Your floor is littered with toys. You picked them all up an hour ago and you’ll pick them up a dozen more times before bedtime. There are still breakfast dishes in your sink and you haven’t showered since the day before yesterday. Your son just isn’t getting the hang of potty-training and your daughter is struggling to understand math. You had a fight with your husband last night and you’re still beating yourself up over some of the things you said in anger. When you went to put your jeans on today, you noticed they were a little snugger, and you couldn’t force yourself to look in the mirror as you brushed your teeth.
You pour yourself a second cup of coffee and decide to scroll through Facebook. Within minutes, all of the negative things you believe about yourself are amplified and you start to believe you’re not doing anything right.
Your friend posted an Instagram pic of herself and you notice just how clean her family room looks – and is she wearing a new sweater? Why does her hair look so good at 9 am? You keep scrolling and see a post about your friend’s child who is excelling in math and you start to wonder what you’re doing wrong. You must not be everything your child needs. Another friend just changed their profile picture. It’s of her kissing her husband on the cheek. They look so happy. You’re reminded of the fight you just had and feel certain that your marriage will never be that good. He’ll never forgive you. You aren’t worthy of a love like that. It goes on and on and on.
It’s exhausting. Defeating. A total lie. And it has to change.
In the past, I’ve tried to combat comparison and encourage women by telling them that nobody has it all together. (Which is still totally true.) But, as I’ve gotten older, I’m realizing that way of thinking isn’t healthy. Feeling okay about who we are as a woman, a wife, or a mother should never be dependent on the knowledge that someone else is struggling.
If we’re being honest, we all feel our confidence rise a bit when we see someone else’s messy living room or dark under-eye circles, knowing we’re not alone. And whatever you’re walking through right now – whatever you’re juggling – however you’re seeing yourself – you are NOT alone. But, feeling okay with who we are should not be because other women are floudering. Our sense of “okayness” cannot and should not depend on another woman or mother riding the struggle bus.
We need to be okay when other women are thriving. We need to be okay when a friend is wearing a put-together outfit and we’re in drawstring pants. We need to be okay when we see a family with well-behaved kids when ours are making us crazy. We need to be okay when a friend is into a hobby or side hustle that we completely don’t get. We need to be okay when other people can afford date nights and we can’t afford much more than Ragu and ramen. We need to be okay when you see something as miraculous as a clean backseat or a new mom who’s rested and refreshed. We need to be okay no matter what anyone else’s life looks like.
You are okay no matter what anyone else is doing. You are okay no matter what. Your worth doesn’t change.
We have traded in truth for a lie. We have chosen to believe that another person’s abilities, successes, passions, appearance, relationships, and strengths affect us. In truth, what another woman does, looks like, or succeeds in, has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.
If your friend is having a good hair day, it does not mean that you are ugly.
If your friend’s child is succeeding in one area, it does not mean you are not a capable parent.
If your friend goes on a fantastic date with her spouse, it does not mean your relationship is in trouble.
A friend’s clean house does not make you a poor housekeeper.
There will always be women in your life who have something you don’t or excel in an area where you struggle. There will always be women who trigger our insecurities. What if instead of dwelling in that insecurity and wishing to be more like them, we decided to be grateful for who we are, while at the same time applauding who they are?
We’re different. Different doesn’t mean less than. Differences are exciting – they mean we are owning who we are and doing what we were gifted to do. We are stronger better women when we stay true to who we are, enjoy OUR life, and let everyone else live theirs.