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My nail-biting habit, shame, and what I’m learning about authenticity

Yes, I Bite My Fingernails
Not too long ago, I posted this picture on Instagram of my friend, Tam, and me. Here’s what I posted with the picture:

This is my new dear friend and neighbor @tamhodge — she and her family have been direct gifts from God to our family as we settle in TN. They’ve loved on us, brought us food, watched our kids, made us cookies, listened to us, made us salsa, laughed with us, prayed for us, introduced us to many of their friends, and been the hands and feet of Jesus in this big transition. We had fun going to get manicures today with a gift card I had! It’s amazing how close you can feel to someone you just met last month! #humblyblessed

There was so much beauty in this picture to me. Not only was it a fun memory together, but the gift of friendship that this woman has been to me just made my heart feel like it might burst with gratitude and joy.

And then, within a few minutes after I’d posted the picture, someone I didn’t know posted a comment on the picture asking, “Do you bite your fingernails?”

Immediately, it felt like the wind had been knocked out of my sails. Because, you see, I have been biting my fingernails. And I was ashamed.

I’ve mostly kicked my childhood nail-biting habit, but it creeps up again when I’m going through an anxious period in my life.

While the move to TN has been so good, there have been some hard parts about it, too. And all this processing and adjusting has brought on anxiety and, yes, my nail-biting habit.

For years, I’ve been embarrassed not only of my nail-biting habit, but also that I struggle with anxiety at times. I wish I didn’t have what feels like silly fears and dumb habits. Why can’t I just get my act together already?

I’ve often beat myself up and felt like a loser and a failure in these areas. And while I’ll commit to breaking a habit or not feeling anxious over things, my best-laid plans don’t always pan out.

So when that commenter asked, “Do you bite your fingernails?”, I felt like someone had just called me out for being a loser.*

And it bothered me a lot.

All of a sudden, I couldn’t see any of the beautiful things about that beautiful picture with Tam. All I could see were my too-short nails and the fact that I had this bad habit I couldn’t break.

Truthfully, I wanted to delete the photo from Instagram. But I went to talk to my husband about it instead.

I told him I was sure I was being ridiculous, but the comment stung hard.

As we talked about it more, though, I started realizing what it was: I don’t like people drawing attention to my weaknesses and struggles. It makes me feel less-than and not enough.

But yet, we all have weaknesses… that’s what makes us uniquely us. I can cover up my weaknesses and try to pretend that they don’t exist or I can be honest about them and work on them.

As I told you earlier this week, I really want to be authentic here. I don’t want you to think that I have it all figured out or that I have all my ducks in a row. Because I don’t.

We’re all in this together. We’re all learning and growing. We all have struggles. We all have habits we need to break. Pretending we don’t have messes or struggles only does a disservice to ourselves — and to others.

So I left the picture on Instagram and even posted it in a blog post. Because I don’t want to wear a badge of shame over my short-comings.

I’m not, nor will I ever be, proud that I have a nail-biting habit. And I’m still holding out hope that someday I can break it once and for all.

But in the mean time, I’m grateful that I’m learning that it’s okay to be honest about my struggles and short-comings. In fact, it’s not just okay; it’s good.

The truth is: I’d rather be honest and authentic and disappoint some people, than to exhaust myself trying to keep up a facade of perfection.

I'd rather be

*Please Note: This post is not about judging an individual who left a comment, but about lessons I learned from that comment. I don’t know what the intent of the commenter was and they probably didn’t mean it in any way to shame or call attention to my short-comings. It was probably just a question they asked out of curiosity. However, I deleted the comment in order to protect the commenter’s identity. (Also: I don’t even remember what the person’s name was, so if it was you, know that I have absolutely zero hard feelings against you! :))

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  • Sarah says:

    Crystal, good for you. You’re right. We all have things to work on. I relate to a lot of what you said and I would venture a guess that at least part of your anxiety stems from the way you’re “wired.” Some of us have “flaws” that we were born with, and that’s okay too. I have a mole that never bothered me until a couple of people pointed it out. It’s not grotesque — it’s just a mole. When my husband and I had a picture made, he offered to Photoshop it out for me and I told “no”; I wanted him to leave it. We are not perfect beings. Some people’s habits and flaws don’t show on the outside, but they’re there.

  • B says:

    Add me to the nail biting club! Mine are a lot shorter then yours. 🙂 And I wear them with pride. 🙂

  • Ashley says:

    Love this post. So encouraging! yay for you using it in a positive way!

  • JD says:

    For more years than I care to think about I nibbled on my nails. I have quit stressing and relax now that I am in my 60’s. PS I have fairly long nails that I now shape a bit to keep them under control. lol We change.

  • jacquie says:

    I am 48 years old and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have quite and started back biting my nails. Don’t ever be embarrassed, we all have short comings and God still loves us. Judge not least be judged…we all fall short of the glory of God, yet by his grace we are made whole…bitten fingernails, anxiety and all!

  • Sarah says:

    Hmmm, I bite my nails and the skin around my nails too. I’d like to pretend I can get rid of this habit (it comes and goes, like you, stress related) but let’s just ‘be real’ here…..that ain’t gonna happen! 🙂

  • Crystal, don’t feel bad, as we all have flaws! Since being a teen, I was often made fun of in school by other young women for having what was thought of as too large a nose, as other had plastic surgery to change their profiles. Comments were also made of my body type, as I was slightly overweight compared to my peers. For years, I thought what they said must be true, and I carried the shame from this idea with me. However, this shame transformed into a blessing my freshman year of college a decade ago, when my work study assignment in the art department, landed me a student modeling position for the graduate art students. Despite my reluctance, I would look over the finished sketches in amazement at how classically pretty I looked in the eyes of others. What was truly amazing is how so many complimented me on my ability to sit so still, and how my profile was very symmetric, and as one one said, perfect; I was subsequently booked for other assignments for the remained of my four years, twenty extra pounds, large nose, self-doubt and all. So, while I felt shame for the perception I created for myself, I began to change this view, and have never looked back. I feel that commentary is a reflection of how we see ourselves, and our reactions are how we wish others to view us. Better to have short nails, than a short temper, disposition, or level of patience and compassion. Honestly, your nails just need a treatment of tea tree oil and sea salt to strengthen the nail beds and cuticles, a good rub with beeswax and lemon oil to seal your nails, and perhaps a cup of chamomile tea for the nerves 🙂 Cheer up, buttercup!

  • Erin says:

    Some bite their nails when stressed, others overeat, still others criticize to cover up insecurities. We all have problems. God, in his amazing grace, deals with and loves us all. If we can just keep our eyes wide open to see Him and follow His lead. . .

  • I can totally relate as someone who goes through phases of nail biting as well {I bite mine when I’m nervous or anxious too- it’s like a nervous habit}. I’ve even had people make comments about the skin around my cuticles and it totally humiliates me. I know this post wasn’t about you asking for suggestions, but I’ve recently started painting my nails again and it helps so much! Now I’m getting comments about who “did my nails” and I can proudly say I did!! Thanks for being real and sharing the lesson you learned through it. Keep it up! 🙂 And I honestly didn’t even notice the length of your nails when I saw the pic – I just thought they looked nice!

    • I love this comment! And I love the suggestion to keep your nails painted. That does really help me, too… I just haven’t made that a priority recently and I really appreciate that encouragement to make it a priority again. Thank you so much!

      • Katie says:

        I have had a nail-biting habit since I was little, too! I was going to comment about painting my nails, too. I had my first baby 4 months ago and have recently started painting them as a time for me to recharge and help myself feel a little more put together. It makes me feel so much better about my appearance and has kept me from biting! 🙂

        I also can relate to the anxiety – for me it creeps so fast and I have a hard time calming myself down from it. Thank you for being real and authentic about this struggle for you. My day was overwhelming with a teething baby and I was discouraged tonight. Between my husband’s encouragement and this post, The Lord has lifted my spirits immensely 🙂 I will pray for you that The Lord would continue to help both of us rest in Him when the anxiety rises. 🙂

        • {Hugs!} Spending the day with a teething baby can be very exhausting… I just prayed that you are able to get some rest tonight.

          And I think I’m going to join you in making nail-painting a priority again… I had been doing that for awhile and it really made a difference. And that life happened and I stopped making it a priority. Thanks for the inspiration to pick that good habit back up again! 🙂

  • Aimee says:

    I think as Christians we feel a tremendous amount of shame when it comes to anxiety or depression. While there are certainly tools we can use to help keep it in check, I’m really tired of this ridiculous line of thought that says if we had enough faith, we wouldn’t be anxious. I have a number of diabetic friends and family members. Never once have I thought…gosh, if they would just get it together and have enough faith, i bet their blood sugar would be just fine! Yet, I’ve thought that about myself for years. Anxiety and depression are physiological. A wise friend once told me to view the times when I get anxious as a check engine indicator. It’s my body’s way of telling me that something needs to be addressed. That’s helped me a lot. I’m also on a mission to get rid of this stigma associated with anxiety (or depression – most people tend toward one or the other in times of stress) because it isn’t true and it only makes the symptoms worse.

    • Such wise advice here. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Katie says:

      You’ve blessed my heart with this. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for a couple years and only recently have really understood how much it has been affecting me and my family. Thank you for your wise words!

