I am happy to introduce Erica Nielson today who is a guest posting on Triple Braided! Read how Erica combats comparison and then check out her blog Let Why Lead.
A few weeks ago, as I tucked a new copy of Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever into a pale blue gift bag, a thought crossed my mind: Brace yourself. Baby showers are a magnet for comparison.
As a woman, I often feel hardwired to compare myself to everyone else, and at baby or bridal showers, the opportunities to come up short are boundless!
The hostess has such nice highlights; I bet I couldn’t afford her hairstylist.
Have you tasted this quiche? I wish I could cook.
I wonder how she keeps this house so clean? It would take me weeks to prepare my place for a shower!
Check that out. Alex brought her kids. Why are they not grabbing at the food like they’ve never been fed before? That’s what mine would be doing!
Since that shower I have been unusually conscious of how frequently I compare myself (or my family) to others. My good friend and I have children only two weeks apart. They both just celebrated their second birthdays. My friend’s daughter can count to one hundred by tens and has all her family’s ages memorized. I, on the other hand, am happy if my son puts two words together – like “more milk.” I know children develop at very different paces, and I have not doubt that my son’s speech will continue to pick up speed. But when you hear another toddler rattle off Grandma’s age while your son is contentedly making motion sounds for his toy tractor, it feels impossible not to draw the comparison.
As much as I don’t want to, I mentally compare my body type, my social skills, my children’s social skills – even my spirituality – to everyone else. I compare my worst to your best.
However, several weeks ago I tried something new. I made an effort to stop vocalizing the comparisons I make. My hope is that if I stop giving them a voice, the day will come when I won’t draw them in the first place. I have a feeling that day is a long, long ways off, but I believe that how we talk about ourselves influences what we think about ourselves. Hearing myself make a comparison in which I fall short only validates a feeling about myself that I do not want to have.
Regardless of whether we come out on top or fall far short in the comparisons we make, the act robs us of joy. And isn’t joy exactly what the Lord wants for us?
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Let’s find the joy in each day by trying to stop giving comparisons a voice. Will you join me?
Erica Nielson blogs about living a life of meaning – with plenty of design and motherhood talk added to the mix – at Let Why Lead. Stop by for regular reminders of the whys of your life.