Reclaim Your Identity, Peace, and Purpose
Selfies. You either love them or you hate them, there really hasn’t been a great in-between space. In a world where our reflection matters, what young women want most is to feel comfortable in their own skin. Everyone wants self-acceptance, belonging, and a deep understanding that we are loved. We want to feel beautiful or handsome and to exude the courage to show up for our very own God-created destiny, and society gives us many ways to express that. We want to be recognized for who we are, what we love, and what we accomplish. We want our friends to see us, and we want to be celebrated.
Yet peeling back the mask of shame, we often have a hard time fully connecting to our identity. There’s a muddy space in the middle of where we want to be and where we are. We may get sidetracked by what we see of others, of what they are doing and experiencing and sharing with their world. We start to compare and contrast, get jealous or get even, we sometimes even forget what we really look like. Before we know it, an hour has passed.
And in the midst of this mind-game jungle, we hold a phone up to our face and we “click”. Then we look deeper. Here is where we may start to sigh or invite self-hatred, ask for a do-over, or look away in disgust. Here we also might surprise ourselves and light up a bit, encouraged by what “faults” might not have been caught by the camera or what hue our eye color gleams that we never saw before.
It’s the journey into the selfie. Who am I? What is my identity, where do I belong, and what do I do with my life? In a society where we are all trying so desperately to connect, we take a snapshot, share it, and wait for others to react. We also react to others and take inventory of what we like and don’t like.
Social media has quickly moved to the forefront of many of our daily interactions. It is used instead of coffee dates or real dates, always in the back of our mind for sharing our current experience with the world. As a culture, we want to feel known and loved. We want to share, be heard, and contribute, yet how we do that can either make us or break us.
Social connection in this type of form is probably not disappearing any time soon. Technology is here and here to stay. There are, though, a few helpful tips that can aid in bringing balance to a culture that can sometimes be difficult to navigate.
If you find yourself falling into a trap of social media “medication”, ask yourself these 10 questions to reclaim your identity:
- What is it I’m really looking for when I’m drawn to the screen? Friendship, a creative outlet, connection, validation of my worth, something to dull my pain?
- What is the primary feeling that moves me toward social media? Sadness, loneliness, boredom, acceptance, joy?
- Am I going to social media to receive something or to share something? If I’m looking to receive something, what is it? If you’re going to share something, is it helpful and positive or venting and negative? For example: Is this your new favorite recipe? Or are you sharing how upset you are about something?
- Is social media your primary form of connecting with people? If you are feeling lonely, can you call a friend to meet up instead?
- Do you find yourself on the phone too much? Would it be helpful to limit your time on the internet to certain times of day? What can you replace your time with that brings you more joy?
- What are your favorite activities for exercise? You might want to join an exercise class to connect with people in person.
- What are some of your goals and dreams? Put the technology aside and journal about your future.
- Are there a few small, practical steps you can take toward moving your body and also moving toward your goals? How does that make you feel?
- How can you set aside 20 minutes daily for quiet, solitude, and prayer?
- Who can you ask for support in building your identity, confidence, and growth?
Though these questions don’t cover all the bases, they can give you a great start to reclaim your identity, your peace, and your purpose! Sometimes it can be difficult to not feel “connected” to an online world; however, it can be even more devastating not to be connected to your own peace and purpose. Start with these few introductory questions and ask God to be part of your journey into identity. When He is the driving force to what you see in yourself, you are always sure to win. His best intentions at heart, you’ll never feel left out, lonely, or depressed. You’ll be sure to love yourself well when you can love yourself from the inside-out!
To hear more about a teenager’s journey into self-confidence, connection, and acceptance, check out Sarah’s book “How to take a Selfie: A Social Media Detox to Regain Confidence and Connection” on Amazon. Sarah is a wife, mother, author, and artist. She loves to write and create and spread that joy on social media. Through a painful past and a reclaimed future, she’s learned that true identity can be found best from the inside-out. She loves to share how God has healed her soul and turned her messy, yet divine process into something beautiful.