      • Aimee says:

        I’m humbled that any of this would bless your heart, Katie. After years of struggling but keeping it as private as I could (at the risk of my health I might add), I finally sought counseling and it has been life changing. She has helped me identify specific tools that help me and has also provided a safe place for me to talk. The irony is that once I didn’t have the guilt and shame about it, I wasn’t as anxious.

        Please take comfort in knowing there is much hope for dealing with anxiety and leading a full and joyful life!

  • Wendi S says:

    I also have a nail biting habit! I was doing really well for a while, but it has recently gotten pretty bad again. I notice myself looking at other women’s nails and seeing such pretty long fingernails, or even just short but nice-looking fingernails and I feel like I must be the only one who has this habit, so I really appreciate you being real :). Thanks!

  • Katie N says:

    When I saw the title of this post, I actually smiled. I have been a chronic nail-biter since I was 3 years old (I am now 31). I’ve been made fun of, laughed at, and told, “You’re so disgusting!” I am embarrassed to point at things, or even sign a credit card slip when I make a purchase.

    So, when I saw that you had the same habit, I felt like I wasn’t completely alone. And that is why I smiled. It seems like a habit that is often looked at as “silly” but it’s unbelievably hard to quit.

    I will be praying for you, because I absolutely know how hard of a battle it is! 🙂

    • I am SO very sorry you’ve received such harsh criticism and even gotten made fun of for nail-biting. That just makes me so sad. 🙁

      Know that you are not alone. {Hugs!}

  • Isn’t it funny….I didn’t even notice your nails. I saw two beautiful ladies who look like they are having a great time together. I am so happy that you have found a good friend. That is a HUGE blessing.

    Side note: I am currently reading a book by Charles Swindoll called “The Grace Awakening” that is knock your socks off fantastic. You might want to check it out. In the book he calls those who would post such a comment ‘grace killers.’ His book takes a scriptural look at how we can avoid being a grace killer and still maintain the balance of authenticity in our lives. And money saving tip, this girl found her brand spanking new copy at Goodwill for $3.99. Woot! 🙂

  • Karen says:

    We are all works in progress and sometimes situations and life get the best of us but that’s ok. Some days we fall a bit short of our expectations and other days we exceed them. I guess the key is to stay humble on our “great” days and not get bogged down with self loathing on the “not so great” ones. Remember: there’s a reset button every 24hrs and we get a chance to try again. ☺

  • Lana says:

    My doughter used to bite her nails and I bought this nail polish ‘ Mavala stop’ on Amazon,so she won’t bite them again, because it taste really bad, maybe you should try it;)

  • Sharon says:

    I too bite my nails, and have fought this habit for as long as I can remember. It comes and goes, partly related to stress. Its hard to stop – after all you can’t hide your nails in the freezer like you might a credit card you don’t want to use. As many others have commented, everyone has some type of bad habit, I’d rather bite my nails, than yell at others when I”m stressed, or drink too much. So don’t worry about what people might think – esp random comments from the “internet”.

  • Carla Nel Stokes says:

    You are an amazing person. You have been much encouragement to me.

  • RuthS says:

    Hey, when I am stressed I eat sweets. At least your habit doesn’t cause your face to break out like a teenager’s 😀

  • Amy says:

    Love the picture and that you have found an amazing friend! You deserve it!

    It’s so easy on social media to post something and not know the intent of the comment. Maybe it was innocent or maybe it was mean. Know the God loves you, your family and friends love you, and so many of us struggle with the SAME ISSUES and love YOU for being so honest and upfront. Heck I would never have the confidence to share that to friends – much less readers.

    You rock!

  • Fellow nail biter here! I love how empowered you are on your blog lately. It’s inspiring. I’ve personally been dealing with a lot of issues about feeling ashamed of my weight. Blogging has really helped me overcome that. Even more than therapy did! I have shared all of the things that cause me to have fear and shame for the world to see. The result is not what I expected. I
    nstead of being embarrassed, those things have become sources of empowerment. Blogging is the best therapy in the world!

  • Chanda says:

    Hi Crystal! I am currently reading, and loving, the book Be Real because Fake is Exhausting by Rick Bezet. I think you’d really enjoy it. I think you’ve mentioned enjoying Mark Batterson’s books, Bezet’s style and theology is similar and it is all about, well, being Real 🙂

    • Chanda says:

      I just wanted to add how much I am loving, and have been very encouraged by, your latest postings! God is using you in huge ways! Thanks for being an inspiration to many, myself included.

      • Thank you so much for the suggestion! I just added that to my reading list… I can’t believe I’ve not seen it anywhere before! I’m so excited you recommended it so I could discover it. It looks really good!

        And thank you for your sweet encouragement!

  • CJ says:

    Next time you should just answer the question with a blunt “Yes I do”! It’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I get split ends because I have long hair and I get called out by my hair dresser about taking hot showers and brushing my hair when its wet and I could care less. I always answer honestly because I figure that if split ends are my biggest worry in life, then I guess I really don’t have any problems then. That’s how you should feel about your nails. Seriously, no one else probably would have even noticed your nails being short unless they themselves bite their nails or are a nail tech or something. Don’t ever be ashamed. It just shows that you have way more to your life than just your nails – that’s a good thing! Next time you answer and your answer proudly because there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of!

  • van brown says:

    You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today. Because I have really been struggling with anxiety and thoughts of being a failure. I feel like I can’t live up to all the stuff on the blogs and I wish I could. Thanks for being real! ♡

  • Lana says:

    Hugs! I too did not notice the short nails. I just saw two good friends which is one of the greatest blessings God gives us. I just would not worry about it. We all have our bad habits.

  • Amy says:

    What a great attitude, and your authenticity is brave and appreciated. (BTW, I only noticed your polish color when I saw the picture.)

  • Jessica says:

    I have anxiety – GAD diagnosed by my physicians. I’ve had it for 13 years. One of my symptoms is picking at the skin around my thumb nails. It makes my thumb nails split sometimes. I keep my nails clipped short so that when the thumb nails split it’s not so obvious. As a way to cope with anxiety, I crochet. It keeps my fingers busy. I get antsy if my fingers aren’t doing something. Really, even thumb twiddling. I can relate- I will see women with nice skin and feel bad about myself picking at my thumbs. I have noticed that my oldest daughter, age 7, bites her lower lip when she’s nervous. I think we all have habits like this, it’s just that some are more obvious than others. Some people may go have a smoke, or eat, or wiggle their feet, or pace, or grind their teeth, or twirl their hair. If you watch people for a while you’ll likely find what their nervous habit is.

  • Judy C says:

    I bite my nails too! For me, it’s a stress/anxiety thing that I’ve done since childhood. You’re not alone 🙂 Great post and I also love the nail polish choice – it’s super cute regardless of the length of your nails 🙂

  • Ruth says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could come up with a word like differences instead of faults? I feel shame and defeat over things I have struggled with since childhood; like anxiety, which leads to skin rash problems and hair problems, insomnia, etc. I beat myself up over my failures and inability to surmount these things. Thanks for your sharing. I also enjoyed reading others’ input.

  • Brandy Fisk says:

    I thought you guys looked beautiful and had beautiful nails when I saw the picture 🙂 the other day.

  • I, too, only noticed two ladies having fun and I remember thinking that I liked the blueish color! 🙂

    Love your comment, “I’d rather be honest and authentic and disappoint some people, than to exhaust myself trying to keep up a facade of perfection.” I couldn’t agree more!!!

  • Tammy says:

    Seriously? I’ll tell you what I noticed when I looked at the picture the first time you posted it. I noticed your beautiful blue eyes and your sweet smile. I also noticed the lovely woman by your side who is beautiful both on the inside as well the outside to welcome a newcomer so warmly and to extend friendship so unconditionally. There was too much beauty in the picture to notice anything else. (I’m still not seeing anything wrong with your nails, either, btw)

  • Shanna says:

    I totally get where your coming from b/c I’m 47 & still have not completely kicked the habit of biting my nails. I hate doing it, they look bad when I bite them & I’m just like you when I stress I bite them. There are times like right now where my nails look good b/c for whatever reason I’m not biting them. I go through periods of biting, not biting, back to biting, back to not biting. Frustrating as all get out!! I’m still hopeful I can quite before I die someday. lol So chin up your not in this alone!!

  • Nikki says:

    When I read this from R.C. Sproul’s book about Romans, it made me feel better about habits that I have a hard time kicking. Maybe it will you, too. Maybe not. But if R.C. Sproul had trouble, well, then who doesn’t?

    “It took twenty-five years from the day I became a Christian till the first time I went twenty-four hours without smoking, and it took another ten years to go a month without smoking, and it was at least another ten years after than to get rid of it altogether.”

    I know you’re not talking about smoking, and chewing your fingernails isn’t a sin, but still habits can be hard to overcome.

  • Heather says:

    I am really enjoying these more personal posts. I don’t bite my nails but I have other weaknesses that I always feel are so apparent. It’s nice to know that we all struggle with things. Not that I’m glad you and others have struggles but it helps me feel like I’m not alone and we are all in this life together. And for the record, I don’t think biting your nails is that big of a deal.

  • Lisa says:

    Incredible TED talks about Authenticity and vulnerability…so good !

