We compare ourselves to others; to their gifts and talents, and maybe even unknowingly to their dysfunctions.
In the meantime, we are busy pushing down the things that make up our very essence. The desires we have for ourselves, our dreams, our childhood pastimes. The things that we as adults have come to find frivolous or unnecessary.
Our favorite people, the people that we revere and look up to, are often the people that are just following hard after the thing that they enjoy most. The thing that are created for. Their desires and dreams. I’m not talking about Hollywood dreams, though those people are certainly revered for their passions.
I’m talking about the woman you know who can make an amazing dinner out of anything, or the woman who somehow always makes you feel at home no matter what. The one who makes things look beautiful.The one who effortlessly enjoys children and ministers to their mothers by caring for them. The one who adjusts your hairstyle just so and makes you feel like a princess. The woman who can draw your cares out of you with a simple question and nod of her head, leaving you feeling understood and loved on.
Let’s take three different vacuuming women, for an example.
Abby vacuums everyday. She has a dog and a baby who eats everything off the floor, and only one main living area. Keeping the living room vacuumed once or twice a day relaxes her, and assures that her crawling baby isn’t eating lots of dog hair.
Her friend Betsy vacuums everyday, multiple times a day. Betsy is obsessive about it. She vacuums constantly. She has no pets and older kids. She is constantly worried about what other people think about her home and doesn’t feel like she ever measures up.
Carla is friends with both Abby and Betsy. She knows that they vacuum multiple times a day. Carla has no pets, and kids who no longer eat off the floor. She has a large house with a lot of floor. Cleaning is not her favorite thing, and she would rather be doing almost anything else, though she tries to keep her house tidy enough to be healthy and comfortable.
Here’s the problem: Carla is going to feel the need to vacuum everyday because that is what her friends do. But she has different circumstances, different desires, and really doesn’t need to vacuum everyday. If she falls into the comparison game, she is going to do what a lot of us do: create for herself an expectation that will be difficult to meet, and is not life-giving for her or her family.
Maybe that isn’t a huge deal, after all… it’s only vacuuming. But now, Carla spends a large portion of her day doing something she doesn’t need to do, and feeling guilty on the days when she doesn’t do it (which is usually the case, let’s be honest). If she can instead choose to look at her own situation and stop comparing herself to her friends, she can use her day for things that will serve her family better.
Since we are women, we know this doesn’t just apply to vacuuming. It applies to how we dress, how we do our hair, how we exercise, how we eat, how we cook, how we school our children, how we make every decision regarding things for our babies and pregnancies and births, bedtimes… oh my goodness. The list for how women compare themselves to each other would be a very long one. It is constant.
We automatically assume that “She” is doing things the same as we do them, but just a little better. Or we think that she is judging us for doing “xyz”, when in fact, she probably thinks you are judging her for “abc”.
Me. Me. Me. Me.
The good news is, we are all obsessed with ourselves. Whether it is how awesome we are or how horrible we are, how we keep house, whether or not we work, what our husband does for a living, what our dress size is.
So stop worrying what that other person thinks about you. We are all thinking about ourselves most of the time. What we need to be doing is finding the best version of ourselves and enjoying it. Using that to live our lives fully and inspire those we love to do the same. So many of us are living a half true version of ourselves. Trying to be someone else’s idea of perfect, trying to live out the perfect life, meanwhile missing it.