How To Make Friends In Adulthood and Keep Them

How I Make—and Keep—Friends in Adulthood

So, you’re all grown up now. Perhaps you relocated to a different state. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your childhood friends. Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home mom struggling to meet other moms. Whatever the case, building new friendships in adulthood can be a daunting challenge.

I’ve experienced all the above; I moved to a new state, I outgrew most of my friends, and I was a stay-at-home mom struggling to make connections with other moms. To ice that cake, I’m also an introvert and I homeschool my children—which made it even more challenging to find people I could relate to.

As a woman in her thirties, I’ve made many friends in my adulthood, but lacked the quality friendships I desired.

Quality Friends Memes, Quotes, and Inspiration

Let me differentiate the two. With a casual friend, we might go out to coffee and catch up every now and then, but neither of us is committed to taking the relationship to the next level.

And that’s okay!

Everyone needs friendships like these. I call them seasonal friends.

A quality friendship, however, is a friendship where both parties are committed to realizing the potential of their relationship. It goes beyond the coffee dates and birthday party invites. There’s more transparency, a stronger connection, and most importantly—mutual edification.

I’ve discovered finding a good friend is a lot like finding a mate. In fact, my friends and I jokingly referred to our new friendship phase as “dating.”

Here, I don’t just want to talk about things I’ve learned that helped me make friends as an adult, but also things I’ve found to help sustain those friendships. Of course, I’m coming from the point of view of a homeschool mom, but you’ll find these tips can apply to you regardless of your walk in life.

As a disclaimer, I don’t have a ton of close friends. In fact, there are only two people on this earth I can call a close friend. But please be assured that one good friend is all you need. After all, quality friendships take time, love, and dedication to blossom. So, let’s get to it, shall we?


15 Ways to Make—and Keep—Friends in Adulthood


1. Enjoy your singleness.

If your goal is to make quality friends in 2019, don’t just sit around your house and hope for it. Instead, take that hope to the next level. That means doing the things you love—by yourself.

You must start living!

Enjoy Your Own Company Meme, Quote, Inspiration

You don’t need a BFF to go to the movie theater and watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see. You don’t need a BFF to go eat lunch at your favorite restaurant. And you certainly don’t need a BFF to travel or take advantage of wonderful social opportunities. You never know; you might run into your future BFF at the movie theater, coffee shop, or airport.

Just enjoy your own company!

Yes, I’ve dined alone, traveled solo, and showed up to social events with just me, myself, and I. I made meaningful connections, became confident in conversing with strangers, and even met my BFF!

Fellowship is important, but learning to be content with being by ourselves is also necessary for our personal growth and development. It is where we learn the art of balance.

 

2. Practice wholeness.

I’ve learned that no one should complete me. I should be whole all by myself. In fact, when we rely on people to fill our inner void, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Why? Because people are imperfect beings.

So, how do I practice wholeness?

  • By being intentional about improving my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health.
  • By maintaining a connection with God through prayer, meditation, and worship.
  • By allowing God to help me regulate my emotions and express them in a healthy manner.
  • By taking my thoughts captive to filter out the negativity.
  • Lastly, by developing healthier eating habits and staying active.

When I actively pursue the path of wholeness, I not only increase my chances of being an edifying friend to others, but also building quality friendships that last.

 

3. Build your confidence.

Practicing wholeness naturally increases my self-confidence, making me more attractive to quality people. Other methods I use to help build my confidence are:

  • Praying before attending events. I ask God for confidence and the courage to be myself. I also pray for the people attending the event. I pray that God gives them confidence, peace of mind, and the ability to make meaningful connections.
  • Remembering names. I try to remember the names of the people I want to build a connection with. Addressing people by their name is a small act that makes a huge impact on potential friends. If you belong to a club or group that has a social media account, don’t feel creepy about studying the faces in profile pictures to memorize their names. I’ve done it!
  • Practice small talk. Small talk isn’t my favorite. I like deep conversations. However, I’ve found that most people gravitate toward small talk, and I should become good at it if I want to make connections. And, to be honest, small talk isn’t that bad once you identify your motive. In my case, that motive is to get to know people better. Simple questions like, “Are you from this area?,” “How many years have you been living here?,” “How old are your children?” (if they have any), and “How is your week going so far?” have given me much success in opening the door to conversation.

Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself. Memes, Quotes, Inspiration

One thing’s for certain; when our confidence levels are high, not only are we more likely to engage in conversation, but we’re less likely to resort to “advertising” ourselves in an attempt to gain friendship. You know? When we try to sound as interesting as possible, but it just comes off as braggadocious? You can never go wrong with asking the questions and allowing a person to tell you about themselves. Most people love talking about themselves!

