Author Archive

Fighting the Beast of Bitterness

Thursday, June 20th, 2019

Monitors beeping. Doctors and nurses scurrying around. People in pain all around us.

These were all normal sounds for me as I sat through yet another emergency room visit with my husband. He’s been battling a chronic illness for years, so this was just a normal Tuesday for us.

But then, amidst all the ER chaos, a lullaby was played over the loudspeaker. A baby had just been born two floors above, and the hospital was marking the occasion for everyone to hear. In that moment, all I could do was roll my eyes and think to myself sarcastically: “Good. For. You.”

Don’t get me wrong. Babies are great. I love the fact that the hospital celebrates each new life. But in that moment, it felt so unfair that the rest of the world got to move on and make happy memories while I was stuck in a really sad place. The familiar feeling of bitterness started to creep up inside me.

Whenever I find myself upset over someone else's happy news....I know it's time to get my bitterness in check. Click To Tweet

It wasn’t the first time bitterness hit hard, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. If you find yourself feeling stuck in a place you don’t want to be in, I get it. It can be hard to fight the bitterness of watching those around you enjoying their best days while you’re having your worst. But here are 3 things I’ve found helpful when it comes to battling bitterness:

1. Unfollow/Hide

Social media feeds the beast of bitterness that lives inside all of us better than anything. We all know that Instagram filters don’t equal real life, but it doesn’t make it any easier to see a feed full of wedding photos and #blessed vacation posts.

While taking a social media fast may help, my favorite feature is the unfollow function for Facebook/the hide function for Instagram.

See those 3 little dots in the top right corner of each post in your feed? Hit “unfollow” on Facebook and “hide” on Instagram if there’s a certain friend that’s providing too many calories to your bitterness beast.

It might seem cruel, but hear me out. You’re not cutting this person out of your life. They will not know you unfollowed them. And hiding their posts for a few months does not mean you have any less love for them.

In fact, it will make it easier to celebrate them in person. When they tell you about their engagement, or dream vacation, or new job, it’s SO much easier to be genuinely happy for them when you’re face-to-face vs. when your emotions punch you in the gut from the pages of Instagram.

2. Find Your Safe Spaces

Going through trauma radically wrecked my friend circle. The people I thought would always be there for me were not. But in their absence, others stepped up and showed me unconditional love on the days I couldn’t stop crying.

Find the friends who you can be yourself around—the ones who can take on the honesty of your “stuck” feelings. Let them lift you up. Let them distract you with memes and gifs. Share in their joys while they share in your pain. They’re the ones who don’t anger the bitterness beast because the mutual love between you allows you to support each other—in the good times and the bad.

What does a safe space look like? Friends. Counselors. Online strangers. They're all helpful in fighting bitterness! Click To Tweet

Still trying to find those friends? That’s ok! There are other safe spaces you can turn to. I highly recommend counseling to everyone (whether you’re going through a rough time or not.)

I’ve also found my safe spaces in online forums. If something has rocked your world and no one in your life understands it, look on Facebook for a group about that specific thing. One of my favorite people to talk to is a woman who is walking through her husband’s cancer diagnosis. She lives halfway across the country, and we’ll probably never meet. But she understands my day-to-day hospital life better than anyone I know.

3. Be Sad.

This may feel counterintuitive. It took a long time to get to the place where I could just openly admit, “This is not where I want my life to be, and I’m sad.”

Believe it or not, there’s freedom in sadness. I found that when I could admit my true feelings, it opened the door for genuine joy. Faking happiness only leads to more resentment. But when I started being honest about how I was really feeling with God and with others, it lifted a huge burden off my chest and let me feel the full embrace of His comfort.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. -Psalm 34:18

And trust me. Handing over a crushed spirit is way easier than trying to tame a bitterness beast.

You’re Not Alone in Your Struggle with Depression

Friday, June 8th, 2018

The stories this week of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have made me realize I’m long overdue in sharing my story. I genuinely have no shame in this story and would’ve shared it sooner, but, you know. Life happens.

About a year ago, the weight of my husband Joey’s long medical journey hit me at once like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t myself. My mind went to some dark places. And I mean dark.

