“You shouldn’t ever wear your hair like that, it makes your face look even rounder than it is.”
“You shouldn’t stand that way, because it really makes you look like you have a big gut. Be sure to suck in your stomach at all times!”
“You have a really pointy chin. I’m going to call you pointy chin from now on. ”
“Why did you cut your hair short? I thought you looked way prettier with long hair, way prettier. Big mistake.”
“It’s really annoying when you talk in that sing song baby voice. Why are you so happy all the time?”
“Quit being so sensitive, when are you going to get a backbone?”
“You’ll never amount to much. remember, it’s a man’s world.”
“You are lazy, why you don’t work harder in school? It doesn’t surprise me, since you come from a divorced home.”
These are a handful of examples of some of the lies that I have been told by this world.
Why does this world think that it has any right to tell us who we are, what we should look like, what we can and cannot do, and who we are going to become?
Because of statements like that and many others, I spent years knowingly, and unknowingly apologizing to the world for who I was. I let others define me. I lost any sense of self that was innate. Apologizing for what I did, for what I said, for how I dressed, what I thought, for who I was... and to be quite honest, it left me in a state of never knowing who to be or how to act. Because I had lost sight of her, thanks to letting the untrue and antagonistic voices of the world into my head. People that I trusted, because I had no other options. It was their voices that guided me, when I so desperately needed more voices of truth ringing in my ears, encouraging me, and reminding me of all I was capable of. I knew what I needed, and God eventually brought them to me because He knew what I needed as well.
When I was little, I was fed lies in earnest. It was for me, as it is for so many children, “oh, you are so sweet and you are so pretty and you are so smart. Stay that way forever, and don’t ever disappoint anybody by changing.” Oh, and by the way, if anything really bad ever happens to you, if you are molested or abused or you feel ugly or bad or wrong, don’t ever talk to anybody about it, because nobody wants to hear it and nobody wants to help you, because they are all busy with their own lives. Just stay over there in your pretty chair in your pretty dress with your A+ and all your little best friends and pretend like everything is OK so that our view of you is not shattered!
You mean to tell me, that if I change as I grow, and maybe I’m not sweet or pretty or smart anymore, that I am somehow going to be failing you? Am I not more then what is presented on the surface? What if I am a tomboy, go through a gangly and uncomfortable adolescence, and struggle as I am trying to figure all of it out? We ALL struggle as we are trying to figure it out! The support we have, or lack thereof, will become that looping voice in our heads as we get older.
“I am SO dumb…I can’t believe I just said that.”
“I could never join that group with my co-workers, they are so much more savvy than me.”
“I can’t wear those kind of pants, look good in that type of dress…because my body is ALL WRONG!”
“I can’t wear that swimsuit…look at my thighs!”
“I won’t tell them what I really think or how I feel because my opinion is not as important as theirs, I’ll just keep quiet…”
Am I not valued for what is inside of my heart, from my very soul?
The interesting part is, it is really difficult to expect a broken world, that values the exterior above all else, to know how to raise children who will become who they were intended to be inside. When we let fear and brokenness guide us, and refuse to even attempt to heal from our past hurts, we are letting the world win. We were made to experience hurt so that we can change and grow; not be battered down by the world to the point of becoming unrecognizable. To know how to raise children who will be able to strive for their full potential, we must first heal ourselves.
As an adult, the lies continue to guide us if we let them. I am a work at home mom. I love being a work at home mom. I love the fact that I am here when they get home from school. I love that I can take the time during the day to take care of myself and cook, rest, exercise, meal plan, be artistic, prepare things for my children, surprise my children, walk them to school, strip the beds, clean the floor, call my mom, or go for a walk. I cannot even count how many times I have been shamed over the years for my choice in being a work at home mom. Well, you know what?
I’m sick of apologizing for it.
Whatever you are doing in your life, you should not apologize for your choices, if you are not directly impeding on the rights of others. You are not responsible for making others happy (except for your children, while they are being raised inside of your home) .
If you are a mom and you choose to work outside the home, you should rock that action!! You should not apologize to one single living soul for what it is you are doing -if it makes you happy, there it is. Who cares what other people have to say about it? This is what makes me happy, this is what works for my family, and I am grateful for it every day. Just like when I worked outside of the home, I made my best effort to put my head in a good place every day and make the most of where I was at (despite some horribly broken and cruel bosses).
Before I had kids, when I was in college and I worked at Starbucks, the attitude that I chose on any given day made all the difference in the world towards my happiness and how I would impact others. Did I have a grumpy customers? Yes. Did my back ache from standing on my feet all day long? Yes. Did I take an incredible amount of joy in my job? Yes, I did. Happiness is a choice. Later on in my working life when I worked full time outside of the home, people judged me for not using my college degree. Then, when I worked part time in the transition to me being able to be home with the kids, I was judged because my part-time job was as an administrative assistant, and I learned the hard way that many admins don’t get much respect. I let others make me feel inferior. How ridiculous is that? I was serving a purpose, I was doing what I needed to do for my family, and I tried to wring as much happiness as I could out of every single day at that job, while attempting to also spread joy while I was there.
As I grew older, I began to understand why I let the opinions and statements of others bother me so much…it was because they matched the loop in my head from the lies I was told early on in my life. When you feel genuine happiness in your soul, it is impossible to hide it. Angry and unhappy people who haven’t done the hard word at recovering from their negative self-talk loop of lies will misdirect their frustration at others who HAVE done the work. And, just because you have done the work to start the process of countering and blocking the lies of the world, it doesn’t mean it will get any easier to deal with the folks who have not. In fact, in many ways, it becomes harder. See this post for information on why that is the case for so many.
What other people think about you and have to say about you says WAY more about them than it does about you. Whether you think others are dumb, petty, self-involved, trite, self-righteous, ugly, fat, skinny, you name it….it is time to take a look in the mirror at how you feel about yourself. What is your negative self-talk loop saying to you on a daily basis? Why do you think you are less than? Have you let the lies of the world in, too? It’s pretty hard not to some days. But it is possible to shut that stuff off, or at least quiet the blaring noise of it, to something that is only mildly annoying in the background. Live your dreams and do what you know is right for you, and know that what other people have to say about is their “stuff”- and really, none of your business.
With love and hope,
The Mint Pixie
all photos copyright 2017 the mint pixie