Is Comparison the Thief of Your Joy Too?

“Comparison Is the Thief of Joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt said that. 

“Just Put Your Blinders On, Mama.” – I said that. 
I’ll be completely honest. I have a tendency to look at those around me and compare myself. More often than not it leads to an insane amount of self-doubt. I have struggled with this all my adult life. Oh my God, she’s perfect! Is her house nicer than mine? Is our marriage as strong as theirs? She’s totally skinnier than me. Her family is amazing. How is she so perfect? Why do I do this? I guess because I’m human. And because I’m a woman. It’s probably a huge sign of insecurity, but the first step is admitting you have a problem. Does everybody do this? Please tell me I’m not the only one.But here’s where it gets really sucky. Becoming a mom has totally magnified this problem for me. It starts when they’re just babies. Her baby rolled over…should my baby be rolling over by now? Jeez, that little girl knows how to read already. Her son is a gifted athlete. They do 14 private lessons a week…we do zero. Should I have my son in quarterback camp too? It’s terrible to let my mind go there. Self-doubt is such a dangerous emotion.

The older my kids get, and the more involved in activities they get the more anxiety provoking it all is. What I failed to realize until this stage in my mom life, is that there really are bat shit crazy over the top parents out there. It’s not just on reality TV, you guys…it happens in real life too. It can be maddening! It can be a total mind game being around them. And I’m constantly reminding myself that I can’t take it personally. The psycho sports parents aren’t doing what they’re doing because of me…their doing it to make themselves feel better. (Although I sometimes have to wonder how it’s all going to work out for them.)

One of my good friends hit the nail on the head when she said that Facebook is the worst offender when it comes to providing an atmosphere of comparison. Don’t those people who only post the most amazing aspects of their perfect lives drive you effing crazy?!? Just be real…if for no other reason, than to make the rest of us feel better about ourselves for 3 seconds.

So what’s the fix? Just put your blinders on, Mama. I’ve been telling myself that almost daily lately. Don’t look at anyone else’s life. Just keep your focus forward and keep doing what’s best for you and your family. Keep plugging away and it will all turn out fine in the end. It’s easier said than done. There are times when I have to stop and recognize that insecure voice in my head that’s rambling on again and tell it to shut the hell up. It doesn’t help me at all to listen to it…not one little bit.

I’ve decided that the only way I’m going to survive this life intact is to take a deep breath, be myself, and let others be themselves too. I read a quote that said, “Confidence is silent…insecurity is loud.” I really need to work on being silent.

Comments

  1. I remember a young girl once telling my daughter that “You don’t have to blow out my candle to make yours shine brighter”. Keep your candle burning bright, Marie. Instead of looking at all the things you believe others are better at, take off your blinders and see all the wonderful ways you parent, all the fabulous gifts your children bring, and how talented you are at so many things. I think it’s all in your perspective! Love you and all you are.

    • Perspective, Perspective, Perspective! Yes!!! More lovely words from such a lovely woman. You never fail to offer support and love. How lucky and I?

    • Wonderful advice, Cathi!! And I *love* that quote. (Stealing it now.) And Marie – I so appreciate your honesty. Just keep swimming toward that place of peace and healthy perspective, because life is so much better there. (Of course, if you are anything like me, every time you start getting close, one of your kids will remind you just how enormously you suck, so it is definitely a process.)

    • Just keep swimming!!! Wiser words were never spoken. I’m getting there…I think.

  2. Marnie Jopp says:

    Hmmm, Ok this is just me. I choose not to compare myself to everything. I know my house Isn’t the cleanest, the biggest, etc. I deal with it. Someone will ALWAYS have more.I guess I don’t really compare myself to others because ourselves, our personalities, our lives are all so different. And we are ALL trying to do the best we can. I don’t care what others have. Not saying this in a mean way, but if they have more–they probably worked hard for it. I love my life. Yes, there are things I would change if I could, but I haven’t won a lottery yet-haha. If I compared myself to everyone I would go crazy. My advice to you- Enjoy your life. Embrace everything good and bad in it. Realize everyone is different. Don’t judge others for their success, be genuinely happy for them. If you can’t do this to a so-called “friend” on FB, then maybe delete them, but don’t struggle-life is too short and too precious.

    • Hmmm…maybe I should have clarified it when I wrote it. I was not referring to material things when I compare myself to others. It’s more of comparing parenting parenting styles that I was referring to. I’m always feeling insecure about not being a very good mom. And I can’t understand why it feels like everyone else seems to just “get it” while I’m over here trying to figure it all out as I go. Definitely feel blessed for all that I HAVE…just questioning what I AM. Hope that clarifies. 🙂

  3. Face forward. Look ahead. Eyes on my own paper….well, maybe not that last one exactly, but it felt like it fit the theme.

    I’m working on letting go of comparisons. It is HARD, but so very worth it!

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