Cue Usher singing in the background ... *snap*
So I'm not typically in support of sharing what you're giving up for Lent (especially after being challenged to think differently about the whole thing by this post written by a wise friend), but for the purpose of context here, I'm confessing my Lenten sacrifice for this year:
The magnifying glass on Instagram.
The magnifying glass button. On Instagram. No more. For 40 days. And hopefully longer. Because when I get going on that dang "Discover More" feed, what I end up discovering, two hours later, is how inadequate I am as a business owner, photographer, wife, friend, person... you get the picture. I hop from profile to profile of beautiful stranger, successful small business owner, incredibly talented photographer, and the next thing I know, I'm questioning my style, the level of my "hustle" (I really hate that word), my ideas - you name it.
I confess that my tendency to compare myself to others in all of the ways I just listed and truthfully, many more, is something I struggle with a LOT. Starting my own business - a creative one at that, where style and success are both highly subjective, has only magnified that tendency. My pal Seth Cohen (any OC fans out there?) summed it up pretty well:
When it comes to my business, I overthink things sometimes to the point of anxiety. I pick apart everything from my brand, my work, and the words I share until I've found every possible thing wrong and I'm physically overwhelmed with doubt. I worry that I'm not skilled/impressive/unique/funny/creative/whatever enough. But I've had enough of not feeling enough.
I've come a long way from the level of angst and insecurity I once dealt with. I do feel comfortable and confident in my skin the vast majority of the time. I'm proud of the work I produce. And I definitely don't think suggested posts on Instagram are really the culprit for my insecurities creeping back up. What's meant to be a helpful tool for "inspiration" turns into something negative because I've been letting it do just that.
I really gave up "mindless scrolling" on social media this Lenten season (and thereafter) because I know that it's wasteful, on many levels. I know there are 18,000 better ways I could spend my time, and I know that playing the comparison game and exhaustingly questioning myself is just that: exhausting.
I'll also confess that I'm not spending that extra several minutes a day in prayer or anything like that - not that that's a bad idea, I just don't want to frame it as a tradeoff thing. I just want to quit a bad habit, for good.
Putting ourselves and our work out there for the world to see does require a little bit of caring what other people think - you can't be a business owner (or an adult, really), and claim you don't care what people think. We all do, to some degree. But our confidence should come from finding the core of our identity in something bigger than ourselves.
Because as a creative, a small business owner, and a person - I am enough. You are enough. No matter what I think, say, create, or do, my God loved me enough to die on a cross for me, and for you. If I grasp anything this Lenten season, I want it to be that.