Disclaimer. This is going to be long. And contain lots of words. It just will. So grab a cup of coffee and get comfy. There are some good confessions in this post and maybe you’ll relate.
If you missed it, right before I left for Relevant I released my first ebook, NOT a DIY Diva. I haven’t really had much of a chance to talk about the book, being that I was rushing to get out of town and all! But the response to it so far has been encouraging and life-changing for me. It is great to find kindred spirits.
I’ve soooo appreciated the notes, messages and emails I’ve received and posts I’ve read from women who have struggled as I have to come to a place of contentment and peace with where they are in life. I will share a few of their emails with you today.
My story and journey to overcome perfectionism and find authenticity started long before blogging, but this issue takes on new meaning in blogland! There are many people who struggle with what is “enough.” Even if we don’t share what we are really thinking, the feeling of overwhelm and the struggle for contentment is not unusual!
Life probably isn’t going to be perfect for most of us (and if it is perfect, it might not be that way forever!). The older we get, the more we realize that reality! Imperfection is supposedly chic these days, but yet, do we really embrace that idea in every way? Or are we still striving for contentment and acceptance through perfection, even in our imperfection?
Some women just smile and nod and pretend everything is OK behind the closed doors of their pretty little houses and behind the scenes of blogs, but for many women, life at home REALLY is not perfect. It isn’t the fairytale they dreamed of and there are real struggles to find contentment.
It is tough being a good mom and keeper of our home and living up to our own expectations. It is challenging juggling our to do list and balancing priorities. It can be discouraging when our home, life, husband, children or blog doesn’t meet up to our ideal and we can feel discouraged with what we have.
Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by ideas and inspiration and feel pressured to do more or spend more in order to “keep up.” Sometimes the overload can leave us curled up in bed unable to accomplish anything.
Being online can be like having ADD, inspiration is everywhere and you just don’t know where to focus any more.
I received an email from a young blogger who told me:
She goes crazy one month accomplishing those DIY projects around her house on a self-imposed crazy deadline, and the next month she basically passes out from exhaustion. She is desperately in need of finding a rhythm for her life so she can enjoy the journey!
She revealed the trap she sees online:
The bigger my blog gets and the deeper I get into this world the more I see the ugly side of it. You know the side that is driven by money, stats and jealousy?
Another reader wrote to me saying she “feels productive searching for wardrobe ideas, craft projects and recipes online and cataloging them for future use.” Until she realizes she hasn’t finished a project in her own home in months, her house is a mess, she has nothing in the house for dinner and her kids have been on the computer all afternoon. Then she feels “defeated, discouraged and disappointed” with herself.
I have thought many times over my four years of blogging that this job was a dream come true for me! And it really is! I am blessed in many ways. I can say “this is my job” and therefore I can do more to decorate my home. How fun is that? And I can justify spending more time blogging and fixing up my home because, well, blogging is how we are able to support our outside ministries. The more I do, the more I blog, the bigger and better my business can be! That gives me a great excuse, right?
Yet, it is often the justifiable respectable good things and reasonable excuses that pull me back to discontent with my life.
While it is true, this is my job, and it couldn’t be a better fit for me and it definitely provides for our needs, I really have to try hard to not let my “job” lure me into a perpetual state of discontentment or put me on a constant mission to have the perfect home, accept more opportunities I don’t really need, create the perfect posts, set up the perfect holiday or live the perfect life. I don’t want my “job” or “hobby” or neighbors or comparisons or whatever it is at at the moment determine my success or failure as a woman, as a mom or keeper of my home.
That is another perfection trap I can fall into.
It is a fine line between what is right to do to support my family or charities or grow my business or simply to do what I enjoy, and what is the wrong message to send to my girls about what it takes to be content in life and what my priorities are. Gulp, it is not easy getting it right.
One blog writer sent this message to me:
While I have loved writing this blog and putting together my design business, the stress is immense to make it all work, while still being the perfect wife and mom.
A blog reader confessed:
Even though I enjoy reading all the blogs and you all feel like friends to me, I shut down my computer feeling kind of depressed sometimes because I don’t have that kind of time or money. I know they are just bloggers trying to give the best ideas, but it is hard to not compare yourself to their greatness when you can’t measure up.
I received another note recently from a reader who was encouraged by the ebook:
Melissa, you have helped me more than you could imagine. Your words have given me moments of inner peace. This feeling has been foreign for so long. I want to thank you, for now I can begin the process of living true to myself…Thank you so much.
I don’t have it all figured out yet. Obviously I love finding inspiration online and don’t feel it is all bad, I REALLY LOVE IT! But I do use the techniques and suggestions that I shared in my own ebook to refocus myself on what matters when I get sidetracked by the lure of shiny things I think I need to be doing!
By allowing myself to spend time getting distracted by many things that are not priorities, I’m by default saying NO to things I could be doing that are more important to me. I want to say YES to what matters and NO to what doesn’t.
What are you going to say YES to TODAY?
You can find the ebook, NOT a DIY Diva, here.