Saturday, June 2, 2012

On Consumption Control and Living Fully

by Matthew Taylor Wilson
Yesterday I sat on my couch for several hours feeling pretty low. It kind of caught me by surprise, especially because I just spent a fun filled week with a visiting friend. I was just resting and doing a few things online when it dawned on me: I feel like crap.

I'm sure other women (and possibly men, if any dare to read my blog), can identify with me when I say that mood-swings can be mind-boggling. Why was I feeling good an hour ago and now I want to hide for a week?

Since moving here, the mood-swings seem more prevalent, which doesn't really surprise me, given the new adjustments and that I miss home, but it still annoys me. Sometimes I view emotion as weakness (working on that) and even when I don't, I still like to have self-control and not be thrown around by how I feel.

I decided to figure out why I was having this mood-swing. I did the whole trace-the-conversation-back-to-see-how-we-got-here thing, and in a matter of seconds I had it pegged.

Social media.

And coupled with them all: poor self-talk.

I think it's kind of ironic that I ended my last blog post by saying I wouldn't be throwing myself any more pity parties, because that's exactly what this was.

I was viewing snippets of people's lives and feeling sorry for myself. Even if people don't share things with the intention of saying, "hey look, I have it all, and I have it all together." it's still really easy to take that away. I can't blame people for posting positive things online, I sure prefer it over constant complaining, but I can choose to control the amount of happy-go-lucky content I consume.

Why? Because it's not (total) reality. And God knows, we humans tend to take things at face value and not think critically about what we consume. And when that happens we compare ourselves to others. And then we have mood-swings.

Furthermore, if I'm too busy following the lives of others, I won't live my own. I want to be so busy living life and loving others that I barely have time to read blogs or pin pictures. Isn't that what God's called us to? A full life? A full life of our own.

I feel self-concious writing this post, but I'm going out on a limb and assuming I'm probably not alone in this. Perhaps this will come as an encouragement to you.

You are not alone. What you are doing matters. Even if you don't have a job. Or you can't go on mommy-daughter dates. Or you aren't on the mission field. Or you don't eat organic. Especially if you're a stay-at-home mom.

You are highly valuable and always, completely loved for who you are.

Michaela Rae


  1. By "consumption" I was expecting food. :-) I have actually found that what I eat can have a significant effect on my mood, even a day or two later. Playing or exercise, too.

    But you're right about browsing and looking at other people's lives. It's easy to escape and lose track of yourself in there. It's almost like I amalgamate all of the highlights of other people's lives and compare it to my own life.

    I haven't quite found the right balance. I don't often go on Facebook anymore, but somehow I'm now replying to your blog, which is odd... especially given that your advice is along the lines of "stop reading blogs and get out and live!" :-)

    Anyhow, you give good advice, and if it's any consolation, your life looks pretty awesome from the outside. :-)

  2. This is definitely something everyone seems to deal with. I think that most people aren't able to trace it back to it's source as easily as you did. It helps to be aware of why we feel what we feel; thanks for illuminating that. I actually look through your pictures and feel a bit envious. You are living abroad! How wonderful and exciting! It helps to be aware of the way we intentionally broadcast ourselves to people. I actually recently blogged about that; you may have read it. - Leah

  3. You are definitely not the only one who deals with this. Sometimes I want to stop blogging and reading others' blogs all together because I hate feeling this way. It's hard. I think it helps to be very careful about which blogs I read. I know that some of the very big blogs, make me feel worse about myself, because they seem to really have it all. It's hard to remember that they had to work to get there. Hope you're feeling better!

  4. Michaela Rae Jaros! I almost shouted "Vinson!" lol

    Can you imagine that this is the very same thing that I brought up in our Ladies bible study last week? We're reading Beth Moore's: So Long Insecurities. I agree with you completely. And I wonder if this blogging thing is really a good idea? But it has to be- because it can totally be a great way to reach out to people and embrace our struggles, supporting each other in love. Right? But there are so many pressures to have the perfect life- especially among Chrisitians...

    Too many times I have fallen into that same downward spiral of envy... And I know so many people who feel the same way. It comes down to insecurities.
    But I honestly believe that "web image" can turn into a perverted thing: one of pride and self-consciousness; always desiring to "look happy" or "bee happy", showcasing only the good in your life but never life's beauty (that in it's highs and lows we have Jesus and each other)

    We should talk :)
    love you

    1. Shalomie! Thanks for your sweet comment. :-) I read So Long Insecurity last year, it's really good. A great one for a womens' Bible study! I've actually found that FB is more of a challenge for me than blogs. I don't keep up that well with other people's blogs, but I do see everyone's updates and photos from back home. It makes me miss home and often think about what I may be missing out on. Instead, I should be embracing where I'm at.

      You're right, I don't think blogging is bad. Or any other social media tool. We just have to find the healthy balance. And it may look different for everyone depending on where they're at.

  5. Just re-read my comment, ahaha. I should have emphasized social media in general (not just blogging). But I totally agree.

  6. Wow, I could not agree with this more. I have written about how I need to stop documenting and start experiencing life for what it is. Whether it be through Facebook, blogging, etc, social media has begun to consume us all. And I'm the first to admit I'm still a victim! Loving your blog :)

    xo Shane


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