 

4. Join something. Anything!

Well, maybe not anything. Make sure it’s something you have a genuine interest for. Join a book club, a mom group, an art club, or volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.

Now, this is where I lose some people.

I know joining a group can seem intimidating. But making quality friends will require getting out of your comfort zone.

I’ve learned I’m never going to meet anyone if I don’t attend the fieldtrips, playdates, and classes hosted by my homeschool group or co-op. I’m not talking about an occasional thing, but actively attending most of the events and raising a hand to volunteer. This practice ensured I saw the same faces regularly, which provided more opportunities to develop quality relationships.

There was a time when I didn’t attend events because I felt “too awkward.” I was always off somewhere by myself and it seemed everyone else was hitting it off, except me. If this is you, please stay in the game! Don’t let these experiences keep you home. Push through the tough, awkward moments.

The more I became comfortable with being uncomfortable, the greater my confidence grew. Eventually, those awkward moments passed, and I found myself getting to know new people.

 

5. Don’t always trust your first impression.

Sometimes first impressions are accurate, but they can also be wrong. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I’ve unfairly written people off based on first impressions. But, one day, a thought came to mind in the case of negative perceptions:

Instead of being so committed to being “right” about someone, start hoping that you’re wrong. 

Negative Perceptions About People. Quotes, Memes, Inspiration

After all, perception is simply an interpretation, and your interpretation of a person could be wrong. Love always assumes the best of others.

Here’s the thing; speaking from a mom point of view, I’ve learned I was going to see moms at their worst. Not only do most of the moms in my homeschool group have multiple children, but many of them work side businesses, babysit and homeschool other people’s children, and are active foster parents and volunteers. Sometimes, these moms get frustrated and lose their ever-loving mind. So, extending grace toward others is definitely a prerequisite to building friendships in my case.

I admit, I’ve ended up building connections with people I wasn’t too fond of at first. I’ve made sweeping generalizations about their character and God humbled me by showing me I was wrong. I simply judged them based on a moment. These days, I pay more attention to patterns rather than “moments.” Studying a person’s patterns will always offer a more accurate character assessment.

 

6. Ask for them digits.

Am I telling my age with that phrase? Who remembers when we used to say this in the ‘90s? What I mean is, don’t forget to ask your potential friend to exchange phone numbers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit it off with someone and left an event with absolutely no way to contact them.

It sucks.

I remember when I met one of my dearest friends at a homeschool event. We were chatting it up and hitting it off, but neither of us thought to exchange numbers. At the tail-end of our conversation, her husband actually interjected and suggested we exchanged contact info to keep in touch. We’re such good friends now, but every now and then I think of how we would’ve just left that event with no way of keeping in touch.

I know it may seem awkward in this day and age, but requesting contact info is a bold step worth taking—and a great habit to develop. It shows that you find a person interesting and want the opportunity to get to know them more. A great first impression, if you ask me.

 

7. Be authentic—flaws and all.

The first thing most of us are tempted to do when first meeting someone is to make ourselves look as polished, intelligent, and interesting as humanly possible. After all, we’re advertising ourselves to potential friends. However, in my experience, I’ve found the best way to connect with someone is to be authentic—to allow people to see my imperfections.

So, rather than pretend, I admit to people right away that I’m nervous and apologize for my awkwardness. This usually breaks the ice and even evokes a few confessions of their own. I’ve made more connections this way than I ever made rambling on about my life-story and accomplishments.

I get it. We want to put on our best face to impress people. But putting on a good front will only result in your appearing pretentious and untrustworthy. Even more? We’re tempted to judge people for not being as good at “faking it” as we are. Just be real and free yourself from the fear of judgment. Otherwise, you’ll have to put on this persona every time you’re around this person—which is tiring!

I’ve learned to accept my flaws, which gave me the ability to accept the character flaws of others. It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary for building and maintaining quality friendships.

Accept Your Own Flaws. Quotes, Memes, Inspiration

 

8. Stay true to yourself.

This may sound similar to my last point, but I want to emphasize the importance of being yourself. Can I say it louder for the people in the back? Furthermore, this point speaks more on maintaining a friendship, while my last point speaks more on first impressions.

Sometimes when we get into new relationships, we tend to slowly mold ourselves into what we think the other person wants. Let me tell you, friendships like this are draining and almost never last because that act is difficult to keep up with.

For instance, I’m what many consider a girly girl. I like to paint my nails, wear makeup, dress up, and say “awe.”  But when I used to “date” potential friends, I’d forgo any evidence of who I truly was. I thought my love for playing dress up would be a complete turn-off. I feared they’d see me as vain and shallow, and I knew I was so much more than what I chose to wear for the day. Those friendships didn’t work out. But you know what did work out? The friendships where I remained true to myself.