  • Oh my goodness, first of all, amen! Yes, all the flaws and the realities of your being an actual human being are so very welcome and needed by us, your readers. We need the reminder – no one is perfect, even online.
    As for your nails? When I saw the picture I thought, “Look at how cute both of those girls are. Good for Crystal getting out and having fun. Then I thought, her nails are short like mine – she probably keeps them that way because she is so efficient and doesn’t want them getting in the way of all her work.”
    Seriously, how crazy is the difference in perspective online?
    You are loved and appreciated just as you are, nails and all.

  • Becky says:

    I love your authenticity!! I recently started a blog and you are one of my inspirations! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  • Myrna says:

    Wow, you have so much support here! I was a nail biter and I was able to stop by painting my nails with a nasty-tasting liquid that I think was called Thumb. It was for thumb suckers. They may not make it any more. And yes, everyone has issues. It helps to know that no one is perfect! We all think we don’t measure up to everyone else. And you know what…I wonder if that commenter was going to say that her nails are short too! Anyway, thanks for sharing and stop beating yourself up!

  • Melissa says:

    I struggle with this too…..always feel so cruddy about it. Thank you for your honesty…….thank you.

  • Sarah K. says:

    I wish that collectively as women, we could choose to uplift one another instead of bringing one another down. I am currently battling some major body issues and I know that many women struggle with the same thing I do. For me, I pretty critical of myself, I don’t need anyones help. Often it comes back to the age old adage: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  • Kari says:

    Crystal, I have been a faithful reader for many years but never one to comment. I have to echo the sentiments of many readers though to say that I LOVE your more personal posts, and this one especially. You are an inspiration to many! You go girl 🙂

  • Maryalene says:

    I feel for you. As a writer, I learned early on to never, ever read the comments on my articles because words wound. Some people are mean on purpose while other comments may be intended as harmless but end up easily misread. I find ignorance is bliss. Unfortunately, a personal blog like this relies heavily on interaction with readers so you can’t avoid it. I can only imagine the butterflies in your stomach every time you scroll to the comments. At least that’s how I’d feel!

    Not sure if there was a point to that, but I felt like sharing! Oh, and I pick at my cuticles too while we’re all confessing.

  • Marie says:

    Crystal God has gifted you to speak into the lives of so many people that you wouldn’t necessarily ever meet!! Nail biting doesn’t define you or your worth. Actually this post has helped me to realize that I need to not get on my daughter so much for her nail biting habit that just started this past year. I need to look at more what’s going on and how she’s feeling. Maybe it had something to do with her and her twin brother being seperated in school this past year.
    And I don’t know why but I kept thinking of the book, Unglued while reading this post. I can’t remember if you’ve read it already or it’s on a list to read but it’s so good!!
    You continue to blow me away with your authenticity!!!

  • Robyn says:

    Bless you for posting this! I am right there with you with the anxiety and nail biting…along with a few other “flaws.”

    It’s so easy to look at people we admire and think they have no real problems or hangups. I’m guilty of thinking that you have it all together! Even your “bad” days sound productive to me, and your “before” photos of your mess look better than my “after” photos!

    But we all have stuff.

    Thanks for sharing some of yours. You made me feel less alone tonight.

  • MK says:

    I hope this doesn’t sound rude, but I’m actually glad to hear about your anxiety! No, wait that does sound rude and all wrong. What I mean to say is that wert moving far away at the end of this month and for some reason I was holding your move up on a pedestal. How did they find friends so quickly? What if things don’t go that smoothly for us?

    Okay. I think I’ve found a better way to say it: I’m glad for your honesty, for the success of your move and hopeful that all the bumps that come with it smooth out in time.

  • Heather says:

    Another long-time nail biter here. I think I started when I quit sucking my thumb; perhaps it was a sort of replacement. I’m really not a very anxious person, and lately I’ve wondered if that’s why. As in, perhaps if I didn’t bite my nails, maybe I would be more anxious or more grumpy or who knows what? Not that I am advocating nail- biting for several reasons, but now I’m telling myself that maybe there’s a silver lining to it!

  • Courtney says:

    I’m a nail biter and it honestly doesn’t bother me a bit…it’s just a coping mechanism and a harmless one at that. I’ve known some very kind and interesting people who are nail biters. I can’t imagine thinking less of someone because she bites her nails, or commenting on it…that’s odd, in my opinion!

  • Emily says:

    Since the 4th grade I’ve struggled with trichotillomania. It’s a hair-pulling disorder. I tried to not tell anyone. I even told my husband I loved him (way back in dating years) that I loved him before I told him. He was so hurt I hadn’t trusted him enough to share it with him. I still get self-conscientious when people compliment anything near my eyes. I’ve tried to learn to live with it instead of against it. I’ll probably always have it, but I won’t let it have me anymore.

    • Rachel says:

      Emily! Me too! I was 9 when I started pulling my eyelashes out. There are months where I have bald spots in my lashes. So attractive! 😉 Some days are better than others. Some years are better than others! But like you said – I’ll probably always have it, but I won’t let it have me anymore. Nothing to be ashamed of. And my boyfriend (and your husband) love us nonetheless. 🙂

      Crystal – thank you so much for this post. I too am loving your authenticity these days. You are bringing people together and uplifting them, even if we all don’t save money! 🙂 🙂

  • I received a comment on a post last week where I made a small grammatical error. The comment started by telling me about the error and how awful it was to have made and then how illiterate and stupid I must and then finished by saying that everyone in my entire state is backwoods and illiterate so they weren’t surprised.

    I had to read the comment about 3 times before I just started laughing. The first time I read it through it bothered me, the 3rd time I read it through I just found it hilarious, the final time I read it before permanently deleting it from my trash folder I felt sorry for the person that wrote it. To tell someone the rude things they did, someone they don’t even know, they must have quite a sad life or be going through a hard time to lash out like that.

    It’s so hard to be yourself without feeling judged all the time but when I get comments like that I just wonder….are they really just lashing out at something that I’m doing or are they feeling convicted with something they are seeing or reading? Makes you wonder…

  • megan says:

    I like your website a lot, even though I do not identify myself at all with a christian perspective. I have followed the website for several years. And anyway, I think you come across as sweet and thoughtful, and I appreciate it. Who cares about your nails, anyways?

  • Beth says:

    I still have many habits that I would love to change. However, I was able to conquer the nail-biting habit in my teens. I decided that I would make one nail off limits and be allowed to bite the others until the first one grew to a length that I had to cut it. Then I chose a second nail, etc. I chose the thumbs first because they were the hardest to bite. I was successful in stopping perhaps because I just gradually cut down on the amount of time I spent on it. I do still tend to pick at the edges of my fingers perhaps as a replacement. Thinking of a replacement activity would probably be a good idea!

  • Terri says:

    It’s a beautiful picture! Imperfections keep us real 🙂 Your nails are perfectly fine! They are the nails of a busy lady (mom, wife) doing her best! My nails looked a lot better before I was a mom but my heart was not near as happy;) congrats on your big move and as wonderful as it is I’m sure it’s been stressful too! XO

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for posting this and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. It’s absolutely the hardest thing. I have such empathy for you. I also struggle with my self-worth, due to my extreme anxiety and OCD.

    I actually admire you so much for your blog and willingness to put your self out there. Thank you for being vulnerable so we can be in partnership.

    Also, I bite my nails. I cover them all the time. Kind of like Jackie O!

  • Rachel says:

    This post was so encouraging, thank you!

  • Lor Alessi says:

    Thank you for your transparency. I love your heart and sharing your struggles. It makes me want to be more authentic in my relationships also. FYI…I don’t bite my nails but I pick my cuticles. It’s a bad habit I hope to overcome some day. 😉

  • Thank you for being so REAL! We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves instantly, but if we let him, God can use our struggles to help us identify and empathize with others in their struggles.

    I’m a trying-really-hard-to-break-the-habit nail biter as well and it has often made me think about how difficult it must be to break through much more powerful addictions like drugs and alcohol. My struggle with this “silly” habit has definitely helped change my perspective.

  • Ashlea says:

    Crystal, We all see how awesome you are and how much you have it together in so many ways more than we do. Sometimes that can be hard to live up to and I wonder why my life isn’t “together.” What a relief to know you have an issue! 😉 I’m sure most of us are hiding something that if someone pointed it out in public, we’d be humiliated. For instance, what if someone were to post a pic of me reaching into the top cabinet late at night for my stash of chocolate or perhaps me eating said chocolate in bed at night until my hubby comes home and I hide it under my magazine (because I don’t want to share and I don’t want him to know I hide chocolate). Well, ‘nuf said. You are delightful to Him all the way down to the tips of your nail-bitten fingers.

  • Debie says:

    Self Compassion. That’s what springs to mind when I read you blog. I believe you have a lot of compassion for others. But if I could anything on you – it is more compassion for yourself. Not only are people too hard on us – We are too hard on ourselves.

  • Brittany says:

    I love reading your blog and how down to earth you are! If you get serious about kicking that habit wear Jamberry nail wraps!! 🙂

  • Vieve says:

    Eh, who cares if you bite your nails when you’re nervous or anxious?! Heavens people are picky. What do they do when they’re nervous? We all do something. I bite the inside of my cheek and look pretty silly doing it. Read up on low magnesium for anxiety. You’ve mentioned several things in the past and I’ve always wanted tell you about magnesium. Pretty much everyone is low and it triggers a lot of common issues. Google low magnesium. The best way to increase it is dietary (everyone will try to sell you a supplement) and/or transdermal (spray on skin). Raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds are high in Mg as are raw almonds. (beware a lot of pumpkin seeds come from China. Bob’s Red Mill are not.) Keep up your good work and pretty manicure!!

