Comparing Ourselves to Others


by Charlotte Siems

Nobody’s perfect. We hear that statement but we act like we don’t believe it.

It’s so tempting to look at someone else and think they have it all together. That mom with the musical genius kids, the friend whose house is “always” clean, the lady who seems to effortlessly run a home business—looking in from the outside she looks amazing.comparing-ourselves-apples-to-oranges-300x231

And I’m not. Or so we think.

Comparing ourselves to others is like comparing apples to oranges, if you’ll pardon the over-used expression. We haven’t walked a mile in their shoes and they haven’t walked in ours.

Take me, for instance. You haven’t seen my kitchen floor when it crunches, or the girls’ room when you can’t see the floor. You don’t know the struggles I’ve had with thoughts of despair and discouragement, or the times I thought I couldn’t take one more minute of homeschooling.

I eat sweet boxed cereal, use powdered creamer in my coffee and like frozen pizza. Sometimes I wear my fuzzy purple robe until late in the morning. My shower needs a scrubbing and there are two loads of clean laundry sitting in baskets in the den even as we speak.

Often we only hear about other moms’ best days. The time when they had cookies and milk ready when school was over. The day their children did an impressive science project.

You don’t often hear about the day they yelled at everyone because they were late, the time they loudly loaded the dishwasher in anger or the moment they sighed loudly when approached by their husband in bed.

I’m not saying that we should air our dirty laundry in public (and that includes Facebook), but we should give ourselves grace, know that others are real human beings and not get discouraged with comparisons. I bet you’re doing better than you think.

We think things about ourselves and say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to someone else. When’s the last time you said, “You are so fat” or “That was really stupid” to your good friend? So why do you think it’s okay to say it to yourself?

We tend to think that mean words don’t count when we say them in our heads to ourselves.

Stand back and watch the next few days. Notice how often you compare yourself to others. You might be feeling superior and prideful, or you may feel hopeless and “behind.” Either way, it’s not helpful to you.

Be who you are, keep working towards being better. Don’t try to be someone else and don’t focus on your perception that they’re better than you.

Instead of wasting emotional energy on comparing ourselves to others, we can steer our thoughts to gratefulness and thoughts like “how can I do this better?”

We all have plenty to do without adding the burden of comparisons that always make us the loser. Stay aware, take thoughts captive and enjoy YOUR life.

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