I went to my doctor to get my knee looked at, but as I went to check the box that said “Joint Pain,” I hovered past it and also checked “Depression,” “Anxiety,” “Insomnia.”

When the doctor asked about it, I broke down crying. Deep, heavy sobs. Over my knee. It was a full release of all of the things I had ignored while taking care of Joey.

That day, she got me an antidepressant and referred me to do counseling, and it made a world of difference.

I share this because I know firsthand how lonely depression feels. Maybe for you it’s circumstantial. Maybe it’s hereditary. Maybe it’s that odd sensation of waking up and not being familiar with your own thoughts. For me, it was a combination of all 3. 

I’m not saying medication is for everyone. But I FIRMLY believe that therapy is for everyone. Click To Tweet

I’m not saying medication is for everyone. But I FIRMLY believe that therapy is for everyone. Even if you’re not fully engulfed in darkness, why not get a checkup? I went to a place called Refuge Center in Franklin, TN and loved the experience and my therapist—plus they charge based on household income to ensure it’s affordable. It’s SO worth doing a little research or asking around to find those awesome counselors near you. 

Suicide rates are on the rise. In fact, it’s being reported that suicide rates have increased by 30% over the past 20 years. The crazy part is that in half of those cases, there’s no diagnosis of a mental health issue. So get the help now. Sit down with a professional that’s just there to listen to YOU. Just as you can’t ignore that lingering pain in your knee that doesn’t allow you to walk, don’t ignore that pain in your heart and your head that isn’t letting you function.

If you need someone to talk to today, chat with one of our amazing Groudwire coaches. Someone who cares is available to chat 24/7. They want to help you talk through the things you’re going through right now and find a way to be healthier emotionally and spiritually. If you would rather talk to someone on the phone, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available to help you through a hard time, as well. Just call 1-800-273-8255.

Please know without a doubt – you’re not alone. You are loved, you are valuable, and you are worth helping!

Please know you're not alone. You are loved, you are valuable, and you are worth helping! Click To Tweet

You also might be encouraged by this story from American Idol contestant and Grammy winning artist, Mandisa. She talks about how found  she herself in a dark place and what it took to climb out of it. It’s beautiful and powerful! 

Watch Mandisa’s story! 

Transform Your Confidence Level By Changing This One Bad Habit

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Goals can be easy to set but hard to achieve. That’s the lesson that I’ve been learning the hard way this year as I attempt to get myself to a healthier weight (I still miss you, metabolism!).

Instead of going the fad diet route this time, I decided to team up with some close friends who were trying to achieve the same thing so that we could hold each other accountable. As we met to talk about our plan, I heard myself saying some pretty terrible things:

“I’m so fat.” 

I’m so gross.”

“I just want to feel beautiful.” 

Here’s the thing: I would never utter those words to another human being or say them about another woman. But for some reason, they leave my lips so naturally when I’m talking about myself!

I would never utter those words to another human. But they leave my lips so naturally when talking about myself! Click To Tweet

So as we discussed our specific food goals, I decided to add a clause to my personal weight loss contract to hold myself accountable:

Above all else, I will treat myself with kindness.

When I feel like I’m falling short and self doubt starts to creep in, I will speak to myself in the same positive way I speak to those around me.

I’ll work hard for my goals, but I won’t let them consume me. I’ll celebrate my victories, and I won’t let my missteps destroy me.

I’ll remind myself daily that joy is not tied to a number on the scale….and that no ideal size will ever make me who I am.”

As I began to tell others about my pledge, a personal trainer told me what she tells her clients and her 18-year-old daughter:

“You’re not allowed to say negative things about yourself out loud.”

I’m so guilty of this! In an attempt to boost my ego and fish for compliments, I put myself down. What if, instead, I use those moments to intentionally give myself a compliment?

How would that change me? How would it change those around me? How would it change my world?

What if spoke kindly about ourselves in the same way we speak kindly of others? Click To Tweet

I know I won’t always be perfect at it, but I will work hard to fight the voice that that says I’m not enough…and remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.