    • Lizzie says:

      I was thinking the same thing…who cares if you bite your nails 😉 it doesn’t make you less of a person in anyway.
      It’s not like you posted a photo of you picking your nose ;).

      • Jessica says:

        That was my thought too. No big deal. That doesn’t even register on my radar. Now if you bit your toenails… LOL.

    • Sarah says:

      Vieve, I completely agree with you on the magnesium. I’d like to share links here, but I’m thinking that isn’t permitted. Just know that magnesium oxide is NOT a good form to take, absorption-wise but that there are highly absorbable forms you can drink and magnesium that comes in cream/gel/oil form that you can rub on your skin.

  • Katy C says:

    Thank you for your transparency, for being real. I’ve struggled with the same habit for years, and you talking about it, and nailing the feelings I’ve had for years squarely on the head – well, it was a sweet encouragement to me. So thank you for that!

  • Natasha says:

    Wow, I just started following you and already loved ya before this post, but now I really love ya! Thanks for being so real and know you’re not alone! And….rock out those nubby nails girl and be thankful if that’s your worst habit! Look forward to following u!

  • Autumn says:

    Fyi, What a beautiful picture is all I noticed to be completely honest. Thank you for sharing bcuz I too have struggled with the same anxiety nail issue. Too embarrassed to think of painting them @ any Salon but now I might. Your so sweet Crystal and loved by many. 🙂

  • Glenda Green says:

    God puts certain people in our lives for a reason. I’m so happy for you that Tam is in your life now. It’s a blessing to know, that we can have someone there for us, that is a sister in the Lord!

  • Amary says:

    My children bite their nails. I sometimes wonder if I am causing it? Is it learned–my husband bites his nails. Or inherited? Do I make it worse by asking them to stop? I would so like to help them and not sure how. Thanks so much for your honesty. If it is anxiety related, perhaps I am making it more difficult by trying to help them.

    May God bless you always! You and your family are beautiful and inspirational.

    • Doreen says:

      I have often wondered the same thing. Is it learned or is it inherited?? I finally concluded that it can be inherited because neither my husband or I do it, and yet our adopted daughter does. She has inherited many things from her wonderful birth parents, even tastes in food and other likes and dislikes. I love talking to her birthmom about something she does and birthmom says, yeah! I do that too, or yeah! I like that too.

      I have learned that the best way to help her through (she’s down to just chewing on one or two fingernails now) is to keep her nails trimmed short, and to reward her with lots of encouragement and occasional treats when I see she hasn’t been doing it as much. That seems to work much better than getting after her about it. I sometimes very gently remind her about it if I see her doing it, because so often she does it without even thinking, but I am careful to be very casual about it because it is a stress thing, and scolding them makes more stress.

      • Amary says:

        Thanks for the tips! Will try the encouragement route for a while. Certainly what I have been doing isn’t working.

  • caitlyn says:

    Crystal, thank you for this post! I admire your honesty and commitment to being authentic. I’ve been following your blog for about 9 months now, and the recent shift to sharing more of “you” and your struggles has been very encouraging to me.
    I’m glad that you had a fun time with Tam getting manicures. 🙂

  • Christine says:

    Being real is sooo freeing. I enjoy your blog and have read it daily for a few years now and will continue to do so. But if I were to be honest, the thing that has begun to bother me about your blog is that you *never* post anything “bad.” Like your life is perfect. I think you will disappoint far fewer people by being real that you will by pretending to be perfect. People have a hard time relating to others that hold themselves out as the ideal. Forgive yourself for not being perfect and move forward. It’s the only path to happiness.

  • Pamela says:

    I am lovin’ the new, authentic you!!!

  • Kat says:

    This is exactly why I think people are so mean to fat, overweight or obese people. Many people can hide their nail biting, gossiping or prescription drug problem, but food and weight issues can’t be hidden! And I applaud you for posting this and drawing attention to the comment. I just had a baby and Im overweight. I lost all the baby weight from 2 months of nursing (but still am 80 lbs overweight) and have heard numerous comments about how “great I look after the weight loss” but was NEVER complimented by my Christian lady friends about how wonderful I looked pregnant and +23 lbs at 49 weeks pregnant when I felt huge. Sad state of affairs when people make pointed comments that reflect societies preferences of what’s beautiful. I think a 40 week overweight pregnant lady is beautiful and looks great and is probably suffering greatly from the extra pounds, and I think a woman with short bitten off nails is as beautiful as another with long perfectly long nails! My point is don’t let pointed questions or pointed “compliments” hurt you as God loves your beautiful heart and soul–not your nails (or pant size in my case). You are not flawed-but for in Vogue or Glamour magazines eyes or lense! By the way, I love your blog, honesty, frugal and efficiency, and most of all heart of you and your hubby in donating your proceeds of the website to the poor!!!

  • cwaltz says:

    I have found that some of our greatest strengths are also our biggest weaknesses and vice versa. Think about it. Someone who is passionate is also opinionated. Someone who is determined is also is stubborn. A detail oriented person is also going to be anal retentive. We’re meant to be imperfect. Instead of being critical about yourself, embrace the flaws because I can almost guarantee that each flaw contains a “gift” if you look carefully enough.

  • Doreen says:

    Loved this post. It is good to see you being strong and courageous and REAL! I think we all have some kind of nervous habit! I remember as a child looking to see what others nervous habits were and comforting myself by it. I still remember one person that pushed on his glasses ever few minutes even though they were not sliding down. That comforted me in an odd sort of way. Now that I am an adult, authentic people like you comfort in a wonderful way.

  • Kadie says:

    I have to say I have been reading your blog for years and I have always felt that there is no way I could ever be as happy, organized, etc. as you. It always made me feel inadequate to read your posts and all you do for your children, your husband, the blog, etc. I have only been a stay at home mom since we decided to homeschool our children a year ago. Until then, I had a wonderful job for the government and my kids were in day care. I thought, oh I can do this it will be easy. Being home with my kids has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Don’t get me wrong I find it very rewarding but I am the one teaching them right from wrong and they look to me for EVERYTHING.
    This post has helped me to see that you are the same as all of us. You get stressed, too. I bite my nails too and I know it is a horrible habit. I do it when I am stressed about what is going on in my life. I have to say I don’t do it as much as I did when I worked, but when I feel like my son is not where he should be on a subject or a family member criticizes how far my child is in comparison to where he should be for his age, I stress. So thank you for this post.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi Crystal,
    Thank you for being so real for all of us. I just wanted you to know I have the same problem. I still bite my nails for the same reason as you. I have never felt ashamed of it. We all have bad habits. I like to focus more on why I am biting them in the first place and fixing that.
    Keep strong Crystal. You are awesome!

  • Christi says:

    Amen, and amen! Trying to please others is exhausting, and not at all what the Father wants for us. We all have shortcomings….we are IN THE PROCESS of sanctification, where our weaknesses are diminished by the power of Jesus in our lives. Be blessed for your vulnerability and sharing the good and the not so good!

  • Kristen says:

    I bite my nails, too! I’m like you, the habit flares up when I’m stressed or anxious. I try to celebrate when I don’t bite them (look at how long my nails are!!!) and just give myself grace when it happens. Keeping my nails painted helps me not bite them as much, but with 3 young kids that’s not always feasible 🙂 thanks for being honest with us!

  • Dottie Fisher says:

    Some people need to be nice or not say anything at all..Besides, why do they care? We really do need to be nice as a community and support each other. I enjoyed the picture and never noticed your nails.. It really was a beautiful picture and it would be a shame if you felt different about it now..

  • Amy Looney says:

    Thank you so much for posting this and being real! I feel the same way sometimes. I pick at my cuticles until they bleed. I thought regular manicures would help but I still do it from stress and boredom! Don’t be ashamed! We all have our little quirks…for some people it’s their nails and for some people it’s picking at scabs until they bleed. We’re all unique!

  • Crissy says:

    Not a short coming at all just part of who you are which is fearfully and wonderfully made! I want Tam for my neighbor :)!

  • Sarah D. says:

    While nail biting hasn’t been a problem for me, anxiety is all too real! Mine is exacerbated by adrenal fatigue, which is not a fun hole to crawl out of. I’ve wondered off and on if you have some level of adrenal fatigue as well, based on some of the things you’ve posted. It’s worth checking into.

  • Ashley M. says:

    I have been a nail biter my whole life. If I have an important event coming up, I start to feel self conscious of my stubs, which leads to more nail biting, which leads to them looking even worse. What a vicious cycle!
    I’ve tried stopping too many times to count. Each time I do, it leads to more anxiety and face breakouts… bad breakouts.

    What I learned about myself? I’d rather have chewed up nails and feel better than pretty nails and nasty pimples!

  • Ashley P says:

    I’ve bit my nails since I was 4 years old. I figure there are worse habits I could have.

