28 August 2012

♥ my REAL peeps

I had some time Sunday afternoon to myself.  It was quiet and I had been up late Saturday so I decided to take a nap. I made the mistake of taking my smarty-phone with me and...

an hour and a half later...

I got sucked into Facebook.  By the time my kids started emerging from their own naps I was grouchy and irritable.   I know I don't have conscious thoughts of comparison, but I do have thoughts like this:

"Wow.  She looks amazing in that wedding photo.  She's gorgeous.  But that bridesmaid dress is totally immodest."

"That's so awesome that your husband did all those amazing things for your anniversary but why do you need to tell him thank-you on Facebook in front of the whole world, wouldn't it be okay to just give him a kiss and hug and say thanks?" 

Then the negative chatter in my brain starts going non-stop and I felt like crap. I felt so small and insignificant. I felt like I'll never measure up.  I felt like I don't matter.   

Fortunately Sunday night I had group meeting.  It was a really great meeting, one of the best I've been to.  These were the kind of things women said

"My life is in shambles because I found out my husband has been unfaithful.  But I feel hope."

"There is chaos in my home as my husband fights with himself about his addiction.  But I'm not involved and I'm not going crazy anymore."  

It was just so REAL.  And when these women nodded their heads as I shared, and hugged me after the meeting, I felt like I mattered.  I felt loved.  I felt like no one really measures up to what we think they do. 

The truth is, I love my Facebook friends as much as I love my group sisters.  But I feel like between us are these facades, this social pressure to perform in a status update.  Today I thought I said something clever and checked back every few minutes to see if people were "liking".  Why the need for validation?

I'm following some WoPA friends on Instagram and it's been an interesting experience.  Since I know that in their quiet hearts are hidden hurts and struggles, I always give them the benefit of the doubt. I never assume they are boasting, I love everything they say and do!  So what stops me from giving my FB friends the benefit of the doubt?  Why do I assume they are boasting?  Why am I constantly annoyed/irritated with their posts? 

I sort of live in the country, and I take back roads home from group meetings.  It was dark and warm Sunday night as I drove and I rolled the windows down.  I felt free and hopeful.  And I had just heard some really sad things. 

Why after I spend and hour and a half reading "happy" things on Facebook do I feel trapped and discouraged?  Why the contrast? 


  1. Hi, Jane. I find myself doing this too. For me it's kind of a jealousy thing (though not total jealousy. Annoyance, like yous said, mostly). I wonder why women have to describe how their husband is the best ever, and I wonder how many of them are actually honest about it, or are just saying that because everyone does. But then I realize it doesn't really matter. Everyone has so much potential. As long as we aren't damned, as long as we are progressing forward, we'll all be okay. Our husband will be as good as any other, and so will we. Bragging or being jealous holds us back from that in the mean time. Not that you were jealous. Just my thoughts when I see people post these things.

    I wanted to throw another idea, totally off topic out there. Have you ever considered a physical cause for addiction? That's something that's not covered all too often, I don't think. My family did the GAPS diet for a year. It was to heal our digestive issues, but the title is Gut and Psychology Syndrome, where she talks about how the functioning of our GI tract affects the psychology of our brains. She goes into detail about how blood sugar problems cause addiction. When you don't feel well, you rely on something else for a pick me up. Not that you are sick per se, just not really happy like the human brain is designed to be, if one is healthy. I think the GAPS diet has so much good, but it wasn't quite right, so I switched to a different protocol that is really quite different, but is ultimately to do the same thing - get the good bacteria in your gut. The author here has never heard of GAPS, but makes the exact same claims - that your bacteria in your bowel create all sorts of psychological problems, if they aren't healthy. She also talks about addiction, and it being related to blood sugar as well. She was an alcoholic herself, and now refrains from alcohol with no effort on her part. This in addition to many other things. Anyway, we are doing this protocol (called Unique Healing). It's too early to say how effective it is. And if I ever find it to work, I will tell the world! I just am thinking that there very well may be physical causes for these things. I really believe in the gut bacteria issue being the cause. I'm just trying to figure out the best protocol to fix the bacterial imbalances many of us have. I'll let you know if something works ;) But just some food for thought in the meantime.

  2. Oh, just wanted to add to this, that this physical reason (which these protocols claim is gut/bowel bacteria) would explain why some people don't seem to struggle with addiction. Why do some people become alcoholics with one drink, and others never do? We often say it is genetics because people are more prone to it if their dad was an addict, etc. But the gut flora is passed from generation to generation. That could explain it. Anyway, just another thought. Not trying to diminish the need for the atonement AT ALL. But any extra help with this problem would be wonderful to everyone, I think.

    1. Very interesting Anon. I'm a firm believe that the body and mind are interconnected and I know that sometimes our body manifests psychological struggles and vis-versa,so I'm definitely interested in learning about that. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jane, this is such a profound question.

    I dunno, but one thought is simply that the mixture of honesty and hope in the Savior is just about as powerful as anything I have ever seen.

    And it begs the question for me: can "happy" fully exist without hope in Christ? Is that the missing piece? I think there are elements of happiness in many facets of life, but when push comes to shove, so much of what we 'share' is trivial compared to the life-changing truths of eternity that are found in pure, honest, vulnerable testimony.

    I think addicts and their loved ones 'get that' better than just about anyone, and the 'rooms' (whether in real life or virtual) where that happens are sacred spaces.