 

9. Redefine “friendship.”

In grade school, and maybe even college, friendship meant hanging out with your bestie every single day and doing everything together. Perhaps you’ve even spent hours talking on the phone. At least I know I did.

As a thirty-something-year-old married woman with small children, having this type of relationship with another human being is just impossible. I had to redefine the way I’ve known friendship and let go of those expectations formed in my adolescence.

For me, redefining friendship meant knowing most of our encounters will involve facilitating playdates, exceeding small talk, texting more than calling, seeing each other’s homes in less than stellar conditions, and having each other’s back in the case of an emergency.

It also meant establishing boundaries.

I love my friends, but I don’t want to desire their company over that of my own husband and children. But that’s what often happens when we don’t define friendship and put it in its place.

 

10. Have a disagreement.

Not on purpose. What I truly mean is to allow yourself to have a disagreement. Do not fear a differing of opinion. In fact, disagreements make for healthy relationships. You won’t always agree with each other. And if you suddenly find yourself disagreeing that doesn’t mean the friendship won’t work out.

Relax.

Disagreements are bound to happen the more time you spend with someone. This is especially true in new relationships because boundaries are still being drawn and are bound to be overstepped a time or two. How people handle disagreements is very telling of their true personality, so pay attention!

How People Handle Disagreements. Quotes, Memes, and Inspiration

What’s great about these types of hiccups in a friendship is that we can let our guard down (or run!) once we’ve seen what’s on the other side of that smile.

 

11. Take it easy.

Having a new friend can be exciting, but please take it easy at the beginning of the relationship. Don’t expect this person to be your everything. Like you, they have a life to live. It’s not realistic to expect them to meet you for lattes every day and go shopping every weekend. I know you want to get to know them, but you cannot microwave a friendship. It will take time and dedication to build companionship, transparency, and trust.

My biggest mistake was revealing too much about myself too soon in order to move the friendship along. I soon learned that being transparent while maintaining my mystery is an art. If you hang out every day and reveal every detail of your life within the first few weeks of the friendship, what is there to look forward to in the years to come?

 

12. Make your motives plain.

Most people will lose sleep trying to decipher the motives of others. Make it easy for your new pal and tell them straight away what your intentions are. It’s okay to have motives, but you should let the other person in on them. If your motive is to become good friends, express that to them. Let them know you’ve been on the hunt for quality friendships and you’re in the “dating” phase.

During the new phase of one of my friendships, I let my friend know that I’m making more of an effort to reach out to people to form friendships. Lucky for me, she was in that phase of her life, too. So, it worked out for both of us. No guessing. No losing sleep. Just being upfront right at the beginning by saying, “Hey, I think we’re a match!”

As another example, I once told a friend of mine that I wanted to make sure my children built friendships with people who didn’t look like them. That was my motive. I wanted more diverse friendships for myself and my children. She also happens to be an outstanding homeschool mom and human being that I can learn from. That is why I chose to build a relationship with her and that’s okay.

And as fate would have it, our motives were pretty similar. We connected for the sake of our children, but it turned out that we actually liked each other as people. Go figure!

So, don’t be afraid to say: “Hey, our children seem to be hitting it off, would you mind if we connected more?” or “Wow, your children seem to be thriving, would you mind connecting more? I’d love to learn about your approach to child-rearing.” If your motives are pure, sharing them should never be an issue.

 

13. Get uncomfortable.

We tend to gravitate toward people we feel comfortable with—people who are like us. But lately, I’ve been challenged to get uncomfortable. That is, build connections with people unlike myself. I’m not merely talking about physical appearance, but also personality, culture, and lifestyle-wise.

Step Outside the Box Memes, Quotes, and Inspiration

Why is building a relationship with people different from you important? Because it edifies you.

I’m so amazed at how much I’ve learned through my unlikely friendships—how much I’ve grown as a person. I’ve connected with people that couldn’t be any more different, but we’ve discovered our core values are the same.

Connecting with people we’re comfortable with is great, but I encourage you to also connect with people you can learn from. If you’re having difficulty managing your homeschool, connect with someone who does it well. If you’re trying to improve your financial stewardship, connect with someone who is excellent at it. If you want to explore outside your culture, connect with someone who has a rich culture.

These relationships may not always feel the most “comfortable” at first, but they will certainly enrich your life.

 

14. Pay attention to how they treat others.

This one may help you dodge a bullet.

Do they gossip about people often?

You might be next.