    I’m a recovering perfectionist. I still feel the need to put up this facade of a perfect life. Lately, especially, I’ve been struggling. Two of my best friends are pregnant again (we were all pregnant together last time) and I’m feeling overwhelmed because both hubby and I are working, I only get to spend 2 hours a day with my son, and I go to bed alone every night. I feel like a failure as a wife and mother. We can’t afford to go on one income. At least not until we pay off our medical debt. And that probably won’t be until sometime next year. Even when we are out of debt, and even if by some miracle I can afford to stay at home, I don’t think we’ll be able to afford another child. I’ve always wanted 3 or 4. The thought of only being able to afford one just kills me. It’s frustrating to look around and see everyone with their life all put together. Both of my friends are stay at home mommies with nice homes. I’m out of the house 10 hours a day to afford our tiny fixer-upper. I guess when I set up my 5 year plan, this wasn’t what I had in mind. Pray for me. I’m feeling small, weary, and insignificant. I know God has a plan. I just wish He’d tell me what it was.

    • Susan says:

      Hi Ashley,

      I just read your comment and my heart went out to you. Just lifted up a prayer for you that God will give you an extra dose of his grace and love to you today. I related to what you shared about feeling like a failure as a mom and wife too. But reminded that God covers us with His grace and in even in our inperfections and struggles, He is walking beside us and loving us no matter what. Praying that God will reveal His awesome plan for you in ways that will show his love for you. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      Ashley, I just read this and prayed for you. Keep the faith. You can do this! There are women on this blog who will support you and pray for you.

  • Mallory says:

    I’m sorry that that person made something so positive become so negative. And how rude of them to point that out!! Sometimes our natural tenancies is only to see the negative in others and ourselves. Thank you for reminding me to NOT do that! It can be so hurtful.

  • Nichole says:

    I am also a nail biter, and have been my whole life it seems. My brother and sister also are. I have always loved long fingernails, but have never in my life had them. BUT, I feel like this a tiny part of my life that isn’t exactly perfect, but defiantly manageable. There are so many other issues in this life that are unbearable, and if nail biting is my bad habit I’m okay with it! Self soothing in a stressful world. Honestly until I read this post I didn’t know this was so offensive and something to be ashamed of. It isn’t. I really enjoy your blog, your nails are for certain the very last thing I’m looking at when you post a picture. You are REAL and that is what counts, I’m finding in this life there are so many fake people who hide behind their screens and bring out negative comments rather than uplifting others. How easy would it be to be kind rather than take the energy to be negative. You are great, nail biting and all<3

  • Amber says:

    …I talked to my husband…

    This was my take away sentence.

    When the pain seeps up, when the anxiety starts waking me up too early it is time for a long talk with my husband. I thank God every day for a husband my heart can trust in. I am glad that your husband is your sounding board. We grow so much together, when we share our burdens.

  • Thanks for being honest with us Crystal!! The beauty in this is that none of us are perfect, no not one!! Each one of us will ‘fail to measure up’ when we compare ourselves to others. God made each one of us unique with individual challenges that make us different. And that is a good thing! How boring the world would be if we all had the same individual challenges. You have shown many how they can overcome looking at our weaknesses, and focus on how much He loves us.

  • Michelle says:

    Fellow nail biter here! I’m guessing the comment was there because they also bite there’s.

    I remember when my oldest was 6-7 months old. I was biting my nails and she started imitating me. She is ten now and still a nail biter. Oh well, I’d rather have her imitate that then pick up cussing or smoking from me (things I don’t partake in by the grace of God).

  • Meg says:

    I, too, have struggled with nail biting my entire life. I’m 29 and still have a hard time managing this. I normally go through a 3 month period where my nails grow out and then anxiety suddenly pops up…and the nails are gone.

    Shame is the same thing I feel when someone asks about it. It feels like they are pointing out the imperfections in me. Yes, my nails are short and I don’t need anyone pointing it out.

    You are not alone in feeling like this. 🙁

  • Antonella says:

    I too am a nail biter at 40. And honestly I don’t give it second thoughts! It’s not like I’m actually hurting myself, I don’t eat them so short they bleed or anything. I joke that I just clip them this way 🙂
    When I feel fancy I put on nail polish and when I have it on I don’t do it. No problem either way.
    btw I find long nails gross in a way because they can harbour dirt etc. I guess everybody has their pet peeves 🙂 You’re a human being, don’t be ashamed of this. Actually, who cares?! hugs

  • My first thought was that the commenter pointed it out, not to be rude, but because they bite their nails too and could commiserate. Another reason why transparency and authenticity are so valuable in blogging!

    • Chloe M says:

      Completely agree! I was thinking perhaps this person was asking because he/she has the same habit and if Crystal does it as well maybe it isn’t such a big deal (I’m not a nail biter but don’t think it’s a big deal at all) It’s interesting how our own insecurities affect how we react to things. I know this rings true in my own life as well.

  • Zilly says:

    Another nail biter and cuticle destroyer here! I didn’t notice your short nails in the pic! One book that helped me was The Power of Habit, basically it suggested you need a replacement for a habit you want to break. I have used a pen where I click the cap on and off. It works… for a while, and then I tend to backslide when I’m stressed or bored. I figure it’s not the worst vice but would still like to kick it. We are all works in progress and it’s certainly nice to see we’re not alone.

  • Joyce says:

    Crystal, thank you for sharing who you are and being real. For me, you are my ideal…You are growing and becoming even more awesome in what God has created you to be. I hope you don’t take this wrong but it’s nice to see little subtle flaws and issues you deal with. I know we’ve all got them but seeing them, and then how you deal with them is inspirational. Just my thoughts. Thanks for keeping it real and sharing your life with us.

    • Anne says:

      I almost said the same thing about Crystals little “flaws.” It makes her even more human. We ALL have the. For some people is nail biting and for others it is smoking, spending or drinking. How she addresses the flaws is what brings so many of us back to her blog daily 🙂

  • Anne says:

    We would be good friends if we met in person because we areso alike. I bite my fingernails, too! I have quit a number of times, but also revert back to it in times of stress and anxiety. I also feel like when someone points to something I feel is a flaw or a mistake that I am being labeled as a loser. My husband and I had a talk last night over shame and he pointed out I have very high standards for myself. You do, too, Crystal.

    Getting a manicure on short nails is great incentive to work on the habit you want to change. Maybe you could try to remind yourself that you made a great choice to help you conquer your habit again?

    Thanks again for preaching the Good News. Our perfectionism and the resulting shame keeps us from a loving relationship with God.

  • Crystal, thank you for sharing your story. I have a horrible nail biting habit. I hate it. It gets worse when I am feeling stressed. The only time I have ever gone an extended period of time without biting my nails is when I was pregnant. I don’t like to let my kids see me bite my nails because I don’t want them to develop the same habit. I wish I knew how to stop (other than being pregnant). Nail polish and bad tasting stuff doesn’t help when I am stressed.

    • Judy says:

      Unbelievable! Every time I was pregnant I stopped biting my nails too. I didn’t even think about it. Recently, I stopped biting my nails again. Not pregnant, I am 54. I started taking Biotin for nails, skin and hair. After 3 months I realized my nails were growing.

  • monica says:

    I used to bite my nails growing up. I once chewed my pinky nail completely off one time!
    Maybe the person that asked that, might bite her nails too, and felt a little better knowing she wasn’t alone?

  • Tiff says:

    Hi, I love your blog! This was a great post, it was inspiring.

    PS-I bite my nails too, since I was little, especially when I am stressed

  • Melissa S says:

    Oh Crystal! I looked over the picture and still don’t see how they figured that out. Maybe it’s just me? I mean, I have 5 kids and continue to homeschool thru the summer, have 4H, competitive dance and football practices. Maybe I just don’t have time to focus on something so silly;)? My issue with society, especially social media, is that if people would put as much energy into their own lives as they do others, people wouldn’t be hurt by their comments because there wouldn’t be any time to make the negative remarks. Continue to go where the Lord leads and focus on His priorities:D

  • Paula says:

    I just want to say that whomever it was that asked you if you bite your nails, there is a good chance that perhaps they were not looking to shame you and hurt you in anyways , in fact I’d think that there is a good chance they share the habit and are looking for someone to help them feel okay about themselves and when they saw your photo of you showing off your nails unashamed they were feeling hopeful that they aren’t the only one struggling, just my two cents.

    • Yes, that was my thought, too — after I was thinking a little more coherently and not just feeling ashamed. 🙂 (See my note at the bottom of the post in case you missed it.)

  • Judy says:

    I have been a nail biter for practically my whole life. There were very few times when I had any nails at all. Recently, I have had success in letting my nails grow. I have been taking Biotin for nails, skin and hair. I am on my 4th month of taking Biotin and I am seeing success. I love that you shared about your struggle because I understand it and it makes you so real to me! You are beautiful!

  • Amber says:

    I love your blog and you have saved me a lot of money and taught me a ton. I wouldn’t have noticed the nails if they weren’t pointed out and every one has anxiety. Moving to a different state (or even across town) is stressful, especially with kids! Keep doing what you are doing and don’t be ashamed of how God made you.

  • Amylee says:

    Solidarity on the anxiety thing, sister. I feel silly about it a lot too, when I bite my nails down to the cuticle, have a panic attack but can’t communicate that to anyone until it’s over or just start crying spontaneously. It’s such a valid condition and it’s always encouraging to hear that you’re not the only one. Kudos on the honesty. <3

  • Allison M. says:

    I am a former nail biter myself, But when I saw that photo, I had two thoughts–one was “she looks HAPPY!” And second was, “man, those nails look cute in that color!” It is all a matter of perspective!

