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Stop Looking at the Numbers

By Lady B

Recently I made a decision to stop looking at the numbers in my life. All the numbers.
 
I’ve never been a fan of math or statistics or anything resembling either. I do love numbers though. Balancing my bank account is one of my favorite things to do. Calculating how many paychecks it will take until I reach my savings goal, or how many dozens (and dozens) of payments it will take to pay off my student loans, is something I do in my head when I’m trying to fall asleep.
 
(I realize those are activities that require math but I’m not sitting in a class trying to solve for Y or X or Z so I can handle it.)
 
That’s all fine until it isn’t. Until I start to feel like an inadequate person because I have a few more hundred dollars on my credit card than I’d like. Or when I break into a cold sweat thinking about how extremely far behind I am at saving for retirement. My 401K is more like a 4 “oh-no” 1K.
 
I spend my days looking at numbers and it’s not part of my job. I look at the numbers in my bank account but I also look at the number of followers I have, or comments I receive, or likes, or favorites, or re-tweets. I’m doing more than measuring my success by these numbers. I’m ascribing my worth to them.
 
After I’ve determined I will forever be in debt, and no one loves me because my tweet went unliked, I’ll jump on the scale to see just how much weight I’ve gained since I was born. Since I already know I weigh more than 6 lbs, 7 oz I immediately jump to thinking I’m a fat failure. Surely a horrible disease or death is near since my weight is too high, my age keeps going higher, and let’s face it, the number of glasses of wine I drink each week isn’t helping anything.
 
In just a few minutes I went from putting together a savings plan to seeing myself as completely unworthy and unlikely to ever reach my goals and oh yeah, that’s okay because I don’t deserve them anyway.
 
Whoa. That is not good.
 
Looking at the numbers, all the numbers, is crippling me. I can’t move forward if I keep letting the numbers hold me back. So, I’ve decided to stop looking at them all the time.
 
I’ll keep saving and check in on my bank account once a month instead of every day. I’ll weigh myself when I feel stronger or when my pants fall down going up the stairs. (Don’t laugh, it’s happened!) I’ll engage more on social media but not monitor my likes, follows, and comments like a child waiting for cookies to bake.
 
Mmm, cookies. And no, I’m totally not thinking about how much they cost and how many calories they are.
 

6 Comments

  1. Denise Lemon Knapp on 04/01/2018 at 4:15 PM

    The more followers I get, the weirder I feel. Like, “Hey, I’m not really interesting, there’s nothing to see here, you might want to move along…”

    And then I feel badly. Who am I to decide what other people find interesting? Sometimes it takes me a while to “get” the obvious.

    I used to sing. A LOT. And people would always come up afterwards and tell me how good I was, how wonderful my voice was. I can’t tell you how many years I would answer, “Oh, it must have sounded better than it did inside my head,” and, “I really messed up that one part, did you hear it?” These were complete strangers coming up to me and telling me they loved hearing me sing! Finally one day I understood that these strangers were offering me a gift, presenting me with a beautiful compliment and I was being incredibly rude in return. I learned to just say, “Thank you so much, that’s so kind of you.”

    I think life is like that. I think when we dissect something, we belittle it and make it less than what it is. I’m not all that and a bucket of chicken, but I do (or did) sing well. And if people like what I write, that’s a huge compliment, and I shouldn’t get weirded out because my opinion of me doesn’t match theirs.

    I think our lives are gifts. I think we shouldn’t dissect them any more than it takes to be self-aware and to become the best person we can be. I think many more things should just be viewed on the surface, not torn apart to find the “real meaning.” Perhaps the real meaning is simply what’s there on the surface.

    I enjoyed your writing very much. 🙂

  2. Nicola on 04/02/2018 at 4:06 AM

    I really enjoyed this post. I’m guilty of worrying about numbers, too. The problem is, when it comes to blogging, sometimes it HAS to be about the numbers. The more followers, likes and RTs you get, the more likely brands are to work with you. A media kit is basically just a list of numbers – follower count, unique monthly page views, DA, etc. It’s sad but true and it’s what makes some people buy followers.

    It’s not healthy to be constantly obsessing about stats, though. People who do that don’t generally put out their best work and start producing things they THINK their audience wants to see, rather than what they themselves are passionate about. Once you start doing that, you start to lose yourself in pursuit of likes and comments.

  3. hayley on 04/02/2018 at 9:52 AM

    I love this post! I am a big worrier about numbers myself, especially when it comes to blog stats! But I, too, have tried to take a step back and forget about them for a little while.
    It’s great to hear that you’ve recognised how damaging focusing on numbers can be in all aspects of life though, hopefully you can forget about the numbers a little and just enjoy everything a little more!
    Hayley X
    lifethroughtsg.com

  4. Lisa McLachlan on 04/02/2018 at 11:27 AM

    This is such a relateable post. It’s so easy to get caught up in numbers and you’re absolutely right about measuring self-worth this way. I didn’t blog as frequently towards the end of last month and my views dropped. I was stressing about it until my DH reminded me why I blog – for enjoyment, not for validation. If your blog isn’t your income then numbers don’t matter as long as you enjoy yourself. Great post, thank you for sharing!

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  5. Jack on 04/11/2018 at 8:41 AM

    Daԁfdy wins!? The twins declared.

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