I’m still not entirely sure that I know what I want to say. This is one of those moments where I am truly relying on Him to give me the words. And another moment where I am trying my best not to hurt anyone.
Because you guys know my saying, “Hurting people hurt people”. And I’m feeling pretty hurt lately.
This may sound like I’m standing on my soapbox. Maybe I am. But what I am about to say, is something that has really hit home for me.
Last week, I was criticized left and right. From the way I look in my pictures, to what I do in the gym, to what I do in the car.
I was called out on social media, directly and indirectly, by people who claim to be my friend.
And I’ll be honest, it hurt.
Here’s the thing, lately I have seen so many women (and a few men) hide behind social media and criticize other women. And I would even veer to say ‘bully’ would be a better word. These aren’t teenage girls. These are women, grown women, degrading other women because they might not agree with them.
And I can almost guarantee you, they are reading this post, unaware that I am probably talking about them. Because they just don’t see it.
Oh, it’s easy to tell those on the receiving end to just ignore it. Or to not let it bother us, but the truth is, and I’m speaking for myself, is that it’s hard to ignore it. It’s hard to not let it bother us.
Because I can promise you, these same women who hide behind their Facebook app, would not say these things to my face.
Because they haven’t.
But seriously, and here’s the part where I might get a little defensive, who cares about my selfies? Or what I look like in them?
Here’s the thing, for years I avoided pictures. For years, I hated mirrors. For years, I was so unhappy with the way I looked.
Now I’m not.
Well, except for this past week where your constant criticisms kept ringing in my ear. Where I started to believe the things you were saying about me.
For years I was told I wasn’t good enough. I was called names. I was constantly put down. And just when I’m getting back on my feet, you take it upon yourself to knock me back down, why?
Do you feel better about yourself? Do you like yourself a little more for letting me know that you don’t like the way I look?
Or what about the person who made sure to say something about my gym selfies? To tell me that it doesn’t look like I’m really doing anything in the gym, but taking selfies? (You might take that back in just a minute when you read a little further.) Tell me, do you feel better about your training now? Are you hitting more goals since you’ve let me know that you don’t think I do anything?
Or what about the mom who criticized me for my parenting choices? Who accused me of putting my children at risk? Tell me, are you a better mom for doing that? Do you love your kids more than I love mine because you think you’re a better parent than I am?
I want you to look at this girl.
This girl hated herself. She had been knocked down over and over again, only to keep getting back up. Every time. Even the times she didn’t think she could, she did. And she isn’t that girl anymore, not from the outside anyways, but no matter how much progress she makes, when you cut her down, for whatever reason, this is what she sees. This is who she becomes.
Because it’s so much easier to believe the criticisms.
It’s so much easier to see the shortcomings.
She got here in spite of.
She got here without bringing anyone else down.
She got here without criticizing others.
She got here without hiding behind her Facebook app calling out every flaw of anyone else.
She got here because she worked hard.
She got here because she refused to give up.
She got here because she finally understood what it meant to love herself just the way she was.
She got here because she realized just how much He loved her.
And how dare you try and take that from her.
Because if you were her friend, you’d get why she takes a lot of selfies now.
You’d understand why the 30 seconds it takes to take a picture in the gym is nothing in comparison to the 2 1/2 hours she spends there 6 days a week.
You’d know that she has been doing everything for her kids and would never put them in any harm, ever.
And you know that she’s been through a lot in the last couple of years and that if you had reached out to her, just once, she would have done whatever she could to encourage and uplift you because for so long that’s all she wanted from anyone.
Oh, how I want to hate you. Each of you. And I’m sure there are more than just the references I am making. I am sure that people have an awful lot to say about me.
But I can’t.
Oh, how it would be easy to point out your flaws and hide behind an app as I pointed them out to you.
But I can’t.
Because I go back to what I said earlier. Hurting people hurt people. I know because I was once where you were. Insecure and unsure, doing my best to convince social media that I had it all together.
So, I’m not going to use this as a way to hurt you or to bring you down. I’m not going to use it as a way to criticize you. Because we both know, you are already your biggest critic.
But I am going to use this as a way to pray for you. Not because I think I’m better than, but because I’ve been there. And the reason that I’ve come as far as I have is because of prayer.
So, I’m going to pray that you get a glimpse of what He sees when He looks at you. Because when that happens, it won’t matter what anyone else sees.
It won’t matter if people do their best to hurt you.
It won’t matter what people think about you.
Because even if you do find yourself off track for just a minute, focused on the critics, you’ll soon remember that He loves you, unconditionally, just the way you are, and if He can love you, you can love you. Despite what anyone else says.
And even more than that. If He can love you, you can love your critics.