    • DD says:

      “God knows your value; He sees your potential. You may not understand everything you are going through right now. But hold your head up high, knowing that God is in control and he has a great plan and purpose for your life. Your dreams may not have turned out exactly as you’d hoped, but the bible says that God’s ways are better and higher than our ways, even when everybody else rejects you, remember, God stands before you with His arms open wide. He always accepts you. He always confirms your value. God sees your two good moves! You are His prized possession. No matter what you go through in life, no matter how many disappointments you suffer, your value in God’s eyes always remains the same. You will always be the apple of His eye. He will never give up on you, so don’t give up on yourself.” JO

    • Andrea says:

      I had the exact same thoughts as Allison M. when I saw that photo!! It doesn’t matter to me if you have a few bad habits–no one is perfect. But I know I would be much worse off without all of your valuable help and advice. Keep up the good work, Crystal, and continue to be your authentic self.

  • Leanne Heern says:

    I have read your blog since “biblical womanhood”…and I can honestly say I enjoy it more now than ever before because of your new openness and authenticity! its refreshing 🙂
    You inspire me daily to be a better Christian, wife, and mom….and save a little money while I’m at it!! and…. hey…. even if you bite your nails, it helps to save money on replacing nail clippers :-)…. there’s always a positive side!!
    Loved this post!!

  • What a fabulous post Crystal! Thank you for your honesty and authenticity (two reasons why I love your blog).

    We all have “silly fears and dumb habits” that we wish we could get rid of! I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t have it all together! :O)

  • Karey says:

    As a nail-biter I completely understand the shame, so thanks for posting that! Btw, someone has to be scrutinizing your pic to even notice! I thought your nails looked cute!!!

  • staci says:

    I bet it’s hard living a public life—Everyone has an opinion or comment! Sharing your journey is good for us non public life people too. Thank you!

    • Kathy D says:

      I agree. I bet it’s hard to even open up the comments on some posts. Like everything else though, I’m sure you’ll find the gift in it 🙂 We love you, Crystal. Thanks for keeping it real!

  • Nichole says:

    LOVE this! My sister always bites her nails and it used to drive me crazy when we were kids, but you look past it. Now that I am married and have a husband that suffers from anxiety (and a son!) he twists his hair when hes nervous or anxious and that drives me crazy, but I just walk away or tell him its time for a haircut. LOL. 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    I didn’t have time to read all the other comments so forgive me if this has already been said. I have several thoughts. First of all, if nail biting is among the worst of your habits, I don’t think you have anything to be ashamed of. There are much, much worse habits you could have (and ones that are not only destructive to your nails but also your health or other people around you so be glad you don’t have to fight against any of those habits). Secondly, when I read that comment, I thought maybe you were going to say that the commenter followed it up with something like, “Me too–and I found this great product that helps me to not do it.” But when I realized that you weren’t doing a product review, my next thought was that the person who commented probably noticed it because it’s something she (he?) struggles with as well. We often notice things in others that we struggle with ourselves. She (I’m just going to assume it was a she for the rest of my comment here) possibly felt a wave of relief knowing that someone “like you” (who many, many of us look up to–and not because you have beautiful nails or not) struggles with something that she also struggles with. Being real and authentic feels vulnerable to us, but it can be the encouragement that someone else needs–often times when we aren’t even aware! I realize this is an older post, but I hope you have a chance to read this. Thanks for sharing!

  • Allie L says:

    Thank you for your authenticity and openness. But, maybe your anxiety and associated habits aren’t weaknesses, struggles or short comings. Even though it is never fun to be anxious, unless it is really negatively impacting your life, embrace it as a strength! It probably makes you more sensitive to others, more aware of your surroundings, and more aware of how your actions impact others which ultimately leads to greater empathy and engagement. I imagine that this “weakness” is really one of the main reasons you are able to connect with so many people through this blog community!

  • Crystal says:

    I remember seeing that picture on Instagram and loving your shorter nails. I used to work as a court reporter before I left work to be a homemaker and writer. And I cannot grow out my nails. It’s not that they won’t grow. I’m just uncomfortable with them once they get past a certain length.
    But sometimes my shorter nails make me feel less feminine. I mean, you should see my mom’s long (almost too – at least for me) always polished nails.
    Anyways, thanks for affirming my shorter, athletic nails : )

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for your post because I know exactly how you feel. I too struggle with anxiety at times. I am also a nail biter. If I can keep polish on them I’m less likely to bite them and they grow. But I can always tell when I’m under stress because I don’t take the time to polish them and I go back to biting them again. In fact there is a lot going on in my life right now so my nails aren’t looking so great! I think your picture was awesome! You look so happy and the only thing I noticed about your nails was that I loved the color. I think I’m going to go and paint my nails blue right now! 🙂

  • Christy Kerr says:

    THANK YOU for being real! My favorite posts are the ones about your life. I actually may not even subscribe anymore if you stopped them…I like the deals but it’s the personal touch that keeps me coming back. You are so right that we all have things we would like to overcome. Don’t be ashamed of the person you are, you are the ONLY one who is you. Be proud of who you are and find strength in the fact that not one of us is perfect so embrace your imperfections.

  • Dori says:

    I usually just read, enjoy and move on, but especially in light of your recent posts, I just want to say thank you for your courage and realness. I really enjoy your blog and am so happy for you in all God is doing for you and your family now.

  • Donna says:

    When I see that photo I see joy and happiness. I am a little fascinated that your nails is what your reader saw and chose to concentrate on.Whether you bite your nails or not, it is a non issue (this is coming from a non nail biter). I mean who cares? And why look at someone’s nails when you can look at their smiles.

  • Jennifer says:

    We all have bad habits. A mature person is not going to draw attention to someone else’s. I mean really, who cares if you bite your nails? That commenter missed the entire point of your post.

  • Cathy R. says:

    Crystal, that was in my mind a beautiful post. We all have short-comings, and there could be worse bad habits. Way to go in your response and love that you pointed out that there are no hard feelings towards the person who made the comment. Boy, I know that I have really felt bad sometimes, like the time I had dog hair stuck to my boot, and someone made the comment “Do you have a dog?” When I answered in the affirmative, she pointed out the dog hair on my boot. Wow, I felt so bad for not even noticing that! Anyway, no worries, we still love you! (((hugs))) <3

  • Margaret Lauinger says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I love your blog!! You are such an inspiration.
    You are human, and I so appreciate how you are so honest with your readers. We all have bad habits. I used to bite my nails too!
    Thanks for being you and the authenticity!!
    Keep up the good work and good luck with kicking that habit!!

  • Angela says:

    I’m a former nail biter and can COMPLETELY relate to the shame; however, I did not think anything when I first saw that photo except that you picked a wild shade and were braver than me to wear it on your finger nails (to this day, I rarely wear nail polish because I hate their shape even though I no longer bite them). I’ve heard wearing polish helps people kick the habit, so go on rocking those cool colors!

  • Jenny says:

    I am enjoying the evolution of your blog- and you- over several years. I admire your authenticity and your courage to be authentic. I bite the skin around my nails when I am anxious. How gross is THAT?!! Truly, God has called you to your authenticity and we all benefit from that. Especially us biters 🙂

  • TAmmy Mundy says:

    Thank you for posting. When I read something like this that I can relate to, it makes the world feel a little smaller, like there really are those out there who understand.

  • Michele says:

    I APPRECIATE, so very much, your honestly, authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability!
    I am BLESSED by the transformation in your blog and the postings that reflect your TRUE self. I am a believer that, as women, we need to be surrounded by other women with whom we can be REAL.
    I find myself reading your blog and wishing I lived in your community so you could be my FRIEND!


  • Heidi says:

    Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your inspiring posts and are an encouragement to me in my daily walk w/ the Lord and in life in general. Thank you.

  • Tina says:

    I bit my nails my entire childhood. The one thing that keeps me from doing it is keeping them looking good. I get them done and am less likely to want to bite them now.
    I’m glad you were able to put a positive spin on it but it was kind of a jerk thing for the person to say.. A little unnecessary.

  • Lois says:

    I bit my nails to the nub from as far back as I can remember and no matter how I tried, I just couldn’t break the habit. Just before I was 40, my family and I moved from Texas to Florida and ended up near where I grew up. I didn’t even realize I’d quit until my fingers kept sliding on the keyboard when I was at work! I’d even forget about them until they were too long and have to file them down! Wow! Now, 25 years later, I still nibble from time to time and have the worst looking cuticles, but I do still have nails.

    One thing I’ve noticed the past 10 years is that when I’m doing a lot of reading, that’s when I nibble the worst. I don’t do it when I’m on the computer going through email or facebook. Just reading.

    Point is – Just don’t worry and stress over it. A time will come when you have other things taking the place of nail biting and heaven knows there are plenty of more important things to occupy our minds!

  • Mama2Eight says:

    I was a thumbsucker until I was six. Then I went to nail-biting. Sometime in my teenage years, when I was using fingernail polish, I stopped biting my nails and went to chewing the inside of my mouth. I have a friend that does the same and her doctor told her to watch out for precancers. Well, when I had my wisdom tooth pulled in my forties, I stopped chewing the inside of my cheeks. Now I grind my teeth. Hmmm…. Which of these habits have the worst consequences and which one has the least?

