This post was featured on Know Your Value, the official blog of the non-profit organization Wonderfully Made. As a regular contributor, I write about my reflections on my recovery journey and my passion to help other women as they travel down their own journey towards a life of self-acceptance.
As a blogger, I have found the issue of readership and followers particularly troubling. It's as if the number of followers I have gives value to my content and overall potential as a writer. In some sense, definitely a business perspective, this number is a form of measurable success. But is it the tell-tale sign of victory? I don't think so. There are days when I sit at my desk, fidgeting and unsettled, and can't get myself to put words on a page for fear that it will be just another post that doesn't gain any new followers. A truly positive reflection of my success wouldn't make me so unhappy.
I explained this worry to a friend the other day, and she wisely pointed out that my obsession with my blog's number of followers is very similar to my obsession with the numbers on the scale. The scale's hold over my life has been my truth for so long! It makes sense that I'd transfer this same frame of reference over to another important place of value in my life.
The more I meditated on how I look to numbers (followers or pounds) for value, I realized how hard it is for me to sit in my authenticity, and to have self-value in the joy of being me and doing what I'm passionate about. In fact, the quiet is usually completely unnerving. The days when I wake up calm, can mindfully and intuitively eat, not obsess about my body image, and can share my authentic self with others without needing a frame of reference from facebook, instagram, twitter, or my blog stats to tell me how I should be feeling... well, those days are rare.
They don't have to be rare, though. What if I collected the positive experiences? For instance, if I journaled a few sentences about those "rare" moments that I was talking about: eating mindfully without weighing myself afterwards, reading a book without feeling unproductive, or going for a walk without giving in to the need to check social media to quench thirst for connection. Then, in the difficult times, I can look to the track record of my positive experiences and choose to live the day differently.
I want to do some "myth-busting," of sorts, so that when life is uncomfortable or I am having trouble knowing and believing my self-worth, I can look to the past with it's positive experiences and say, "It's been okay before, so I can be okay now."
Through my recovery journey towards a life free of an eating disorder and poor body image, I have found and wholeheartedly believe that freedom comes in letting go. By choosing to not count calories or pounds on the scale (or count blog statistics), life may be more uncomfortable, but the mindfulness and the ability to connect with my authentic self boasts such a strong reward.