Do they put all the blame for the failure of their past friendships on other people and take zero responsibility?

You might be next.

Do they ditch their current friends to hang out with you?

You might be next.

Notice a pattern here? How a person treats their friends is a foreshadow of where your relationship is going with them. Take heed.

 

15. Become the friend you desire.

Have you ever been in one of those frustrated, one-sided relationships where you’re the only one committed to “making time?” There’s no longevity in those types of friendships. Not only have I been that friend who never made time, but I’ve also been on the receiving end.

We’re all “busy.” That’s why maintaining our commitment to making time for others shows we value their friendship.  There must be some sort of sacrifice and it must be reciprocal. I’m not talking about putting off important things, but rather putting off things that “can wait” to grab coffee with that friend or attend that playdate.

Become the Friend You Desire. Meme, Quotes, Inspiration

Everyone has heard the adage: “treat others the way you want to be treated.” This, in my opinion, is the surefire way to grow in consideration, compassion, and humility toward others. If you want a good friend, you must first be one. If you expect others to accept your flaws, you must do the same for them. Extend grace where grace is needed.


 

The key word here is “maintenance.” Most of us are good at making connections but are terrible at putting in the work to maintain those connections. With that being said, these are practices I must work at regularly. They are also practices I know work! Even if you have great friendships, we all need a reminder now and then to make more of an effort to strengthen our bond with others.

If you’re in the same boat I was in, take courage. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nine years and it took me a while to learn these things. It’s only been the past three years that I could finally call someone a friend. What I found essential is to remember to change my mindset. When I had this notion that there were no good people out there, I was making a rather haughty assumption that I was the only good human being left on the planet.

Which wasn’t true.

Yes, there were people out there who used, backstabbed, and abandoned me. But, going through the fire refined me and increased my discernment to recognize when I was face-to-face with a genuine person. It also taught me that I was no angel, either, and could use a few lessons on being a good friend myself.

Well, I hope this post was helpful. At the end of the day, that’s all I’m aiming to do. Feel free to share your wealth of knowledge about how you’ve made and maintained friendships in your adult years.

Until next time, friends…

My Journey to Matured Confidence

Welcome to the part of my blog where I share raw unadulterated details about my personal journey. Not because I want to, but because I must. Sharing our story, no matter how great or small, is part of being human. It’d be selfish of me to experience such self-transformation and not share and inspire others.

So here we are! I already talked about 12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy and Self Confidence | 3 Ways to Feel Beautiful. Today, I want to talk about my journey to matured confidence and illustrate that confidence is like a muscle that needs to be built and strengthened.

My journey to self-confidence started when I was a little girl. I wasn’t what some considered to be a particularly “beautiful” child. I was timid, had dominant Nigerian features, and wore thick glasses that made my eyes look like tiny seeds.

Before I go any further, I am NOT in any way saying I wasn’t beautiful because of my Nigerian features. What I am saying is that the people around me could only see ONE type of beauty—and my “Africanness” certainly didn’t fit that mold.

As a small child I never really thought much about my looks. My mother, who is very fair skinned, talked about how much she loved brown skin tones. She gifted me ethnic dolls and did her best to portray the message that brown is beautiful.

I was beautiful to her, and that was all that mattered.

Until I became interested in boys. I found out very quickly that I was the ugly friend that no one wanted to date.

That’s when I started to take notice.

I noticed I didn’t look like the leading women in romantic movies. I noticed I didn’t look anything like the “cute” girls at schools. I even noticed that, although I shared a similar skin tone, my features were much more pronounced than the dainty features on ethnic Barbie dolls.

Nike Anderson Quotes

But do you want to know something interesting? I wondered, even as a nine-year-old, why I couldn’t be beautiful, too. I mean, I knew I didn’t resemble what everyone else considered to be beautiful, but a small authentic part of me knew that beauty didn’t have to be so one-dimensional.

What would happen next would be the thing I’m most proud of. I just threw my hands up and decided it didn’t matter. I may not be beautiful to other people. I may get overlooked in the dating department. I may even get called names like four-eyes, African booty-scratcher, ugly, and coke-bottles (kids are so lovely, aren’t they? LOL). But, one thing that no one could take away from me was my intelligence. My knowledge. My wisdom. My joy.

I probably didn’t know I was being this deep in the fourth grade, but looking back at it, I knew that physical beauty wasn’t everything. I put more focus and energy into being one of the smartest kids in class than into what I looked like. In this, I experienced a different type of beauty, a different type of confidence that couldn’t be uprooted. To others, I lacked physical appeal, but they couldn’t deny that I was disciplined, hardworking, determined, and creative.

