I hear a LOT of talk about choosing joy.
I’ve written things about the impact of your attitude and the power of your thoughts.
I hear a lot about cheering other women on and building each other up and not feeling jealous when another woman has something you would kill for.
I’ve written about that, too. Straighten her crown, right?
We’re living in the midst of a revolution of thinking. There are so many voices in the public space now actively bucking popular opinion and unwarranted stigma.
It’s pretty amazing what our voices can do. We’ve literally shifted the culture we live in just by speaking out.
But I think, in some ways, we might have taken it too far.
I just saw a photo of a friend of a friend in my newsfeed.
Her body was literally perfect. No kids, no stretch marks, no loose skin or weird belly button.
Her outfit looked like a Pinterest board.
And, here’s the kicker, she was on her freaking honeymoon in Bora Bora.
Cool. Because my body bears the remnants of giving birth to two humans, I have someone else’s snot on my pants, my marriage is 8 years from the honeymoon phase, and trust me, I would give my left leg to be in a hut in Bora Bora.
I’ve gotta be honest. My first thought was NOT, “Yes, sister! You go, queen!!”
It had a couple more expletives and a whole lot more contempt…followed closely by a screenshot to send as a joke to my mom friends about how vastly different our lives look now.
And as soon as the thought crossed my mind, I instantly felt shame.
“What happened to building other women up?” I scolded. “You’re so jealous.”
This cultural shift we’ve caused has torn down the perfection we knew, and replaced it with a different brand of perfection.
We’ve exposed the perfect-on-social-media life that made us all feel like garbage, but we’ve replaced it with this feigned authenticity.
I’m not saying none of us are genuine in our interactions, and I think the paradigm shift we’ve seen in the last decade has been a LONG time coming.
But, I think we’ve inadvertently created this new culture where we’re so focused on doing things “right” and tearing down stigmas, that being real is no longer acceptable either.
Sure, we’re more comfortable showing our dirty houses and owning the fact that we formula fed our kids, and that’s awesome.
But now, we also have to subscribe to new, gentler parenting philosophies and be in everyone’s corner all the time and constantly be on crusade for the things we’ve deemed lacking for women in our society.
And because of that, it’s even more taboo to admit you yelled at your kids or had a jealous thought about another woman or you don’t really care about some highly debated political issue.
Because you’re supposed to be fighting the good fight, sister! Right?
But, I’m sorry, that’s just not real life.
Real life includes messy days. Yelling days. Jealous days. Angry days. Flat out crappy days. And they’re sprinkled in right alongside the great days and the champion days and the smash the patriarchy days.
And so, I think it’s less about eradicating these thoughts from ever happening again and more about what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians, and taking the thoughts captive.
I love that imagery.
It’s not about trying to get to a point where we never feel negative emotions. That’s just as unhealthy as all the pretending we were doing.
It’s about stopping the thoughts as soon as you recognize them for what they are – before they have a chance to run rampant and encourage behavior that supports them.
It’s taking the screenshot, but deleting it before you send the text. Taking the thought captive.
We’re never going to be perfect, y’all. And we did not work so hard to snuff out perfection only to replace it with this weird Frankenstein perfection none of us know how to achieve.
We all get jealous. We all get angry. We all have knee-jerk thoughts and judgments we’d be mortified for anyone else to hear.
We’re all human.
And it’s OK to admit it.
And yes, we should still keep fighting against stigma and tearing down walls and pushing for authenticity,
because that is the stuff that unites us and pulls us up out of darkness and reminds us, we’re not alone and that this crap is hard and it’s not just us.
But let’s do authenticity for real.
And that includes the not so praiseworthy stuff.
This story originally appeared on Daylight to Dark