How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

I think we’ve all done it.  We’ve all compared ourselves to others and found that we come up lacking.  The problem has grown exponentially with the massive amount of social media that’s a part of our lives.  We used to compare ourselves to the mom next door or that other homeschool mom at the coop that always seems to have it all together, but now we’re competing with every amazing woman in the world with a camera and a blog.

Karen-happy-MomLately I’ve been thinking a lot about bloggers.  I just keep asking myself, “Bloggers are people too, right?”  Well, sometimes I’m not so sure about that.  Some of them seem to be just a little TOO perfect.  Don’t know what I mean?

I mean, I can’t help but wonder if she ever makes boxed macaroni for her kids’ lunch.

Does she ever lose her car keys?

Did she ever yell at her kids?  Even once?

What does her hair look like on a Saturday morning when she’s too tired to do it and just wants to sleep in?

Has she ever had to get a tetanus shot because the sewing machine needle went clean through her finger?

It’s pretty easy to read these blogs and tell yourself – “I’m not good enough.”  For the record, I make boxed macaroni for lunch a few times a week.  I lost my keys earlier today.  I have yelled.  More than once.  My hair?  Don’t get me started on that.  You’ll most often find mine in the most convenient ponytail possible.  And yes, I did have to get a tetanus shot when I sewed through my finger.  We lovingly call the baby blanket I was making our “tetanus quilt.”

I kept thinking about this because I think it’s too easy to feel pretty inadequate when you’re surrounded by the all-too-perfect worldview we get from blogs and pinterest.

With all these picture perfect images around us it can be easy to fall into a pit of comparisons, and all too often we simply don’t measure up.

Two things happened to me as I’ve been dwelling on all this lately that have changed my perspective.

Hawaii is beautiful because of the rain

Kaui Panorama By Remember (photo taken by Remember) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#1- I went to a wonderful women’s conference and heard a speaker who described Hawaii.  He said, “Hawaii’s not beautiful because of the sunshine.  It’s beautiful because of the rain.  If there was always sunshine and no rainstorms it would look like a desert.”  My life is a rainstorm of laundry and finding missing shoes, of frustration over teaching times tables I thought we already knew and cleaning up the second glass of spilled milk at the dinner table, of sick kiddos and exhausting errands.  And motherhood is also the greenest, most vibrant, beautiful paradise I could ever want in spite of all that, or maybe even because of it.  I’ll take my Hawaii, even if it’s not always picture perfect.  And I’ll CHOOSE to see the good and the beautiful in my life.

No one is as perfect as they look from the outside

And #2- A friend of mine asked me the other day {with a little pleading in her voice} if I ever yelled at my kids.  When I said yes, relief washed over her face.  She was pretty sure she was the only imperfect mother in the neighborhood.  She was also pretty sure I was a perfect mother.  Ha.  Then I realized, bloggers ARE people too.  I’m one of them.  Chances are, you think I’m always ready to go at 8:00 A.M. with a science experiment and costumes for our history lesson in hand.  More likely you’ll find me in my pj’s {still with aforementioned ponytail} curled up with a book, a quilt, and a kid and wondering if the kids will go for cold cereal for the fourth day in a row.  The thing is, most of us only let you see what we want you to see about ourselves.  People are like icebergs.  We show the tip top to the world, but most of who we are is actually hiding under the surface.  I will RECOGNIZE that we are all in this struggle together and that no one is perfect.

Mom-and-Liz-cuddling-2

Choose to be inspired, not overwhelmed

We’re all just people.  We have a few talents to share here and there, but mostly, we’re all kind of muddling our way through this big world.  And if we start to hear the message “I’m not good enough” instead of finding our own voice among all those blogs and pins out there, we’re treading in dangerous waters.  I want to be inspired, not overwhelmed.  Impressed, not inferior.  And that is up to me.  My time is limited.  I get this one shot, this one life, to live the way I want to, and I never want to waste a minute of it wishing to be someone else or judging myself with unfair comparisons.  It’s like hanging the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition by your full-length mirror.  After all, no one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.

Family-and-a-peacock-2

I love blogs and pinterest.  I will keep reading them, but I won’t be like a lady I heard who said that she wants to redo her wedding; she feels it was unfair that she had to plan her wedding before pinterest was invented.  Her memories of her beautiful day were ruined by her comparisons.

For the record, I think the bloggers I mentioned above are amazing.  This post includes some of my very favorites.  I’m a regularly reader of every single one of them and find constant inspiration from them all.  And I will continue to choose to be inspired by them, not discouraged!

Do you have favorite blogs that inspire you?  Ever get in that swimsuit-edition-compare- yourself-to-perfection rut?

 

 More From Layers of Learning

Here are a few more articles you might like.  You can peek into our homeschool and see some of the ways we learn, check out what homeschooling life is like when we have a brand new baby, or read my confession about my struggling readers.  Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration for your day.

 

5 Comments

  1. You are most definitely not alone! I agree with just about every word you wrote. It’s really hard not to compare yourself to others anyway, regardless of Pinterest lol. But then I think–I don’t know about you, but I only reveal parts of myself to people. When I blog, I don’t post about how many times I yelled that morning or how we skipped school 2 days in a row. I typically post about the fun art project we did or the yummy recipe I tried, even if the rest of the week we only got 3 subjects covered and it was hamburger helper for dinner. But I don’t reveal that to people because it’s not interesting–or maybe it is?

    1. Layers of Learning

      That’s really true Christy. We tend to tell about our best bits most of the time. Though, I tend to think those imperfections are incredibly interesting AND help me relate to people. I’m less likely to pin someone’s Hamburger Helper though! (:

  2. Michelle

    Ah, you totally nailed it.

    I’m perfectly content until I get the newest shiny catalog in the mail. I have to learn to think of it as pretty pictures. I’ve bought so many homeschool books or gadgets because the magazine convinced me I NEEDED them, only to find it wasn’t the right fit for our family or it’s not at all my teaching style, which, if I had thought about it I would have realized from the product description. I’ve learned to be a little more content.

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