I was reading the book, Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley, and this quote stuck out to me: “…the people we judge, envy, or compare ourselves to most are sometimes the people we might like most if we actually sat down and got to know them.” She goes on to say, “Ask more than you assume, and communicate more than you compare.”
It’s easier to make quick judgements on who we think someone is based on our outside observations of their lives than to endure the discomfort of leaving our “safe place” to get to know someone new and maybe even different than us. Maybe if we acknowledge someone else’s strengths, we will have to work on our own weaknesses or work to get to the root of our insecurities. It’s possible that the person we put up on that pedestal might not be so perfect after all once we sit down beside them and get a closer look. That illusion of perfection might shatter, and we might be forced to stop feeling bitter toward them for achieving what we couldn’t or wouldn’t, or to release them from the blame we had cast onto them for our perceived hurt from pain we really inflicted on ourselves.
Maybe that one woman always seems to have meals for her family that look like they came straight out of food network. Instead of admiring her strength and talent in the kitchen, you allow it to pick at your insecurity and feelings of falling short when you pick up another fast food meal.
Maybe she is crushing it, chasing after her dream career, and instead of cheering on her successes, you find some way to tear her down because you feel insecure that you honestly aren’t sure what the heck you are doing with your life yet.
Maybe her home always looks perfect, and instead of complimenting her hard work or maybe even (*gasp) asking her to help you out in that area, you make nasty comments about how miserable she and her family must be living in that “perfect” home and point out all the other ways you think you are superior.
Maybe she is super fit and always posting photos in the gym. Instead of commenting on how impressive her commitment is or asking her if she would mind passing on a few pointers or being your gym buddy, you point out that at least you spend more time with your kids, work longer hours, enjoy that cake that you assume she would turn her nose up at, or whatever it is that makes you feel better for not doing or achieving what she is right now.
Maybe she always has another fun activity planned for her kids or posts about her amazing bond with them. Instead of lifting her up and encouraging her to keep doing what is best for her family, you allow it to make you feel miserable because that’s not what mom life looks like for you…even if you can see your kids are perfectly healthy and happy and until a few seconds ago, you were too.
Maybe she seems to have the perfect marriage. Instead of being genuinely happy for her, or if your marriage is struggling maybe even asking them to take on a mentorship type role for you and your husband, you toss out words like “fake” and “nauseating” to hide your own hurt heart.
When will we stop comparing? When will we take the time to really get to know one another and drop the walls? None of us are, or ever will be, perfect. None of us are walking the same journey. None of us will find purpose in exactly the same way. Doing something differently doesn’t always mean it is being done the wrong way. And if you are watching another woman crush it in any area of life, and behind the criticism you are really in awe and wishing you could do that too…then figure out why you haven’t! If it’s just not something you are meant to do right now, then let that be enough and become the loudest voice in the crowd cheering that woman on! If it’s because you’re afraid of failure, realize you’re failing right now by not even trying, so really, it can only get better. Maybe even ask that other woman to help you take the first wobbly steps. But stop using someone else’s success as an excuse to be mean, to not make an effort in your own life, or to buy into the lie that what you are doing is wrong because it doesn’t look like someone else’s Instagram feed.
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