Next year I am turning 30. I’m not really sure where my 20s went, it felt like yesterday I was just a 21 year old having no idea what the future held. I didn’t know who, when or if I would marry, when I would have kids, or what I would be when I “grew up”. Now I know the answers to those questions and my life is filled with a lot more goals than questions.
Through these years, especially since I’ve had a child, I notice my attitude has changed A LOT. Especially since November turned one about 6 months ago. I think it’s because I have been trusted with raising and moulding this little life and the ones to come and that’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.
There are certain things that used to bother me, send me into an anxiety spiral, or made me angry that now I feel “meh” about. Most of these things are good things. I’ve always been a textbook people pleaser and a very anxious person so the less “Big Flying Fs” I give the happier I seem to be. I recently ready the book, “The Subtle Art of Nor Giving a F*CK” by Mark Manson and it just confirmed the transformation I have been feeling. I know there are also things I still do care WAY too much about that I’m working on letting it go. There are also days where I backslide into caring too highly again. It’s a process that I know will be lifelong, that there will always be things I care too much about, things I value too highly, that I will have to just breathe and release.
So here is a list of things that I care significantly less about than ever before:
1. Peoples Opinions of Me – I carefully choose the opinions of people I value. There are a few people in my life that I trust their opinion about my character, choices, and attitudes. These are people who know me intimately, my track record, and know my true self and intentions. I in no way think that I am perfect or flawless and I allow those people to be my barometer and correct me when I need it. As for the peanut gallery, I just tell myself to shake it off.
2. Sharing my Opinions – I feel like I am a very opinionated person on a lot of different topics. What I am (slowly) learning is that around 80% of the time my opinion doesn’t need to be shared. Quite often it doesn’t add anything to the conversation, it doesn’t benefit anyone, and it just isn’t gracious and considerate of others feelings. It’s not that I want to be an opinion-less door mat, it’s that I’m learning that there is a time and place to share those opinions.
3. If People Think I’m a Good Mom – When November was born, I really wanted to be a good mom. I never wanted people to see me sweat, lose my patience, or be frazzled. I very soon realized that 90% of parenting is opinion based and will be based on your child’s needs and personality. Any negativity I have received was over ridiculously petty things like how we put her down for a nap to who I post photos of my child with on social media (yup, that really happened). Now I feel pretty confident in my parenting skills and I know they are rooted in love, kindness, and patience. If someone disagrees with the choices Rob and I make for our children, then we just keep calm and move on.
4. The Stigma Around My Mental Illness – I have been diagnosed with a “fun” combination of mental illness including Chronic Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Social Anxiety Disorder and Agoraphobia. There has definitely been people in my life who don’t understand what I’m feeling, why I am the way I am and why sometimes certain situations bring out characteristics of those illnesses. There has been people I let into my life that have used those diagnosis as their form of personal gossip or just didn’t plain understand. This is probably the one I struggled the most to let go of and I always have to remind myself that if someone doesn’t understand it’s from a place of ignorance or plain unkindness.
5. My Weight: The year I was engaged, gaining 80 pounds was one of the most humbling experience ever. After Novee was born I lost those 80 pounds and then some. Since I lost the weight quickly, I have excess skin on my tummy and other unflattering places. Now I’m pregnant again and my thighs have gotten more curvy, my butt has grown, and I see the weight change in my face. It hasn’t really bothered me, nothing I’ve obsessed over, and I barely weigh myself. For me, my body is growing life and I’m cool with that. My main focus is on being healthy and enjoying growing life. If someone thinks I’m “fat” or says, “you look like you’ve gained weight” (yes someone has said that to me) it’s something as a woman you can’t take personally. Instead I focus on the long journey my body has been through and the gifts it gave me and I really don’t care about my thunder thighs… and for the record my husband has been attracted to me whether I’m 140 pounds or 220 pounds which makes the journey even easier.
6. If I Lose Instagram Followers: This sounds silly but as a blogger, those numbers can really mean a lot. It used to hurt my feelings if someone, especially someone I knew, unfollowed me. Now I look at it as that they are likely not a fan of mommy blogs or just did a Instagram purge and move on.
7. Feeling Guilty: As long as I remeber, I have always had a guilt complex. I was always scared I was doing something wrong or offending someone. It’s not that I no longer care about others feelings or take responsibility for my conduct, it is more than I’ve stopped analyzing everything I do and assuming I’m always doing something wrong.
8. Eating Everything on my Plate: This sounds silly but it’s one it took me years to grow out of. I grew up in a home where we were encouraged to clear our plate and I always thought of the poor children in Africa that had empty bellies. It has taken me a long time to learn that it’s okay to stop when I’m full and to leave as much food on my plate that I want.
9. Saying No: The people pleaser in me always wants to say “yes” to everything that I would overfill my schedule and be exhausted. Since I have been diagnosed with chronic illnesses, I know I need to take care of myself which means limiting my “yes”. I have to say “no” to many things I would have loved to do so that so I can say “yes” and show up for the important things in life.
10. Letting Go of People: This has been one of the hardest, sometimes painful, yet the most important thing I have learned. Sometimes friendships are only in our lives for a season, sometimes friendships are toxic, and sometimes people just grow apart. My personality type is really loyal and I would try to hang onto those relationships beyond their season. Being able to let go of friendships and people has saved me from so much hurt and pain but also has made room for some new and amazing friendships to come into my life. It is definitely not easy and definitely something I will always struggle with but it’s one lesson I have found so much freedom in.
As much as I have had to say “F it” to a lot of things, it has opened up my heart to fully care about the important things. It has freed me of a lot of anxiety that I’m less distracted so that I can be more my true self with others. It has helped me to not hold onto the petty things or be offended so I can embrace the good things. It has improved the relationships with the ones I love significantly because I am happier and more secure in who I am. Sometimes we have to be comfortable enough to say, “F it” so we can be confident enough to live life to the fullest, without fear, without guilt, without reservation, and be who we want to be.
I think this is my favourite post from you. Well said and well done!
Thanks Jamie 😘😘😘
Love it, especially the follower piece. As a newerish to instagram small business its really hard not to take it personally!
Thanks for reading Elyse! You are right… it can be sooo hard not to take it to heart
Definitely agree! I have heard of that book and need to get a copy soon! It has been on my “to read” list for months! I also echo the one about instagram followers, it definitely bothered me at first when people I knew unfollowed my business account, but like you say… you can’t take it personally.
It’s such a good book! And girlfriend you are one talented maker xo
Gwendolyn, I have seen your blog for some time. I want to say to you that you are a beautiful woman with such great and valuable insight. You have so much love for your family, you know what really matters. Though you may have had and still face challenges, the Lord has given you so much to offer in spite of these things. All the hardships you have had, have crafted you into this woman you are. You have been made a voice out of the darkness to speak as like a light. Wisdom, understanding, and love are three things you seem to effortlessly exemplify, even in the face of adversity. I pray you are richly blessed and rewarded for so openly sharing your experiences, despite possible persecution or ridicule. We need to tell these stories, and hear these stories in order to understand the human condition and each other. You are brave, and as such, you are called. A wonderful contributor with very much to share and very much to give. Thank you. Be blessed dear Xo
This is the most beautiful compliment I have ever seen! Thank you so much for taking to share that with me and be an encouragement!!!