And then this happened:

Sometime during middle school, I suddenly bloomed. Maybe it was because I ditched the glasses for contact lenses. Maybe it was my overly-developed teenaged figure. But, as if out of nowhere, everyone started to see what I’d been seeing all along—beauty. It was a different kind of beauty. An interesting kind of beauty. But beauty, nonetheless.

For the first time people started referring to me as “beautiful,” and it felt good.

So good that it became addictive and I started entrusting my self-worth to validation from pubescent boys. I became full of myself. Yes, I was still a “gifted” student but it became more important for me to fit in and be accepted by the “in-crowd.” To the outside world, I looked like a young lady oozing with confidence—I was smart, pretty, and popular. But only I knew the truth—that deep down I felt this void because these external things were all that I had to bank on. If I was no longer considered pretty or popular my entire teenage world would shatter.

I don’t remember the exact year, but there was an impactful day I’d spent hanging out with my aunt at a friend’s barbecue. As my aunt introduced me to her friends, some of them had kindly complimented my unique beauty. My aunt’s response? “Yes, she’s beautiful, but she’s also very intelligent.” I talk about this moment often because it awakened the nine-year-old in me—the little girl who knew that beauty was subjective and that I had other things going for me beyond what the eye could see.

Nike Anderson Quotes

I had the right idea as a nine-year-old but later learned that even intelligence could be subjective, a confidence crutch if you will.

I needed something more.

Yes, my teenaged self could think of several positive adjectives that described me. But who was I? Who was I truly? And why was I here? Thus, started my journey to what I like to call matured confidence.

I wasn’t raised in a religious household, but that didn’t stop God from reaching me. I didn’t need a sermon, an altar call, or any of that. I knew His voice. I knew He was calling me. And I knew only He had the answers to my pressing questions—that He would show me who I was and what I was doing here. So, I made the unpopular decision to give my life to Christ, not to live a life of religious rules, but to live a life powered by faith and love.

You see, religion and faith are two separate things. Religion subtracts and divides. Faith adds and multiplies.

Religion and Faith Quotes, Inspiration, Memes

I’m not going to preach. That is not my intention. But in order for this post to be most authentic, I must include this detail of my life. Where this journey to confidence really took off.

My life wasn’t perfect after accepting Christ. In fact, I made some poor choices in high school and even poorer choices in undergrad. It was a struggle to live authentically when a huge part of me just wanted to do what everyone else was doing because it was easier.

Yes, it was so easy to fit in. Standing out took courage—and it was also very lonely.

When girls in my high school were out having sex and getting their hearts broken, I made the bold decision to wait until marriage. I knew that any guy who saw my value as God saw it—and as I saw it—would be willing to wait with me. But that choice didn’t come without opposition. Guys made up stories to slander me and girls poked fun at my virginity.

In my adult years, when my coworkers chose to sit around and gossip during lunch breaks, I chose a quiet table outdoors to sit and read. I saw no point in bringing others down to make myself feel good. I already felt good about myself. But, of course, this meant I’d eventually become the subject of their gossip. I was even overlooked and lost promotions to colleagues who habitually came to work late and did more talking than working—but they fit in.

I mention these examples not to appear self-righteous, but to reiterate my point. It would’ve been easier for me to “fit in.” Why? Because standing out meant getting called nasty names, losing friends, and being subjected to rumors made up about me. To a mature woman, this might not have been a huge deal. But to a young woman growing in maturity, being an outcast was a real struggle.

Looking back at my younger years, as a woman now in her thirties, I can see clearly the levels of growth in my confidence. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide “I love me—truly love me.” Self-love was, and still is, a process.

Where does my confidence come from? It comes from knowing who I am. Who I truly am. The core of my being deeply rooted in Christ that you must experience for yourself to truly understand. It comes from recognizing that true confidence does none of the following:

  1. Compares itself to others.
  2. Tears others down to lift itself up.
  3. Puts its energy into hatred.
  4. Places itself above others.
  5. Strays from its authentic self.

True Confidence Quotes, Memes, Inspiration

No. People who walk in true confidence acknowledge and respect that everyone has different levels of gifts and talents, is on their own journey, and has a significant purpose to realize. Confident people build others up, put their energy into faith and love, and never place themselves above others. Most importantly, they never stray from their authenticity.

To this day, some will never see me as beautiful enough, smart enough, popular enough, or whatever “enoughs” they can think of. But I will never know it because I’m not paying attention. I’m too busy focusing my energy on who I was created to be and what I was created to do.

And can I just say that acknowledgment of one’s own beauty, gifts, talents, accomplishments, intelligence, etc., does not make a person conceited or vain? Conceited and vain people have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.  There’s a difference between someone aware of what God has blessed them with and someone who thinks they’re better than other people because of what God has blessed them with.

