We have a cousin who’s daughter is just three weeks older than H. We are very close so we see a lot of each other and for the first several months of their lives I realized I was always comparing our babies to each other. Not in a who’s baby is better than who’s kind of way, but in that I was always comparing their milestones and achievements. I always felt like H’s cousin was progressing faster than him and it freaked me out and I spent way too long worrying that maybe, heaven forbid, there was something wrong with my perfect baby. I (thankfully) eventually came to realize that there wasn’t anything wrong, but that they are two different people who do things differently than one another. H was farther along on some things and his cousin was farther along on some things. Sometimes I feel like I spent so much time on worrying that H wasn’t just like his cousin that I missed out on really enjoying the current stage he was in.
Since I became mindful that I was doing this, I’ve come to realize I actually do it…like a lot. With so many different areas of my life. I cannot even count how many times I have made myself feel small and inadequate because I have compared myself to other people who I swore had it more together than I did. I’ve really felt this as a mom and housewife. I have one child and am pregnant and its seriously a struggle for me to always have my whole house clean. Then I think of my sister in law who is pregnant with her fifth child, or 99% of my friends who have more kids than me – and they all have these clean, organized homes. I’ve spent countless hours crying while I clean my kitchen, feeling overwhelmed that I’m a bad wife because I can’t do this one thing as good as so-and-so. Its draining and its debilitating. I am SO good at comparing myself to others and its a really rotten talent to possess. I could give you so many examples of times I have compared myself to someone else who is seemingly very near perfect at something, then looked at myself and have felt instant misery because I wasn’t at the same place they were. It takes you to a place of sadness, heartache, depression and a loss of self respect and love.
I know my husband and son love me and appreciate me, but so often its easy to feel undeserving of such feelings. How could my husband truly appreciate me when the sink is full of dirty dishes, theres toys all over the floor, I don’t know whats for dinner and the bed isn’t made – and lets not even mention the laundry. How does my son still idolize me when I stick him in front of the tv so often while I have a meltdown or try desperately to catch up on housework? Its feelings like these that start piling up way too easily and swiftly drag me down to a place of feeling so bad.
Not that long ago I became really aware somehow that I was letting these spiraling thoughts into my mind way too easily. So I decided to try and actively fight these evil thoughts. Its really hard not to compare yourself to all the ‘perfect‘ people in your life. Believe me, I know this from experience. Its hard to feel like you’ve done some good in your life and the life of your family when someone else has an immaculate home, perfect child, well-trained dog, a homemade meal on the table and has perfect hair and makeup every day.
But guess what? That perfect person most likely feels just like you do. Who knows, maybe they even think you’re the perfect person they keep comparing themselves to. Its very likely there is something you do really well that someone wishes they, too, did just as good. The things you think you’re bad at, someone could be wishing they did more like you. The reality is that none of us are perfect – we are all just trying. And its a lot easier to try and be the best version of ourselves when we only worry about ourselves – not about the neighbor. Everyone is struggling somewhere in their life. They have days where they feel awful, too. Even that Lifestyle Blogger who only posts the pretty and perfect things going on in her life.
Actively reminding myself of these facts was a game changer. I obviously don’t always remember this and have plenty of pity parties. But when I do remember that everyone is just trying to get better and the only person who I should be worrying about is myself, I do a lot better.
Its so easy to compare and its really hard not to. But oh my gosh when you stop worrying about what someone else’s home and life is like – life gets 100% better. I have been able to take more pride in what I’m doing around the home. I am able to see why my family values me. I am better able to go throughout my day with a clear mind and light heart. I am happier and calmer and have a lot less anxiety. It makes me more confident and relaxed. It takes concentration, mindfulness and focus but forgetting about all the other perfect people makes my life seem a lot more perfect.
It has been the biggest blessing to be able to feel like I’m sort of getting a grasp on this. I know myself, so I know this will be a constant, lifelong struggle for me, but I am so glad I know how to combat these feelings too. Also, talking with family and friends has worked wonders. The people around you who love you will really boost you up and remind you of your worth and will be able to help you see that no one is as perfect as you fear they might be.
I imagine I’m not the only one who feels like this from time to time. If you’re one of these people I really hope this post gave you some ideas or gave you some hope. We are all just doing our best!