I find blogs to be absolutely fascinating. It seems like everyone is either writing or reading one now a days, myself included. I subscribe to several blogs, which I take great pleasure in reading. In fact, receiving a new post from one of my favorite writers is often the highlight of my morning.
Quick Side Note: One of my absolute favorite bloggers is a fantastic woman named Sarah Bessey. If you don’t know who she is, stop what you’re doing right now and look her up immediately. She’s absolutely spectacular!
While I have always enjoyed reading blogs, I’ve never tried to create my own. I’ve always thought it would be a really cool experience, but I just wasn’t super motivated to get started. So when I found out that I had to write a blog post every seven weeks to meet the requirements of being a LEVN volunteer, I was actually pretty excited. This was going to be the perfect opportunity to finally try something I’ve always wanted to do.
I decided to write my first blog about adjusting to my new home in California. Finding a topic to write about was pretty easy, but I struggled with putting into words all of the emotions I was feeling about being in this unfamiliar place. I went back and forth between thoughts, typing and erasing sentence after sentence. It was a painstaking process, and it took me much longer than I had anticipated. After hours of revision, I was finally happy with the piece and submitted it for publication. But when it was finally posted, I reread what I had written and found myself extremely displeased.
“This is so dull,” I thought to myself as I read. “I don’t find this even the least bit interesting, and it’s about my life! This is so poorly written…what a stupid thing to say! What was I thinking?” I took note of all the mistakes I felt I had made and created a list of things to avoid when writing my next post. It would be much better next time. I was sure of it.
Seven weeks passed, and it was time to submit my second blog. This time, I found it much more difficult to select a topic. I had so many things going on at work and in the house. How was I supposed to pick just one? Eventually, I settled on the issue of presence, a broad topic that I had little difficulty elaborating on. After consulting the list I had created of mistakes to avoid this time, I felt very prepared to write a good post. It took me much less time to write the piece, and I was extremely content with the final product when I sent it off to be posted on the website. But of course, when I reread my post online, I found myself equally as disappointed with my second piece as I was with my first.
“I can’t even finish reading this,” I scoffed. ” It’s an absolute mess. It sounds so forced! It doesn’t come off the way I wanted it to at all. UGH.” I scrolled down and read through my housemates’ posts again, all the while thinking how much better there’s were than mine. “Why can’t I be funny like _____ or witty like _____? So-and-so writes so beautifully. Why can’t I put words together like that?” I got more and more frustrated the more I read. I kept going until I reached my first post and refused to go any further. “That’s it,” I thought. “I’m not doing this again. This sucks. I hate writing blogs! This whole thing is just stupid!” I could feel myself getting angrier as I thought about my next deadline. It was coming up shortly after the new year, and I knew that I was going to have to submit something no matter how much I didn’t want to.
January rolled around, and the deadline to submit my post passed. I started to feel pretty guilty about not sending anything in, so I begrudgingly pulled up a blank Word document at work and hoped for inspiration. I knew I had to come up with something quickly. Suddenly, a thought came to me. “I know just what I’ll do!” I exclaimed in a very Grinch-like manner. “I’ll write a blog post about how much I hate writing blog posts! That’s perfect!”
I started typing without a second thought, and the words starting flowing out of me like they never have before. I wrote paragraph after paragraph about my strong disdain of writing blogs, and out of my misery, this piece was born. It wasn’t until I was halfway through writing this post that I even realized what it is really about. It’s not about the love-hate relationship I have with blogs. It’s about the love-hate relationship I have with myself.
I think the realization came to me as I was reading the middle section where I talk about critiquing my previous posts so intensely. I started to think about how ridiculous the whole thing sounded. After all, there are maybe five people that even read my posts, so why do I care so much about them? Why am I aiming for this unattainable standard of perfection…
Why am I being so cruel to myself?
Self-love is something that I’ve never really understood how to practice. I understand the principles, but the idea of loving myself despite all of the flaws that I feel are so incredibly visible is really difficult to wrap my mind around. I feel honest and truthful when I say to someone else that they’re beautifully and wonderfully made, yet when I try to say that to my own reflection, I’m incredibly uncomfortable and feel as if I’m fooling myself. I’m not saying any of this out of a desire for pity or for affirmation. I’m just hoping that if you’re reading this and it sounds like your own experience, you can find comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.
Learning to love myself is a journey that I expect I’ll be on for a long time…maybe even a lifetime, but each step I take closer to loving myself is a step I take closer to God. After all, what kind of relationship do I have with God if I don’t truly believe that I’m worthy of His love?
He says to His people, “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you,” (Song of Solomon 4:7, ESV). The psalmist echoes His sentiments, reminding us that He knitted each of us together in our mother’s womb, and thus we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139: 13-15). These are truths that I cling to in this journey. It may not be today or tomorrow or even a year from now, but I hope that one day I can truly believe that these truths apply to me too. Until then, I’m making a promise to myself. No matter how hard it is to believe or how much I don’t want to say it out loud, I’ll look at my reflection in the mirror and remind myself of these truths: I truly am altogether beautiful, beloved, and without a doubt, wonderfully made.
Lutheran Social Services of Northern California