I want to close by saying I have no intention of posting this because I’m not sure it even makes sense. You’d be surprised at how many things I’ve written that I never post. But if you see this post that has been hiding in my documents since May 2018, that means I finally did it.

Until next time, friends…

 

Self Confidence | Three Ways to Feel Beautiful

Self Confidence | 3 Ways to Feel Beautiful

Hello beautiful people! I’m back!

Can I just say for the past few weeks I’ve been stumped on what to write about? Or rather, I’ve been writing, but have been stumped on what to actually post. Much of my writing never makes it to this platform because I believe everything must be done in divine order. Therefore, when it comes to posts like these, I must feel a conviction to share them.

That conviction came after realizing there’s so much self-transformation that I went through as a woman of God that can help other women who are where I was. Confidence is something we all struggle with. Some of us to a larger degree than others. But over the years, I’ve learned some things that helped me mature in this area of my life.

It’s important to remember that confidence is one thing, matured confidence is another. Many of us have confidence but aren’t growing in it as we should. After all, confidence, like many other virtues, is a muscle that must be built up and strengthened overtime.

Today, I’m sharing three simple strategies that transformed me into a woman of matured confidence. These methods aren’t just something to check off my list, but are meant to be followed and lived out on a daily basis.

Self Confidence | Three Ways to Feel Beautiful

 

1. Turn it off!

My journey to matured confidence began when I turned off the television.

That was 8 years ago. During this time, I eliminated all distractions in order to grow spiritually. I realized continually exposing myself to images that narrowly portrayed beauty, and cosmetic commercials that prayed on the insecurities of women, was harmful to my self-esteem and spiritual growth.

Not only did I grow spiritually, but I also grew in self-confidence. The lack of exposure to “one type of beauty” helped me focus on what makes me beautiful, rather than what doesn’t make me beautiful. For years, I was oblivious to fashion, makeup, and hairstyle trends—and it was so freeing to be out of the loop. I just did me.

Years later, I would come to do the same with social media.

Turn it off.

Even though I’ve built a solid foundation for my self-confidence over the years, I’m still very careful to preserve it. That means spending more time living out my purpose and less time watching other people live out theirs.

Spend more time living out your purpose and less time watching others live out theirs.

This has been tricky since I use Instagram and Facebook to connect with all of you. But I’ve been able to master that art of balance by instilling a couple rules that I may talk about in a future post.

 

2. Give Yourself Permission.

Yes, give yourself permission to feel beautiful. I know many women who struggle in this area. They don’t give themselves permission to feel beautiful because they’ve got belly fat, stretch marks, cellulite, acne, dark skin, pale skin, or whatever else is in direct opposition with ideal beauty standards.

But who orchestrated this law that one doesn’t deserve to feel beautiful if they don’t fit the beauty standard? I’ll let you in on a little secret; advertising companies work diligently to ensure we hate the way we look. Why? Because then they can sell us weight loss pills, stretch mark creams, tanning lotions, lip plumpers, or whatever else we desperately reach for in an effort to fit the mold.

I remember conversing about body image with an old coworker of mine, who gasped when I shared my weight with her. Her response?

“I’d just die if I weighed that much!”

Not even kidding. Those were her exact words.

I was trying to make a point that numbers on the scale didn’t matter, considering I was pretty healthy and fit at the time. But in her eyes, there was something wrong with a woman being okay with less than ideal numbers on the scale. To her, I didn’t deserve to have body confidence. But, I let her commentary roll off my back. I loved the way I looked, and the numbers on the scale wasn’t going to change my perception.

After birthing and nursing two children, you’d better believe I have stretch marks, cellulite, loose skin, saggy boobs, and extra weight. But each day I give myself permission to feel beautiful, anyway. None of these things are “flaws,” but are a result of living life and birthing life—a privilege not afforded to many.

 

3. Build Inner Peace.

We’ve all had that moment when we looked upon a gorgeous woman, admiring her beauty, only to discover she has an ugly disposition. Suddenly, that woman isn’t so beautiful to us anymore.

Buy why?

Because inward beauty always trumps physical beauty.  A kind spirit, a joyful soul, and a heart at peace is the biggest enhancement we can make to our appearance.

Consider this verse: “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13

This verse reminds me of the first time I realized that walking with God was the best beauty treatment I could give myself.

It was a time when I should’ve been living in despair. Everything around me was falling apart. My husband became unemployed almost as soon as we learned I was pregnant with our second baby. We watched our resources slowly wither to nothing. It was a very stressful time for us.

