I would venture to say that if you are human, especially if you are of the female variety, this is a struggle. DAILY!! We are bombarded with ways to compare ourself in tv, radio, fashion, education and my list could continue. Even with something so positive as education, we are given a class ranking. You are student 56 out of 309. (no those are just made up, luckily this was one area that I didn't put too much weight in, so I don't really know where I stood. I will tell you I was not valedictorian or salutatorian...). But there you have it. We are forced to compare ourselves to others. Luckily I never grew up in a house where my parents compared me to my siblings, but I have heard the statement way too often, "why can't you be just like your brother", or something along those lines. Even well meaning, loving parents get caught up in the world of comparison. So how do you expect teenage girls (and boys, I know it is an issue for males too) to move from a society where we are always being compared, to the point we are able to look at magazines and NOT compare our bodies, or hair styles, or personalities (thanks personality tests...). Then you become a mom. You already have NO idea what you're doing (even if you lie and say you do) and expect to be thrown into this role where NO ONE knows what they're doing when they start and be GOOD at it. How many times do you start a new job and on day 2 of work are already getting a promotion because of how good you are? NEVER! (Well, maybe never, but then that person would be a person that I would have to compare myself to... So I like to think such a person doesn't even exist!) Yet, as a new mother that is the expectation thrown at us. But like a new job, where once you learn the ropes things get easier, being a parent has a new job description thrown at you every few days. Once you think you have it "figured out" it changes. If parenting wasn't hard enough, let's bring in the Internet and Pinterest and Facebook. I LOVE all of these things and the helpful ideas they elicit, but they are harmful to a society that has had comparison engrained into our beings from way too young an age. No my house is not only not clean, not organized, but not magazine beautiful with the right paint colors, fantastic furnishings, and matching decor. Am I failure of a mom because my house isn't perfect?! We went out to eat AGAIN tonight because I didn't feel like cooking AND cleaning up afterwards. Does it make me a failure of a mom because I don't have a full organic, homegrown, 5 course meal on the table for my child and The M?. I haven't worn my hair in anything but a ponytail that hasn't been brushed since I last washed my hair 4 days ago, does that make me a failure of a mom. NO. None of these things do. They make me human. But when you only see the good sides of peoples lives, it's hard not to feel like a failure. Feeling like a failure is a sad and lonely place. And it makes you loose your self confidence. The line that most struck a nerve for me when reading Life in Grace: Day 4 was this:
Our tendency to compare ourselves to others makes us more self-centered than we ought to be. And once we settle into our own skin- comfortable with who we were made to be- we can finally stop focusing on ourselves and start spending that valuable energy on how we can best serve and love those around us.
I have spent a lot of time praying for me. Playing the world's tiniest record player set on repeat to the song "My heart bleeds for thee". Woah is me, I'm not good enough. But that is just stealing my energy away from truly being able to serve and love those around me. If could just stop comparing myself to other Super Moms, I would be the best mom to Hagen, the child that God entrusted me to care for. God did not entrust Super Mom to be Hagen's mom, he entrusted ME. Maybe Super Mom wouldn't offer Hagen was HE needs. I know Super Mom is the best mom for her children, but not MY child. God gave me my body to do the things that he has called ME to do with it. And that is not the same thing that he has called other women to do with their bodies. I am learning this is the way I want to live my life. I want to be happy, and having more self-confidence is how I am going to get there. And being happy and having self confidence I am going to be able to use my gifts to serve more, and that will only continue to add to my state of happiness. I know that I can do this. I have experience this. Today I was reading through my old blog posts and came across this gem. A "Perfect" Rainy Sunday. For one day, I let go. I just WAS. I was happy.
I hope that you have already become comfortable in your own skin. That whatever issue you once compared yourself to others, you have learned to only compare yourself to you. If you haven't, I hope that my insights into this deep canyon of comparisons will challenge you along side me to remind ourselves that we were given everything WE need to live OUR lives. It won't be easy. It will creep back in. But let's stand up and fight against it! I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR! (Haha, ok... beyond cheesy, but I had to empower myself, and surprisingly that did it!!)