The Comparison Trap
Isn’t it so easy to start going after a dream, and then see someone who is further along the journey than you and you start to compare and feel discouraged? Or just social media scroll and see other’s highlights and wish your highlights were as “fun,” as “pretty,” as “creative,” as “fill in the blank”. That has been me on so many levels, lately, like: my last blog post was a year ago; I just had a baby and it is summer time/swimsuit season; My 2 year old loves her new baby sister but is in her terrible twos and I’m struggling; I wish my Instagram feed was more fun; maybe my photography Instagram account would be better if I upgraded my camera; I just want to have more fun; I wish I could be traveling more…
I could go on, but you see that’s the trap: looking at all our blessings as though they don’t measure up on some yard stick compared to persons x, y and z. I don’t know about you, but I could sit and fantasize all day about how much better I wish my blessings could be, but I had to wake up and realize the problem is only that I am under valuing and being ungrateful for all my blessings. They are many, they are wonderful and they don’t look like anyone else’s. Thank God! Thank God that He reminds me how richly he has blessed me. He reminds me to turn off comparison and switch on gratefulness.
It’s no secret if you follow my blog that my last post was a year ago. In the past I would have beat myself up for not “keeping up” with regular blog posts. Honestly, this last year has had some major challenges and I chose to not make posts during that time. (Maybe one day I’ll share more details.) Even though I wasn’t keeping up with my blog, I still was keeping up with social media. And as I would scroll, it seemed like all of a sudden everyone became a blogger or is using their platform to be inspirational or starting a new business. I almost fell into the comparison trap here. I would sometimes start to feel like I’m not enough because I can’t do it all. I couldn’t keep up with everything going on in life and my dreams but it seemed like everyone else was “living their best life” plus living my dreams. But God reminded me of a decision I made a long time ago and He helped me to refresh my perspective (which is something I need to do regularly).
The comparison trap lures us to believe everyone else has what we want, that the grass is greener on the other side (but it’s really greener where we water it) it encourages us to hate on each other, tear one another down and trivialize other’s significance. A long time ago, I decided I’m not going to be about “that life”. That life is a façade. It isn’t real. The truth is God created each of us and to Him we are all uniquely important. And God is so good and creative that He truly has a plan for each of us. I realized if we are so important to God then it’s important to me to find the value in everyone I meet and their stories.
Truly, I am so grateful for my friends. I’m grateful they are good people and want to be inspirational and start new businesses. They inspire and encourage me, and I hope I do that for them too! We are on this journey of life together, influencing each other, and I hope we can continue to propel each other forward in all God has for us. When I take time to appreciate my friendships, I realize they are stepping outside of their comfort zones, blazing new trails and being obedient to God and that makes me so excited that I can’t help but to cheer on my friends. I’m so blessed to be in the circle God gave me.
God has also abundantly blessed me with my family. Three weeks ago my husband, daughter and I welcomed another beautiful baby girl, Harper Elise, into our world. She’s a doll and we are so thrilled to have her apart of our little family. For a brief moment, I was wallowing that this summer I won’t have a “beach body” (I don’t know if I’ve ever really had one though, lol). It takes awhile to “bounce back” after having a baby, so rather than look at everyone else who is “beach ready” and comparing myself, I decided to appreciate my body. After all, it carried and birthed this beautiful child (which is truly such an honor to me). So I celebrated my body by buying a bathing suit that makes me feel good with the mom bod I have right now. And I love it and the way I look in it. Not to mention, I bought it at a bargain price, and who doesn’t love to “save” money!
Our first daughter, Harley, is two now, and in the “terrible two” stage (it’s really has had its very difficult moments) but yet she is the sweetest, most well mannered, considerate little babe I know. Her hugs and kisses are the world to me. I adore how she loves on her new little sister Harper, always wanting to touch her, hug and kiss her. Harley loves to help, and she loves me so much she hardly can leave my side. The other day, after a very long and rough day with her, Harley came to me from her room with two of my big brimmed sun hats. (Who else loves big sun hats?) She was wearing one and she brought one for me. I so melted. Is that not the sweetest gesture? And then I proceeded to feel guilty and mom-shame myself for not parenting her the way I would ideally, if I could. But being somewhat sleep deprived and at the level of frustration I reached that day I no longer knew how to respond to fix the situation. Why don’t kids come with manuals? Thank God for His grace.
I needed to extend grace to Harley (ha that’s also her middle name – Harley Grace). And I needed to extend grace to myself. Being two is not easy – Harley can’t fully understand or communicate what she’s feeling or fearing. Parenting, also, is not easy. That’s why there is the old adage that says, “It takes a village”. Daily I am reminded to be grateful for the support system we are blessed to have and not shy away from the help that they offer. Because God’s grace and mercy, which is new every morning, I get to try and do better each and every day.
Even though I’m tempted to compare my family to other seemingly perfect families, one of my biggest concerns is that my two daughters don’t compare themselves with each other. I literally get mad even thinking about people comparing them to one another. I grew up being compared with cousins and although we love each other, I wonder how different life could have been if we were encouraged to appreciate and celebrate each other rather than compare ourselves. I want my girls to know how they are wonderful and unique. I hope I can show them how deeply they are loved.
I have so many scenarios I could continue to talk on and on about (because I’m tempted to compare often). I just hope show what it’s taken me so long to learn: comparison is a trap and leads down an ugly road. When we become aware of the comparison trap we have the ability to choose differently. I try to catch myself early on and a lot of times, if I’m making room for Him, God is the one who reminds me to stop where I am, and encourages me to refresh my perspective. He guides me to walk toward gratefulness and appreciation, which is an exercise that is so good for my mind and soul!