Lately I’ve fallen into the comparison trap.
My Instagram feed has been blowing up with the most gorgeous of girls announcing all the fun and creative things they’ve been doing lately, such as writing new books, traveling all over the country for work, and starting new businesses.
I’ve been wiping poopy bums.
Now hang on a second. That’s not all I’ve been doing, although somedays feel like one big long bathroom break, split into five different phases: breakfast poo and then whatever else we did, lunch poo and then some other stuff, nap time poo, dinner poo and bedtime poo. Sometimes just for funsies, my baby will throw in a midnight poo, just to shake things up a bit. That’s always fun.
Anyhoo. Besides the crap I’m dealing with, I’ve also taken a major step down in my “career” life to support my husband in getting his MBA. I am so incredibly proud of him, and he graduates this April so we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, but let me tell you: two years of mostly solo parenting has taken it’s toll, and during that time, it seems every girlfriend I know has taken two major steps forward in their lives while I’ve been treading water, just trying to survive.
“How do these girls have time to do all these things?” I’ve wondered. “How can they look so good, dress so cute, be so hip, and run such a successful blog/business/boutique AND handle being a mom?” I am not usually the jealous or envious type but I have to admit, I have noticed some green hues radiating from my face while looking in the mirror lately. And green does NOT look good on me.
A few days ago, I came across an article posted on Facebook, written by the beautiful Sam Ponder, ESPN sideline reporter. She talks about her experience with Twitter, and how we should never compare ourselves to others. (Read more here: http://prothirtyone.catalystdesigngroup.net)
“The people you think have it all together, don’t,” she said on her “Pro Thirty One” blog, in her post “Examining Truth and Twitter.”
“The most externally beautiful girls are often the most insecure. The man who exudes confidence and machismo is often consumed by doubts and fears. Also, the Twitter or Instagram picture someone looks “so perfect” in was probably one of thirty attempts before photoshop and a filter.”
Ponder goes on to give some great advice about getting past the insecurities.
“Two main things have helped me navigate through the weeds: acknowledging my flaws/inadequacies and encouraging other people. Humility can be a tough pill to swallow but it is reality. If pride comes before the fall, I’m guessing confidence follows humility. It’s hard to be confidently humble when you’re constantly trying to be someone everyone else says you should be. That is vanity.”
I LOVE this. Don’t we know by now that no one has it all together? Don’t we know that while some may be shining in some areas, they may be letting other things go by the wayside? Why is someone else’s success somehow a threat to my own?
One of reality TV’s most admirable mothers is, in my opinion, Michelle Duggar. I love watching “19 Kids and Counting”, for the values and squeaky clean entertainment, and also for some great parenting advice!
But I used to think “Man! She speaks so sweetly to her children. I could NEVER imagine her raising her voice.” Well, guess what? She has.
“Years ago The Lord really broke my heart about my anxiousness and my anger,” Duggar was reported saying on Rador online. “I think we all struggle with that. The feelings of frustration and anger building up and how do we deal with that?” (Read more here: http://radaronline.com/exclusives/2013/09/michelle-duggar-reveals-dark-secret-god-is-convicting-me-about-my-anger-problem/)
Duggar explained she found her answer in a Wisdom booklet she was studying with her young children.
“The one point that stuck in my heart, just pierced through my being, was the point about a soft answer turns away wrath,” she said. “I just began to cry. I said ‘I want you children to know that mommy loves you and I really am a nice person and I don’t want you to think I’m this mean mommy.’”
I was shocked. Again, I knew this was not a perfect woman, but it was just another example to me of how sometimes we can put someone up on a pedestal and think they have very little faults and beat ourselves up about not being as good as they are-when come to find out, they’ve maybe struggled with the exact same things!
I don’t think we should look for faults in others to make ourselves feel better. But I think it’s important to remember that we are not as pathetic as we think we are. In fact, it may be that we are the only ones holding ourselves back from our true potential by thinking we somehow cannot compare to others, or do what they do, or achieve what they achieve, or have what they have.
But that’s not really the point, either. Because it’s sort of pointless to live to impress others, or feel guilty about not living the way we THINK we ought to. The only person capable of showing us our TRUE weaknesses and potential is the One who created us.
And isn’t that the whole point of this Thanksgiving holiday, anyway? To be grateful not only for WHAT we have, but WHO we are.
I’m grateful for that reminder this week.