Being OK With Being Enough

Lately I’ve been struggling with self-worth. I’ve noticed moments of jealousy, comparison, anger, judgement, and frustration pop up. I know- even in those moments- that my reactions are a result of being unhappy with myself, but I have been struggling with silencing the negative voices and curing my insecurities at their root.

I can feel the spiral as it’s happening, which is incredibly frustrating because isn’t the biggest “cure” of anxiety or wild emotions the ability to be aware of your triggers and emotions as they happen? I am fully aware of them- sometimes I even say aloud, “Audrey, what is wrong with you? Chill! Why are you feeling this way?!” But they’re still there.

I’ve been advised to invest in the awareness route. I tend to shut down emotionally or dive head first into distraction when things become overwhelming. I know that’s not right or healthy, but it’s a comfortable band aid. I’m going to give the awareness approach a shot next month, though. We’ll be flying to Dallas and I plan to NOT distract myself into oblivion and, instead, embrace every moment of the flight. (WISH ME LUCK. WOOF.)

But it’s tough to apply this practice when it comes to emotions. I am OVER THE DAMN MOON for my friends and their accomplishments. I’m even happy for acquaintances and strangers who have good things happen for them. But every once in a while, usually when I’m overwhelmed with 15 other things, I feel envy or judgement creep into my happy heart and turn it bitter. It’s frustrating.

I want to be skinnier, good at my job, more charismatic. I want to write a book and grow my own vegetables and travel with friends. I want to kick my flying fear to the curb and cure my lifelong acne and enjoy coconut milk. And honestly, no one is standing in my way. But Bitter Betty is a sneaky b*tch.

I am a STRONG girls support girls & empowered women empower women advocate but I am a human, too. I can be a catty, mean person in my head and to myself at times. I’m always looking for a way to fix that.

All that to say, if you’re riding any certain struggle bus today we can share a seat. No one is perfect. You vent to me and I’ll vent to you, and together we can figure out ways to be kinder, gentler, graceful humans in this world of comparison.

*I know things are tough right now. Speak up, donate, and love your neighbor fiercely.

 

A Mental Diet

After I wrote my fall TV show post I started thinking about all the shows I’d like to watch, but can’t. It’s a funny thing to say considering I’m an adult and I can technically do whatever I want (within reason/the law), but similar to how we know we shouldn’t each donuts and ice cream and cake for dinner every night, I know there are shows I shouldn’t watch.

This is not a moral or biblical “shouldn’t.” It’s a mental health kind of “shouldn’t.” If I drink Mt. Dew & eat potato chips for every meal I know I will be physically unhealthy. If I binge on Game of Thrones or This Is Us or Criminal Minds I know I will make myself mentally unhealthy. And like food, we all have a different threshold for “too much.” We all prefer different flavors- we all process those foods (or shows) differently. I don’t enjoy pie, but a lot of people love it – I don’t enjoy GOT, but a lot of people love it.

I think it’s important to know what you can and can’t do mentally. I have never enjoyed violent television shows. I don’t like anything that fixates on the drug culture (Shameless, Breaking Bad, OITNB) or anything with violent or rape undertones (The Handmaid’s Tale, OITNB, Game of Thrones). It doesn’t both me one bit that people enjoy these shows- I just know that I don’t.

In my early twenties I used to love Law & Order SVU, CSI, and Criminal Minds. In my teens I watched General Hospital, Grey’s Anatomy, and other dramas. Somewhere along the lines I realized that I internalized the drama, fear, suspicion, and paranoia that the characters in these shows portray. I let it affect me and I carried it with me. When K would leave for business trips I’d have terrible dreams about kidnapping and murder. I honest to God believed someone was living in our attic. (And I love to be alone- having him gone was not the issue. My brain was the issue.)

So I stopped watching shows like this.

This mental healthy “diet” isn’t restricted to television. There are songs and artists that I avoid for emotional reasons. (I’d guess many music lovers are nodding their heads.) There are books I know I shouldn’t read or I should space out. (Thrillers make me shake- my body actually quivers while I read them. Holocaust and slavery-era books completely destroy me.) Obviously there are movies I’d never touch. I watched Django: Unchained with my family once and I felt sick for a week.

Perhaps it sounds silly at first, but if we’re careful about what we feed our bodies nutritionally, why wouldn’t we keep tabs on how other stimulants make us feel?

We all feel things extremely differently. It’s why menus & Netflix & the TV Guide have so many options. I would challenge you to pay attention to how television shows and songs and movies make you feel. I know that I shouldn’t have a milkshake every night, but once is a while is totally fine. I know I can’t read a book like The Handmaid’s Tale every week, but every so often is fine. Knowing what’s good for you in all forms of ingestion is important to your health.

So pay attention to how television shows make you feel. Do you walk away from Grey’s Anatomy feeling dramatic and bitchy? Do you walk away from GOT with a little bit of rage? Evaluate how affected you are and how your personality differs after you take in a program or movie. Set some limitations for yourself and find a healthy mix.

(Or maybe I’m just crazy 😉 Are you completely unaffected by shows? I’m genuinely curious.)