they've never struggled with anxiety. I bet they've never felt so scared. They probably have a 4.0 GPA without even trying. They've probably never felt insecure. They're so much stronger. They don't know what it's like to suffer or lose someone they love. They've probably never been really tempted to lie, steal and cheat. Their friends are always there for them. Their toes are always painted and they've never struggled with addictions. And they own a home and have published 5 books and they are only 25.

But here's the truth;

We all have a bit of a mess inside. 

You know why I know?

Because we're human. 

And yet we are still so beautiful, special, competent, courageous, capable and worthy even if we are a hot mess. 

Today I smile a little when someone presents me with a perfect image because I know that's not the whole truth. It's not the entire story of who they are. I know that we only put out what we think the world will accept. I know that we are scared and so we don't show our most authentic selves. 

So when I come across someone who is working so SO hard to cover up the real version of her/himself I have a little more compassion. They are not fooling anyone but I understand the need to hide behind perfection. It often feels safer from a harsh and critical world. 

If being a therapist has taught me anything it's that we are all seeking similar things; love, belonging and connection. And that no one has the whole "life thing" down perfectly. In the past four years I have seen a lot of different clients and let me tell you something, you would never know from just looking at some of them that they are struggling. And even some of my closest friends, you would never know. Because they appear smart, successful, competent and are all gorgeous (in my humble opinion #friendbrag) and they are all of those things AND they struggle just like everyone else. 

No one actually skips or prances through life without feeling lost, alone, confused or scared at some point or another. It just doesn't happen. 

So next time you're tempted to compare your inner world with someone else's outer world remind yourself that you don't know the whole story behind that person's highlight reel. But you know your story and I bet there are moments of happiness, pain, love, confusion and strength scattered throughout your precious story. Own that story and hold your head high. You are a gem.

 Or you can always just look back up at my pictures to have a good laugh because what we see externally isn't always what is going on internally (aka inside I am fuzzy, sweating, nervous and terrified of my exam AND I am still capable, competent and courageous) 


  1. I think this is your BEST one yet! You are brave to post your "funny" self. Thank you for being transparent and letting us know we are all in this thing called life together...

    1. Thanks SO much for your comment. We are all in this together and I love you smoo!

  2. Wonderful! You made me cry! This is such a fabulous post Heather, thank you so much for sharing x I'm trying to catch up on my reading, life stuff (and trying to keep up with Blogtember) left me a little drained. You're so right dear one, we are all struggling and it's so easy to become convinced that no one else understands, that everyone else is floating through life effortlessly, but they're not. Life can be really difficult at times but that's when we have to sit ourselves down and count our blessings, even in very dark moments there are blessings waiting to be counted. This is such a fabulous post Heather, and it needs to be read. I'm off to share, huggles always dear wee friend xx

    1. Rosie, thank you or your kind words and for sharing!!! I always love your sweet comments. I so agree; some people just look like they float or prance through life. It's not always easy to remind ourselves we don't know the whole story but so essential. And SO important to count our blessings and gratitudes.

  3. I love this post! It is so true that we are all seeking similar things: love, belonging and connection.

    1. Right?! So need to remind myself of this from time to time :) Thanks so much for stopping by Rhonda!

  4. I love this! Reminds me of our discussion about the highlight reel earlier today! You are brave AND simply congruently human in your sharing about your insides and outsides - the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and the meaningful. Keeping setting the example that imperfection is the ironic perfection of us all. ;)