It’s 7am when my alarm wakes me up. I roll over and pick up my phone to check Instagram to see how many “likes” my post from yesterday gave me. Not many. Bummer. My internal dialogue goes a little something like this. Why don’t my posts get as many “likes” as other people? I continue to scroll through Instagram and notice that a friend of mine “liked” a picture from someone this morning yet they hadn’t “liked” my picture that was posted yesterday. This brings about more internal dialogue. How come they “liked” that persons photo but not mine? Did I do something wrong to this person? Are they mad at me? I take their not liking my post personally and keep scrolling until I come across a picture that a different friend posted a couple of days ago that has well over a 1,000 “likes”. I’m immediately jealous. Something in me believes that I need that many “likes” to be okay with myself. My internal dialogue gets worse. I’ll never be liked like that guy.

It’s been 10 minutes and I’m still in bed. I go to my LinkedIn app and see if anyone has accepted my invitation to connect. Only 1 person. One out of 20. More internal dialogue. One person? That’s it? I sent out over 20 invitations and only 1 person accepted my invitation? Are people telling other people not to accept my invitations? I look at other profiles on LinkedIn and see that they have “500+” connections listed and I do what I did with Instagram, I compare myself to them and make it personal. There’s something in me that says if I get to “500+” connections or 1,000 “likes” then I’m okay. This is the part of me that’s desperate to be liked and loved and it measures my self worth based on something outside of myself that I have absolutely no control over.

It’s now been 20 minutes and I’m still in bed. Don’t worry, my morning ritual is almost complete. I go to the home screen on my phone and swipe right to get to the daily news. Yeah like that’s going to help. It’s like putting a cherry on top of a morning filled with lack, doubt, fear, and shame. I get pissy reading several of the news stories until I look at the time. Crap. I’m late for work. Insert more not so nice internal dialogue here. Why do I always do this? I stay in bed and look at things that aren’t good for me. I compare myself to other people. I shame myself for not getting enough “likes” or accepted invitations. I’m looking for something outside of myself to make me feel better about myself and it’s never enough. A “like” will never be enough!

I get out of bed in a negative mood and take that out into my day.

Yeah. Not the best way to start a day. Lets look at what I’ve been working on for the past month and a half. It’s a ritual to start my day that’s sooo much healthier for me (and as a result everyone else around me).

It’s 7am when my alarm wakes me up. I glance over my shoulder at my beautiful (still sleeping) wife and smile knowing that she adores me. Sleeping next to her is our newborn baby girl. I pause taking in a deep breath allowing a wave of gratitude for both of them to fill my lungs.

I get out of bed quietly ignoring any and all yearnings to pick up my phone and grab a nearby pillow which I use it to prop myself up at the foot of our bed. I take another deep breath, close my eyes, and turn inward. I meditate. I turn to something that is grounded in reality instead of fantasy. I do this so that I can show up as the best possible version of myself which in turns allows me to show up in a much healthier way for those that matter most to me.

I open my eyes after 10 minutes and peacefully start my day.

Much better.

Originally published at

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  • Zachary is a writer and a coach inspired by intentional living. His writing focuses on his experiences around holistic health, inner child work, addiction, recovery, spirituality, and fatherhood. His coaching is devoted to helping people experience deep fulfillment in relationships, career, and life.