About Me, On Mental Health

How Blogging Has Helped (And Possibly Hurt) My Attempt To Become More Awesome

 Photo taken by White Rabbit Studios

Photo taken by White Rabbit Studios

I read a discussion on Facebook awhile back about whether or not – as bloggers – we may perpetuate our own bad characteristics by writing about them all the time. That by giving them this constant focus on our blogs (Why can’t I lose weight? How can I be a better Mom? Where are my keys?) we actually stop ourselves from making any real changes in our life.

It was an interesting commentary/discussion and I was equal parts offended because it was true, and self-righteous because it’s not.

I think the two flaws I discuss the most on my blog is 1) Weight/Fitness Level and 2) Social Anxiety. And while I’ve referenced both on my blog many times, that treatment seems to have had opposing effects on those two flaws. Almost 8 years and I’m still dealing with losing weight but my social anxiety? I’m conquering that on multiple levels.

Over the last year I’ve started volunteering with E’s theatre program and gotten placed in actual jobs: Volunteer Coordinator, Producer 2012, Cake Popper Queen. I’ve served as a Soccer Mom and I have gone to new book clubs and playgroups. I joined a boot camp. I’m going to a Halloween party for children at a stranger’s house in a few weeks and will be hosting my OWN party which I’ll be inviting strangers to in November for the Harry Potter premiere. In other words? I’m a changed woman and I know I owe most of that to my blog.

So many of my blog friends suffer from the same type of social anxieties. I think that’s what draws a lot of us to blogging. It’s less anxiety ridden than the “real world.” We are scared to talk to other Moms and often get burned easily by snobby encounters. But talking about it with you guys? And then realizing how much blog material I get when I try something new? Has helped me come out of my shell. I’m still no social diva on any level, but I’m totally branching out and have way more real world friends now than I did this time last year.

In other words? I see both sides of the discussion. I see how the perpetual, “Why can’t I lose weight? Why do I keep eating? Why am I lazy?” type entries could hold me to these behaviors. On the other hand? Writing about my fear of people and new places and strange gatherings? Helped me overcome my fears and meet more people.

What about you? Do you feel like blogging about your flaws perpetuate their existance or helps you conquer them? Or – as in my case – BOTH?

11 thoughts on “How Blogging Has Helped (And Possibly Hurt) My Attempt To Become More Awesome”

  1. That was EXACTLY why I gave up my old weaker vessel blog. I felt like it documented a phase of difficult growth and change, but after a point, trying to fit my life into that same narrative arc started to hold me back and limit my possibilities, so I shed that mother-effer like a worn-out cocoon!

    I was driving back from Nashville with a friend recently and she point her finger on my take on this issue exactly — it’s one thing to use your blog to honestly talk about your problems and try to work through them, but it’s another thing entirely when people just start to wallow and roll around in their problems, almost luxuriating in the same old neurotic shtick time and time again! I know you’ve read Louise Hays; it seems like after a while, saying the same negative things about oneself must kind of help to crystallize them in one’s mind, or heck, in the universe, in a way that may not ultimately be that helpful.

    Obviously, I have strong feelings about this issue! It’s a very interesting topic, and I totally see both sides of the debate.

    See you tomorrow! I’ve got an appt. with White Rabbit Studios tomorrow afternoon to get my house’s pics taken for the real estate listing, and I’m so stoked about it!

  2. Like you, I think it’s both. I like having a clear documentation of my struggles as well as the really great things in my life. I feel like keeping record has really helped me to recognize some patterns/ways of being that I may not have otherwise noticed in my life.

    It also helps ease my “still haven’t finished that scrapbook of her first year” guilt because hey – I haven’t, but I do have over 400 posts I’ve written, the vast majority of which include my daughter.

  3. I think it depends totally on your mindset.

    You can only change a bad habit or unwanted characteristic when you truly WANT to change (well, usually, anyway). It’s great that the kids’ activities have given you an outlet to expand your horizons and try new things — but you probably wouldn’t have done that unless you WANTED to.

