This has been on my heart to share for so long.. years really… so let’s dive right in.
Picture this: You are a sweet and kind girl sitting across from me at a Tuesday’s Together meeting, we are chatting and I’m giving you advice for your brand new endeavor, but little did you know….. I used to loathe you.
Maybe not YOU personally, but I loathed the threat that you, as a budding professional, represented.
To me, at that point in my life, watching you slowly start meant watching me slowly end… so why on earth would I ever cheer for you?!
Honestly, I never thought I would be one to sit at a table each month as an open book and talk with other professionals (and budding pros) who were LOCAL to me as friends. I never thought I’d freely hand out advice just because someone like you needed it and I actually wanted you to succeed.
Before.. I used to take out my fears and anxieties on you. I used to blame YOU for my own mistakes. I used to focus on the things you needed to change in your business so I could be happy and secure in mine. The only time I would offer my advice is because I wanted to seem further advanced than you, like a know-it-all, or because I wanted you to understand my own struggles, pain and how what you were doing in your business caused me a lot of my grief.
I, myself, was inducted into photography by being loathed for the steps I took (or didn’t take) to start my business. It was my hazing into an industry where I was making misstep after misstep. Once I had fought hard and was settled into the industry a bit this process was almost like a tradition I felt conditioned to follow and continue with to “fit in” to this world.
However, it made me feel so defeated in my business and that feeling started to spread. As a Christian, it was like I literally opened the door to the devil an inch… I justified that my negative thoughts and prideful attitude were just ways I could let some of what I was feeling on the inside out, you know– I’m just blowing off steam. What I didn’t realize is by opening the door a bit, other areas of my life started to be affected too. Once I saw that the “cracked door” was letting more bad in than out, I slammed it shut and refused to look back.
Strictly speaking business, I’ve realized that the less time I spend policing others businesses through frustrated “advice” or venting on social media that comes from a place of insecurity or pride, the more time I have to spend on growing and developing my own business, thoughts, and relationships! This also applies to the mental energy I spent being frustrated or upset internally too.
This change from basically a Disney Villian (who is almost ly always over powered by their insecurities and past, which drives them be mean to get what they want) to Pollyanna*, has lead to so much postivity in mine and my family’s life. Honestly, if I was still that bitter and jaded we probably would not be back on the chase with Chick-Fil-A, and we may not even have Blakely. I obviously can’t say that for sure, but I do know that if I continued down the path I started on I probably wouldn’t have wanted things to “hold me back” (including trying for a baby) at this time in my life— as devastatingly selfish as that is to type out.
Thankfully, I’m a brand new person than I was in 2012. I now have a much better enternal perspective on the world, and I know that I’m meant to love and ENCOURAGE others more than anything else in this life.
Photo by photographer (and friend), Lutz Photography, LLC
Even just this morning I felt inspired to tell a few people what an amazing job I think they are doing in certain areas of their lives. Not that my word may be “life-changing” to them, but just because I know that no matter if I’m at my highest or lowest, when someone takes time to say they notice what I’m doing, it is amazing! And before you start saying great job to everyone and faking happiness… just know that I did have these people on my mind for days or even weeks. They weren’t simple names to check off a list of good deeds. They were people who I saw doing something impactful and wonderful, and it made me feel great when I saw whatever they did or said.
And yes, the old me would have been annoyed first, and desperately wanted to try to obtain their own awesomeness for myself, or I would’ve flattered them hoping I could gain from their knowledge/status. But the new me chooses to speak kindly to all people.. without thinking what it does, or will do, or could do for me. I now try my best to always say things simply to spread joy, awareness, and God’s love… not to draw attention to myself or my own desires!
Don’t get me wrong, I do slip up, but I recognize that behavior as bad and call myself out and lecture myself on it haha. This probably looks crazy to write out, but internally that convo sometimes looks like this:
Mean Me to Me: “She thinks she is so cool sharing that. Ugh no one cares… *sarcastically* good for you.”
Positive Me to Me: “Cool your jets.. She is probably just happy and excited sharing that. You do that too. Don’t we all? Do you really not care or are you a little envious? Don’t discount her cool thing just because you’re a little jealous. It is a cool thing and we should be happy for her. Now, instead of being negative, let’s be grateful and count some of our blessings. #1 I’m healthy #2 Kids are healthy #3 Bills are paid…..” and so on.
I counteracted the negative thoughts by *humanizing her*, *finding my own hurt, which it likely the root of my remarks*, and *refocusing myself on my happiness and thankfulness*
I honestly don’t know how to end this blog haha, but if you are feeling insecure or hurt or down about your business….. I really get it. However, I also know that 99.9% it is not the fault of whoever you are mad at or annoyed with or can’t stand to see post. They are honestly trying their best just like you, and any missteps they may take do NOT give you a free pass to act negatively. Do better for other AND yourself because most successful and loved people are not mean, they are friendly and kind always.
If you need action steps to be better in this area, then I reccomend starting small and inside your own head. For every negative thought you have about someone, I want you to think 5 positive things about them. Every single time, and make sure it’s not just surface level stuff like “they have nice hair, etc.” either. Dive deep. Go to their page and look at their babies if you need to. Scroll and find a funny meme you can LOL at that they shared. Read and re-read the post they shared about trying so hard to be a better parent, and put yourself in their shoes. Just begin to HUMANIZE and relate to them. Why? Because I promise it’s really freaking hard to dislike someone when you find those similarities and common ground that you share, and when you start seeing them as a person, not a threat. 💕
*PS- Love you Gran, a real life Pollyanna 💕