  4. Hi!

    Well... I felt like I should say this: last year I talked about my husband like he was the ultimate wonder in my life. I felt that way and everytime someone asked I couldnt say enough good things about him. As it turned out on my DDay (March 4th 2012) he wasnt who I thought he was. He is a cheater and a liar and an addict. Though Im still struggling, I cant help but feel fooled because he played me so well.

    Im not saying your FB friends are all naive like I was, Im just saying that maybe sometimes, our minds trick us into holding on to an idea instead of watching the plain reality. And so we try to spread the word to the world for some kind of reassurance...

    I dont know. I guess Im just rambling. Anyway, now that I see my married friends happy and all I force myself to think positive, that no matter what has happened to me, what they have is real and the man they married is good and will love them and take care of them, in hopes that my blesssings and prayers for them work.

    1. I'm so sorry that what you thought was real, turned out to not be real. Or at least, it was a different reality than you thought. I really think that can be the most devestating part for us.

      I appreciate what you said. I think you are right, I think sometimes we use Facebook, etc,to validate our insecurities, and although someone who raves about their husband online may not be trying to compensate for his shortcomings, she is probably trying to compensate for some other thing she feels is lacking in her life.

      OR... she is just so happy she wants to share. And like you said, I need to be grateful for the blessings they have in their life.

  5. I've been DEVOURING the book "Falling to Heaven" and the last couple chapters talk about living a 'confessional life', and I think that's a huge part of it. When one of my WoPA make a positive comment about their husbands on facebook, I'm happy for them that there are these positive things they can focus on about their husbands, even though they're only telling half the story online, because I know in my heart part of what they're going through and I've had honest online/in person conversations with them about their lives. I think in the gospel we are meant to have these honest conversations -- that living in more of an open, honest 'I need the Savior because we all fall short' kinda state would be such an amazing experience. I don't know how we get there, and I don't want to be the first person to throw everything out on the table :-), but I feel such a different connection and sisterhood with the women I see so much more than the facade of . . . and I think that's how we're meant to see each other.

    1. Totally agreed. I just finished that book as well and plan to turn around and read it again. :)

    2. Oh boy I love "Falling to Heaven" too. I wanted to tell you about C. Terry Warner's book with you, "Bonds that make us Free" incase you did not know about it. C. Terry Warner started the Arbinger Institute in 1979. James Ferrell is the VP or CEO of Warner's organization. If you enjoyed James Ferrell's latest book I expect you will also love Terry Warner's ideas. My email is ihavestrengths@gmail.com if you have any questions. :)

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  7. Funny that you post about this because I deleted my facebook about 2 months ago for several reasons, some including what you talked about above. I just felt like it was all a big game of charades. I can see the positive impact of that social tool - simple connections, quick way to share messages of hope. But I can also see the negative impact that you talked about - people flashing their lives, trying to prove something to the world. It was just too shallow for me. That's why I like this blogging world because we are real with other. We understand that there is deep pain within all of us, and we are so much more loving and patient and caring towards each other. These relationships are meaningful. Although, I think if the past year hadn't left me so jaded, I would be able to better handle and even appreciate that game of social charades, but unfortunately, I'm just not strong enough yet.

    I love what you said here: "Since I know that in their quiet hearts are hidden hurts and struggles, I always give them the benefit of the doubt."

    And I love what HX said here: "I feel such a different connection and sisterhood with the women I see so much more than the facade of . . . and I think that's how we're meant to see each other."

    You women are AMAZING! Thank you for your strength and insight! Love you!

    1. Chantel,

      Your comment, "That's why I like this blogging world because we are real with other. We understand that there is deep pain within all of us, and we are so much more loving and patient and caring towards each other. These relationships are meaningful." reminded me of an article I read about blogging recently in the BYU Magazine. The article talks mainly about the benefits of blogging for new moms, but of note for this conversation, I thought it was interesting was it had to say about facebook, "The study also looked into social networking sites like Facebook, but activity there did not correlate with feelings of social connectedness or well-being. McDaniel theorizes that for some mothers such sites are too public and don’t provide the more intimate, trusting environment of a blog."

  8. I don't have a facebook and never have (I know I'm like the only one out there who doesn't) but I hear stuff like what you're saying Jane, from my family members all the time. Since I'm not really involved in that world I can't really comment on facebook. But I do just want to say that as a woman I find it interesting that I have seen over and over in my life how women (and obviously I'm generalizing here) have a difficult time being happy for one another. I don't know if anyone agrees with me on this point but I do feel like there is a sort of unspoken competition between women both in and out of the church. It really makes me sad because we all have the hard things to deal with in our lives and no one should be made to feel less than someone else because it just makes everything that much harder. It's the reason I don't really have an girlfriends. I have my sister, that's all I need. But I do truly wish that I either didn't feel this way or things weren't actually this way. Still not sure if it's just my perception.

    What I do know is that I feel so much more compassion and love for others when I am working my 12 step program and I realize that EVERYONE has hurts whether or not they choose to be open about it, or they are a WoPA or belong to some other kind of group.

    Thanks for your thought evoking questions Jane, they always keep me learning and growing.

    It Gets Better

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  10. I think a huge aspect of the equation is that you met in person for group meeting and Facebook was all online. Interacting socially online is odd really. Would I ever go to a party and just listen to people talk without responding? In person, I have conversations. On-line, I can browse through other's news without saying a word. I'm not much a fan of facebook, and I get sad when my friends who used to blog now only do FB. Lame.