But it was also a beautiful time.

Beautiful because our peace and faith remained intact. God provided for us in the most mysterious ways. Unexpected cash, checks, and money orders made their way to our mailbox, and we had a community of people that faithfully supported us during that season.

I remember during this time people would ask me, “What’s going on with you? You seem so happy. You’re glowing.” At first, I was confused by this recurring inquiry; I wasn’t doing anything differently with my physical appearance, our financial situation was still a wreck, and I went from being heavily pregnant to a visibly tired new momma. Yet, people were commenting on how radiant, happy, and beautiful I looked—like I was withholding some amazing news.

I could only chalk it up to experiencing the glory of God. The intimate time I was spending with the Lord offered me an inexplicable joy that revealed itself through my countenance and reminded me that true beauty is a heart at peace. That’s when I feel the best about myself.


I want to end this post by saying confidence isn’t something you just say you have. Rather, it must be nurtured, tested, and approved by God because in Him is where it truly rests. If your confidence depends on the material things of this world, it will waver. Why? Because “things” are only temporary, but our God is eternal.

I want to hear from you. What invaluable lessons have you learned about self-confidence? Let me know in the comments!

12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy

12 Ways I Overcame Jealousy  

No one ever wants to admit they get jealous. Yet, jealousy is one of the common strains in human relationships. There are many ways to define jealousy; envious, covetous, resentful, insecure, begrudging, the list of synonyms goes on. Today, I’m going to talk about jealousy in the form of envy.

In my post last week, 50 Random Facts About Me, one of the questions I answered was “Do you get jealous?” My initial response was, no. But I didn’t feel like that answer would set anyone free from the stigmas surrounding jealousy. Feeling jealous isn’t fun. And when we feel like we’re the only one who experiences this emotion, it makes it all the more difficult to defeat the green-eyed monster.

We all experience jealousy at one point or another. But if we never admit to it, how do we defeat something that we’re in denial even exists? Better yet, how do we help others who struggle with this “not so fun” emotion?

So, instead of answering no, I had this to say in my last post:

“Yes [I get jealous]. But I don’t stay jealous for long. I’ve learned strategies to conquer the green-eyed monster whenever it threatens to steal my joy. Perhaps I’ll write a future post about it.”

Well, the time is now to write that post! Today, I will raise my hand and say, “Yes, jealousy can be a struggle for me if I don’t check it at the door.” It’s not an everyday thing, but when it does happen, it can take anywhere from a couple seconds to a couple days to heal from it—maybe more depending on where I am spiritually. The great news is, the more I overcome jealousy, the less power it has over me.

Here are some methods I’ve put into practice that helped me put jealousy to rest.

 

1. I wanted to change.

And I wanted it badly. I hated “hating on” other people. It hurt. I can’t quite pinpoint when this desire emerged, perhaps my mid-twenties, but I can say it’s been a passion of mine ever since. Jealousy was a disease that I wanted no part of. It was debilitating. That’s why I’m writing this post; in hope that someone will take the necessary steps to be freed and healed from this dangerous emotion. But, you must want to change, first.

 

2. I realized jealousy has a root.

That root is fear. It helps to know this because I could then ask myself questions like, “Nike, what is it about this person’s accomplishments that you fear?” The answer? In my younger years, I feared that someone else’s accomplishments, beauty, spirituality, possessions, etc., diminished my own. In other words, I allowed myself to feel small in the presence of another person’s greatness—to fear that I’m not enough.

Never allow yourself to feel small in the presence of another person's greatness

 

3. I admitted I was Jealous.

Everyone knows that admitting the problem is the first step to recovery. I used to mask my jealousy by putting it off on the other person. I would say things like, “That person is soooo braggadocious” (yes, I used words like “braggadocious,” haha) or, “That person thinks they’re so much better than everyone.” But when I closely examined the thought-process behind my words, I realized my assumptions were rooted in jealousy. It wasn’t until I admitted this ugly truth about myself that I could begin the healing process.

 

4. I made a choice.

Once I became honest with myself, I had a decision to make; I could continue to poison myself with jealousy by holding on to it, or, I could free myself and let it go. The ball was in MY court. I didn’t have to entertain jealousy. I didn’t have to STAY jealous. I could let it go. So, I did. It wasn’t always easy and still isn’t, but each time it gets easier.

 

5. I filled myself with good things.

What you’re full of eventually spills out of you. I’m a Believer, so I like to fill myself with scripture, focusing on this particular verse:

Philippians 4:8 Verse Scripture MemeThe power of thoughts is not some new-age concept, this notion existed since the beginning of time. The more I meditate on good things, the less room I have for negativity. Think about it; is it easy to pour liquid into a full glass of water? In the same way, it’s not easy to pour jealousy into a full spirit.