    I think you are doing fine. Sure, it’s a habit. But there are lot worse ones out there! If I could choose a nervous habit, I’m not sure which one I would choose. I think we all have them! They are all just different! How about hoarding? Obsessive _________ (you pick: cleaning, brushing, research, gaming, gambling, eating, exercising, weight loss, sleeping…) I don’t think you could find someone without a nervous, or bad habit. They just look different.

    God is not finished with us yet! When He is, we won’t be her anymore.

    You can make rules about your habit! Limit when or where you do it. That could help you overcome it. But usually, you need to find something to replace the habit you want to quit. It’s all throughout the Bible! I call them the put offs and put ons. One good example is in

    Ephesians 4:31-32

    “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

    If this is a nervous habit, what would you want to replace your nervousness with? What is the opposite of nervousness? ….. Peace! Ask God for peace! Memorize the Scriptures about peace. I think you might find as you quote those Scriptures when you think you ought to just even off the rough edges of your fingernails, you might decide to get out a nail file instead and let peace reign in your mortal body.

    Just some thoughts… I hope this helps you and others who struggle with habits…. Now to take my own medicine…

  • Carolyn says:

    To be honest the person that noticed has probably struggled with the same habit.

  • Jennifer says:

    I liked you even better when I found out that you weren’t perfect!!

  • Jessica says:

    I’m a nail-biter too, have been since I was a kid. I have tried lots of things to stop biting them but when I get nervous or anxious it is just auto-pilot.

    Well now my 4 year old daughter has picked up this nasty habit…I realized I have to figure out a way to make it stop, not just for my sake but for hers.

    I’ve tried the stuff that makes your nails taste yucky…but it doesn’t usually work. Does anyone have tips? I’ve looked all over and found different methods but none have really worked. I can go a week without biting mine but as soon as I am feeling stressed out I start biting them.

  • Rose says:

    Thanks Crystal, for sharing this post! I don’t live as public a life as you do, but I think it would be very tempting to put on a good face in your blog to make people think you have it all together. But I’m thankful that you are being real and honest! Recently, my husband told me that something I said embarrassed him. And immediately my self- image went spiraling downward. I wanted people to think that I don’t do or say crazy things. But I knew I should not have let his comment bother me so much. After all, I’ve told him the same thing not too long ago and he took it well! I had to think of something I heard recently…If you have a very low self-esteem, what you actually have is self-love. I know that sounds like a contradiction. But the Bible say “No man ever yet hated his own flesh” Eph. 5:29 When we take the focus off ourselves, and accept the fact that we all make mistakes, we can actually have a healthy self-image! You encourage me by not being afraid to admit this struggle! Thanks for your honesty- you never know how much you encourage others!

  • Lindsay says:

    I love that your are being authentic! Thanks for keepin’ it real!! 🙂

    If it helps, my mom bit her nails for 50 years and started using Jamberry nail wraps a few months ago and it did the trick! She was so excited she became a consultant and I got some for my 10yo daughter – it helped her quit biting her nails, too! Just an idea… 🙂

  • Rachael says:

    I have struggled w/ pulling out my hair during periods of anxiety & stress in my life since high school & have always been so ashamed. I thankfully have made a lot of progress in this area & it’s been a long time since it was really bad, but i always feel awkward about it b/c I often do it w/o even thinking about it. Thank you for being authentic, that is encouraging for me.

  • Ashley says:

    I am a nail biter too!
    I saw that picture of you and your friend and I never even noticed. You both looked so happy! It’s reassuring to know we all have imperfections- life is hard sometimes. If the worst we do on a given day is bite our nails I think that’s pretty good!

  • Stephanie says:

    I love your authenticity. Thanks for inspiring me to be open in my own relationships! I have always enjoyed your blog, but this post made me love you even more. Keep on! 🙂

  • Leanne says:

    Good for you Crystal for figuring it out! We are all people trying to make our way in this world. When you said “I started realizing what it was: I don’t like people drawing attention to my weaknesses and struggles. It makes me feel less-than and not enough.” I’m the same way. I recently had an issue that really bothered me and consumed a lot of emotional energy. I read your post and thought that’s it! So thank you for sharing. On another note, have you looked at essential oils for anxiety? I have read that there are some helpful EOs. Best of luck to you!

  • Cari says:

    I too am working on being more authentic and it is hard. It is hard to not beat ourselves up or take a comment that is not meant in a negative tone, as just a comment…

    I struggle with this daily.

  • Vanessa Covington says:

    I saw at least one other person who already suggested this, but I thought I would mention it also. I have found Jamberry nail wraps really help me keep my fingers away from my mouth. I’m always amazed at how much my nails grow in just a short time when I have them on.

  • Koren says:

    Hallelujah to being human and — gasp — showing that side of yourself online! I think our world would be a much more supportive place if we were all a little more honest about the daily struggles and difficulties we all face. Love your authenticity, Crystal. It’s one of the (many) reasons I keep coming back to your beautiful blog. xx

  • Rebecca says:

    Thank you for your honesty and willingness to acknowledge that you are human. I loved reading your posts, using your advice, and reposting things to my own facebook page. Now I love it even more. I do believe that I was meant to read about your struggle to help put my own into perspective. I love how God works.

  • Sissy Sweet says:

    You always amaze me and inspire me to do better. Thanks for being you, flaws and all. <3.

    I have many flaws too, the worst talking when some one isn't finished speaking. We are all imperfect in one way or another, because we're all human.

  • Tracy says:

    Thank you so much for being authentic!!!!!! It helps others in ways you can’t imagine.

  • Tasha says:

    Thanks for being real, Crystal. I like the posts about your personal life almost more than the couponing stuff. You are an inspiration to many women, including me. It is good to know that God can use us even though we are not perfect. I struggle with anxiety as well, and sometimes it feels hard to keep it all the demands of being a wife, working mother, homemaker, etc. I like reading about your life because I feel like if you can do it, so can I. Thank you for giving me encouragement every day.

  • Camille says:

    I am so thankful for your authenticity. It is easy to feel like I am the only one who struggles with trivial things like biting my nails 😉 I have recently started wearing Jamberry nails and that has been a HUGE help to keep me from biting! Thanks for all your posts, they are so encouraging to me!!

  • JOYce says:

    Crystal, others ~ read this in an email today and thought it may be of interest:

    Have a lovely day, all! 🙂

  • Eliana says:

    I would thank you forever if you post a remedy for this horrible habit that we have in common!

  • Jana M says:

    I bit my nails all my life, until I was 26 – I saw a photo of me with my baby and noticed what it was doing to my teeth. I quit cold turkey then. But nowadays it drives me crazy when my nails get long – I have to trim them!

  • Steph says:

    I just watched a Brene Brown video yesterday where she talks about being “in the arena” (quote from Roosevelt) and not having time for critics who are NOT “in the arena”, aka participating in life.

    I would highly recommend the 20 minutes it takes to watch the video.

  • Lyn says:

    Some people just have no filters. I’ll bet this poster never imagined that his/her comment would hurt your feelings. My SIL (husband’s sister) and my late MIL (husband’s mother) were like this. No filters. They just said what they thought with no time taken to think “is it nice” “is it necessary”. I know how you feel, though. When I was younger (I’m 55 now) I was VERY self-concious and a remark like this one would have hurt me too. As you age, you care less about what other people think! 🙂

  • Amy H. says:

    I’ve come to learn that feeling bad about something is not the same as feeling guilt or shame. Guilt and shame for me are reserved for when I have done something wrong (ie – sin). When I’m feeling bad about something I have to step back and ask myself “Is this something that is MY standard or the Lord’s?”. It has helped me keep perspective and process my own feelings of inadequacy in a more healthy way.

  • Sheri Hepworth says:

    The answer to the question “Do you bite your nails?” is “Yes.” And then, go on. It’s not the end of the world; don’t let comments like that (minor things) get under your skin. I am older than you are and a chronic nail-biter. I let it wash off my back when the obvious is pointed out. It’s not like I hadn’t noticed I bite my nails!! I’m sorry a silly observation like that bugged you so much. I see two pretty ladies smiling in a sweet photo. Didn’t even notice the short nails, to be honest.

  • Wendy Gentry, Blacksburg, VA says:

    Thank you for your heartfelt authenticity!!! I have used the same word to describe my battle: Shame. I started biting my nails after my father died in an airplane crash when I was 6 years old. And have spent my life hiding my hands between my legs when sitting and rushing to complete purchases as I know the customer service representative can see my hands.

    I have tried everything! Did you know there was a hypnosis app for nail biting? Well, there is! And yes, I am ridiculous and even tried it! I have also out nasty tasting coating on my hands. Nothing worked, not my mother’s comments, or my doctors warnings. Nothing. I consciously lived in my private world of shame.

    Early this spring, a friend invited me to a Jamberry nail wrap party. I had never heard of them but decided to join to support her. I found a light color that I felt would work for me. The first day I tried them out I was amazed!! And as the weeks passed by I realized that they worked!! My nails had become brittle and thin which I attribute to years of abuse. The wraps protect them and never tear. And I don’t touch them because there is a protective coating. In just two months my nails are longer and stronger. The wraps haven’t damaged my nails at all because I remove them with coconut oil.

