The older I get the more I believe that. There is something just a little sinister about comparing yourself with others – especially for women. It reaches down into the core of our beings and start pulling at our self-esteem. Be it our homes, children, bodies, how many friends we have, the car we drive or whatever really, once we start to compare ourselves to other our contentment level falls. I remember being taught as a child that there will always be someone better or and someone worse of than you – in everything. If you look around you it won’t take long to find someone who is better than you. We all have strengths and weaknesses, we’re designed that way. I’m good at some things but frankly terrible at others. That’s why we need community – to come together and share our strengths and allow our weaknesses to be strengthened. If I choose to look at other women in the light of comparison to myself I’m going to come up short in some regard. There is no doubt about that at all. And how I deal with that is going to affect my life – a lot!
Speaking personally I know I can string words together. Its something that comes easily to me. Words just seem to flow out of my finger tips without much effort – despite being a tad dyslexic. But here in the blog pool there are a few thousand other people who have similar skills. Some not as good as mine but many much much better. If I choose to allow myself to dwell on how much better they are I can start to feel failure creeping into my soul. And if I don’t squash it like the nasty bug it is pretty soon it builds itself a snugly little home where it can fester and really start to rot away my sense of value. Do you ever hear yourself having a conversation in your head that goes a bit like this. ‘Oh, that blog is so much better than mine. She’s got so many followers and people really seem to like her. And I read a post she wrote about how she get 50,000 hits a month. God I only get 5000. Hang on why don’t those people visit my blog? Is it really that bad? Oh crap – some days I wonder why I bother!’
The same process works in our lives in a million different areas. Women seem to naturally want to look for our value in the things we do or have around us. It takes an effort to remind ourselves we’re so much more than how clean our house is, big our bum is or how well we match up to the media’s cookie cutter standards for us as both mothers and women. Even success and failure don’t determine our value, there just trappings on top. We are valuable just because we are. If we never write another great post, fit into our size 10 jeans, succeed at running a business, have a perfect home, take the perfect photos or have the prefect children (*insert any other words that fit for you* ) we are still 100 percent valuable, worthy and full of awesomeness. Aim high and seek to do great things – but don’t let your value be defied by them. It’s like a house with no foundation – you risk it all tumbling down. And when you see another women succeed – celebrate with her. She has strengths and weaknesses too you know. But remember one things when you’re tempted to compare your life to hers. You’re judging your behind the scenes life and reality against her polished highlight reel.
Okay, excuse me now, I have to take a few moments to step down off my soap box and get back to my imperfect but wonderful family and life. Today our home is a mess and I have washing piled high. I remind myself regularly that I am living the life I dreamed of ten years ago. It’s not always easy and very rarely perfect – but it was my dream and here I am.