    Which is not to imply that you don’t want to lose weight — only that (so far) you haven’t been mentally ready to make the changes necessary for permanent weight loss (i.e., the whole emotional eating thing, as well as finding some kind of exercise you enjoy enough to look forward to and do regularly.).

    The hard thing about weight loss is that we can’t simply stop eating; still need to eat, our bodies always need some nourishment.

    Have I mentioned how happy I am that you’re doing so much cooking from scratch? I remember when you used to talk about being a bad cook and making dishes from boxes (a la Hamburger Helper) and mixes. That’s a big step in the right direction because you have so much more control over what you eat when you make it yourself.

    And you know? Some people use their weight as a crutch that reinforces their social anxiety. They’re afraid to lose weight because hiding behind it makes it easier to keep being shy, to stick with what they know, the status quo.

    I think as you get more comfortable in new social situations, doing new things, you’ll be more comfortable trying other forms of exercise, making “baby steps” in changing your eating behaviors, and becoming more successful in that arena, too. Perhaps the confidence you gain with one, you can use in the other!

  4. I see both sides as well and I think that’s key: maybe we’re (the royal “we”) are looking for both permission “It’s ok to do what you’re doing,” and encouragement to change “I do that, too, want to hang out?!” Overall, it’s what bloggers do with feedback (or lack thereof!) as well as how they react to seeing their lives in their own words. Or something.

  5. Wow, this is very thought provoking. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog for Y-E-A-R-S. I’ve just been too chicken. I’m very close to actually starting it now and I’m just working out a few more details. “Everyone” says that you have to have a theme…blogs that just talk about life won’t get readers. But I think “everyone” might be wrong as “personal diary” type blogs are the exact kinds of blogs I gravitate to. Anyway, the theme I worked out is kind of a cheat–in that it will allow me to basically talk about whatever I want while still sort of having a theme. My theme was going to be about being more productive, based on my to do list, with tips where I think I have some knowledge or efficiencies to offer (I know, so exciting!). I was hoping this external outlet would actually make me more productive (“I need to finish this activity so I can post about it!”), but I hope it doesn’t turn into a place to churn about why I don’t accomplish as much as I want.

    By the way, I like your “self-improvement” type posts. I do think that sometimes you are too hard on yourself, but for the most part I think you are pretty positive and I think your progress–particularly on the social stuff–is motivational for others (well I guess I should only speak for me–it’s motivational for me!).

  6. I’ve gotten a lot out of blogging about my flaws, whether it’s a kind comment, good advice or just the mental space after letting it go.

    Blogging about my weight loss helped keep me accountable, but I eventually stopped because I didn’t want to reread those posts when I strolled down blog-memory lane.

  7. I think, too, people can sense your tone, whether you want advice (and are open to change), or whether you just want to vent.

    When you want to vent, you don’t want kind suggestions on how to change, you just want someone to commiserate.

    I’m not always good at sensing whether an author wants to vent or to change. When you put yourself out there, as the Stones so famously put it, “you can’t always get what you want… but if you try, sometimes you get what you need” (you probably also get a lot of what you don’t need, too — that’s how it is with blogging!).

  8. I don’t know, isn’t the old wisdom that you should share goals with friends to hold yourself accountable?

    A blog is whatever the author wants it to be. If you want to change and actively seek advice? It’s helpful. If you just want to wallow in self-pity and have others reinforce that? It’s negative. And it shows and people who are interested in one or the other will gravitate towards those types of blogs. I’ve dropped blogs out of my reading list because all the writers ever did was whine and gripe and not TRY anything different. But people who are actively attempting to do SOMETHING? I love ’em. I root for them. : ) Because we all have something we are working on.

  9. thanks for this and all your posts. I am likely one of your most prolific blurkers out there. just kicked off my new “personal” blog as a place for me to write/post what I want instead of it being a box I have to check so the relatives see regular pics of my son. [i have another one, http://www.teamwalkerryan.com that is more for scrap-book type documenting of activities].

    hope you don’t mind, but I am linking to your page from mine. i love your honesty, what seems to be a fun loving nature and all your lovely photos, and hope i can push others your way as well.

    whatever the reason you’re keeping your blog alive, keep it up – there are plenty of us out there who appreciate you.

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