 

6. I recognized jealousy is a seed.

Once you entertain it, once you nurture it, it just keeps growing until it can no longer be contained. Remember when I said, “What you’re full of eventually spills out of you?” Trust me, you may think you’re hiding your jealousy well, but it WILL come out. When it does, it will reflect poorly on your character. It happened to me. That’s a story for another day. But I’ve learned what’s done in darkness is always brought into the light. It may seem like “just a thought,” but any thought, when meditated on long enough, has the potential to be carried out into action.

 

7. I became more productive.

I asked myself, “What are you doing with your disposable time?” Am I idly scrolling through social media? Am I binge-watching Netflix? Am I entertaining gossipy conversations? These things are not only breeding grounds for jealousy, they are thieves of time! Have you ever heard of this saying?:

The difference between the wealthy and the poor is how they spend their free timeI’ve found that being productive is a great way for me to mind my own business. When I’m minding my own business, I have no time to invite jealousy by seeing what she’s up to. There’s no time for me to meditate on the things I don’t have by watching shows where people are glamorous and live glamorous lives. And, there’s no time to entertain conversations that start off with, “Girl, you’ll never believe what so and so did.”

 

8. I monitored my self-talk.

Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself. Even today, I must still take heed and pay attention, lest I subconsciously fall into negative thought-patterns. Why is this important? Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others. In other words, we become jealous of other people’s confidence and seek to tear them down. After all, misery loves company.

 

9. I realized God doesn’t owe me anything.

Ah, entitlement. That dangerous feeling we get when we feel like God, or the world, owes us something. It seeps out whenever we see someone we view as “less deserving” receive something we want. A husband. A new car. A raise. Fame. Status. I can attest that it doesn’t feel good when you have to watch someone receive all the things you’ve been hoping for. But I’ve come to learn that God doesn’t owe me anything. It’s a tough truth to grasp, but we must all take hold of it, nonetheless. The sooner we do, the less hold jealousy will have over us. I can’t tell you how many times I must remind myself of this truth to this day. But when it sinks in, my inner peace is established.

 

10. I practiced contentment.

I’ll let you in on a little secret; if you don’t practice contentment, you will always want MORE. Why do we want more? Because we develop a habit of fixing our eyes on things other people have that we don’t have—envy.  I remember it clearly. I was discontent with the way things were going, sitting on my couch moping around. Then I had a vision:

I was sitting on an expensive couch, but in a huge mansion filled with beautiful things. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I was still dissatisfied. Still moping around. I could feel myself getting frustrated, asking myself, “Girl, why are you so dissatisfied when you live in this huge mansion?” It was then that this truth sank in: If you’re not happy with the little things, you won’t be happy with the big things.

If you aren’t happy with the little things, you won’t be happy with the big things.

11. I realized I needed help.

God’s help. I’ll always lose if I try to battle jealousy in and of my own strength. Trust me, there was a time when I tried and failed. No. My strength must come from God, and it begins with repentance—confessing my jealousy to God and seeking his strength to overcome it.

12. I worked toward REAL confidence.

When we place our confidence in how much we have, how much we’re adored, how good-looking we are, how talented we are, how famous we are, how educated we are, and how many titles we earn, we set ourselves up for failure. Real confidence does not come from any of these things—it comes from trusting in Who’s in your corner.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

When we take hold of true confidence, we experience true fulfillment. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for, anyway? Isn’t that why we run after material things? Status? Relationships? Power? To feel a sense of fulfillment? To fill a void? Isn’t that why we become jealous of others? Because their life seems more “fulfilled” than ours? Consider this verse from James 4:1-3:

James 4:1-3 Verse, Scripture, Meme


 

I don’t quite know how to end this post. But what I want to say is that no one is exempt from the temptation of jealousy. We can, however, choose whether we give in to that temptation. These are some of the steps I took, and still take, in order to stand firm against jealousy. I cannot take credit. All credit goes to God the Father, who is a wise and patient teacher.

If jealousy is something you struggle with, pray this prayer with all your heart, mind, body, and soul:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for my jealous ways, and direct me toward the ways of the Lord. I thank you, Lord, that you are a patient God who is slow to anger and abundant in love. I praise you for your mercy that is new every morning. Reveal to me all the seeds planted in me that gave root to my jealousy, so that I may be steadfast and alert of the enemy’s schemes. Help me to renew my mind daily, dear God, to reflect more of your truth. I praise you in advance for giving me everything I need to live a godly life that is pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

God bless you! Have any tips to add? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.