    I have become so emotional about it, that it has even brought my husband to tears. He can see the change not only in my physical appearance, but in how I carry myself. Those who haven’t had this battle are likely to not understand how painful it is to live like this. If anyone would have asked me, I would have thought it completely ridiculous to cry about nail wraps or cry when reflecting on the pain that I have associated with this habit.

    I signed up to be a consultant for the company because I believed so much in the ability of the product. I am my biggest and only customer. LOL true!!!

    I encourage anyone battling nail biting to please consider Jamberry. They are affordable and easy to apply. Some of the styles are busier than others but there are many styles to consider.

    Again, if anyone would have asked me if I would have the guts to post about my shame on a public platform I would have meekly said “um, no thank you.” But you are an inspiration!!

    Thank you for your bravery!

    All the best,
    Wendy Gentry
    Blacksburg, VA

    • Janice Loveland-Grandi says:

      I was also going to post something about Jamberry nail wraps. I am 82 years old and have bitten my nails as far back as I can remember. My aunt even told me when I was young that she would buy me a Shirley Temple dress if I would quit biting my nails….never did get that dress!!!!! My niece put the Jamberry nails on me last year and I completely stopped biting my nails. Each time I started to bite I was reminded of what I was about to do. My nice long nails have been a tremendous boost to my peace of mind and ego.

      Best wishes
      Janice Loveland-Grandi
      Las Vegas, NV

      • Wendy Gentry, Blacksburg, VA says:

        Janice, thank you for the lovely reply! I am so happy you found peace and that Jamberries worked for you too. Your personal story shows that there is always time for us to change and find happiness in all the nooks and crannies of our lives!! I was very scared to post my comment earlier today. And sat for quite a long time just starting at the button. Thank you for your response. I know it will inspire others as well.

        I am sorry you didn’t get the Shirley Temple dress and have no doubt your aunt would be so proud of you!


  • Sarah says:

    I decided to invest in your Makeover Your Mornings series. When I watched the very first video, I right away noticed your red nail polish and very short nails and immediately thought, “she bites her nails – just like I do, but she isn’t embarrassed by it like I am”. Embarrassed by my bad habit, I have never painted my nails any color other than clear or very light pink. I have quit biting my nails many times, but it never lasts long – I think they’ve made it to the tips of my fingers once or twice in my lifetime. Seeing your nails helps me to realize we all have things we aren’t happy with about ourselves, but that we can love ourselves in spite of it. I’m so thankful you had the courage to be bold, because it gives me courage too! (I’m loving the Makeover Your Mornings series by the way. Thanks!)

  • Ashley says:

    This post reminded me of a verse…”My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boat all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor 12:9.

  • Kim McCulley says:

    I love this so much! Thank you for being real. I too am a nail biter. I’ve been trying to kick it since childhood, with some successes, but I always go back to it.

    Your nails look lovely in your course about making the most of your mornings!

    • Sheryle says:

      I too bite my nails and go from feeling that it prevents me from appearing well-groomed to feeling ashamed and always wanting to hide them. I feel I’d be so much more expressive with nice (even short) nails! Maybe we can encourage one another in love to help each other curb this habit. I too feel it’s just a nervous or anxious habit and have hope that it won’t last forever! 🙂

  • Lynette says:

    Thank you! I can relate..sooo much

  • Jen Watkins says:

    Fellow nail biter here! I also have successes and failures with quitting. Rest assured that you are not alone. We all have struggles. Praise God that He loves and embraces us anyway!
    And seriously, for me, nail biting may be the least offensive of my many short comings!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I can relate SO much. I am also a nail biter. I stop myself and am so proud of my nails then get a pretty manicure. But something happens and I fall back. I hope/pray and realize there is only one judge of me.

  • Annonymous says:

    We all have shortcomings and you shouldn’t be ashamed of yours. I don’t bite my fingernails, but I do clean under the nail frequently, scratch off my nail polish, and (for some reason I cannot explain) scratch the skin off my scalp then clean the ish off my fingernails. And I will admit, I have struggled for years with “picking” my nose and (yes, I know it’s gross) eating the snot. I think it’s something I used to do when I cried as a child (when I cry, everything runs!). I don’t know, but it’s a problem I have worked on and pops up more when I am stressed and worried or anxious. Nail biting doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

  • brenda says:

    I have bitten my nails all my life. Until I recently read a book ,Called CHRISTIANS and STRONGHOLD, by Kim Haney . I have tried everything to stop. Even fake nails and bit them off.
    Bottom line every time I start bitting them quote a scripture. Recommended this book. It’s life changing.

  • Karen says:

    Who says really short nails that you bite are bad? It’s a false cultural taboo. I say let it go. The problem is letting others decide your value and worth and dignity ;only God can do that and he says, because of Jesus, we are deeply loved, completely forgiven and fully pleasing to him. Nothing else matters-

  • jes says:

    Thanks for being so real!! Have you heard of the Pavlok bracelet? I am so interested in using it to break a bad habit I have, but because it is actually a shock bracelet, I can’t until use it until after I have this baby. 🙂 But I’ve heard it can work incredibly well! Just thought you may like to know, if you’re not already familiar. Thanks again for posting this– you are totally right- we all have our stuff!

  • CT says:

    Fellow nail biter here. I too hate when people point things out like that. Not because I feel shame and am hiding it, but because I feel like they are trying to make me something I’m not. I have ticks, but this what makes me, me. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed either.

  • Shell says:

    I’ve embraced my nail biting. It’s really amazing that I haven’t developed a really harmful habit in attempting to process my anxiety. They’re always with me and it’s free. ☺️

  • Betsy says:

    My two year old son started biting his nails probably a month before he turned two. I want to be kind and life speaking as a mom- while asking him to take his fingers out of his mouth. He’ll say- ‘I’ll take my fingers out!’ Isn’t that like a toddler- ‘I’ll do it, Mama!’ Maybe, probably, it’s my job as a mom to love and support him- not only with my words but also in prayer. I feel that he has such a strong and good personality that this may just be an aspect of his type A-ness. 🙂

  • Karen says:

    I have no shame about the biting. I don’t think my hands are pretty but they say something beautiful about me. I was a massage therapist for 20 years. I am helping my autistic son communicate better through sign language. I cook every meal from scratch with a very specific diet. I research on line hours every day with my fingers to get my family in the best health and avoid the doctors that just wanted to prescribe us another drug. I bite my nails at night when I can’t sleep while I process the day instead of drinking or smoking pot or something more harmful. I might choke on a fingernail one day. LOL! Worry about it when the time comes. Meanwhile, I kind of look at them as battle scars, proof I was here and really in it with my whole body.

  • Maria says:

    Crystal, I see your lovely manicure nails inspiring to those of us with shorter nails whether from nail-biting, nail-peeling or other factors. It’s a wonderful example of self-love.

  • Michelle says:

    I had bitten my nails for 50 years until one day I decided like many people made a “decision” to stop. While actually successful it wasn’t without challenge and I had a set back. An anxious situation arose and I started again but it for some reason has been limited to my thumb nails. They are worse than they’ve ever been and can be sooo painful and I wish I could leave them alone. Ive never felt shame but it has drawn unwanted attention and judgement. We can only do our best and in light of eternity and other habits we could have it isn’t a big deal

  • Lisa Prieto says:

    Thank you for being authentic with us! I have the same issue with my nail biting as well as other bouts of anxiety and depression. We all are beautiful works in progress…

  • Scout says:

    I too struggle with anxiety. I bit my nails until I turned teenager. I was able to quit fortunately.

  • Dee says:

    I have bitten my nails for 48 years now minus the 8 months just before I graduated high school. I really wanted beautiful nails for the photos and I did it. The next week all of my nails were gone since I was trying to figure out if I should go to a Christian college or not. Since then I have never been able to get more than 6 or 7 nails grown out before they are all gone again. I have decided that if that is my biggest issue with myself, I am doing pretty darn good. I will forever keep biting if I need too and not be ashamed.

  • Crystal Colley says:

    I have bitten my nails my entire life. I also suffer with Anxiety and Depression. I have also been told to stop; that’s nasty; don’t you want pretty nails?; do you realize how unbecoming that is? My answers…..ive tried, yes I know, of course I Do, and yes; however God made each and everyone of us and we all are different and have our “things” but still perfect in his eyes. I love your blog Crystal and it is perfectly fine if you bite your nails or any other habit. God loves us all no matter what. Much love❤

  • Anonymous says:

    I am 16 years old and I also have a nail-biting habit. It helps me to see that I am not at it alone. I have bitten my nails ever since I can remember. Just recently (probably 2-3 years ago) I noticed how bad my nails were getting and started to attempt to hide them in public, and even around my family. For a year now I’ve wanted to stop biting my nails, but usually fail. I would buy that disgusting nail polish, but I’m afraid my parent would see it in the mail and question me about it. This New Years I will make it my resolution to once and for all to stop biting my nails.

    • Liona Rhevans Hamore says:

      As an ex-nailbiter that suffered from both emotional and physical pain I can say that breaking this habit has been a life changing feat for me. I used nail biting deterrent devices which are actually dental transparent devices that you put in your mouth and no more biting forever… (You simply physically can’t bite your nails anymore 🙂

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