Well, perhaps not quite that long — before thirteen, all I cared about was swimming, rollerblading around town with my best friends, and getting done with my homework as fast as possible so that I could play with their Barbies.
But somewhere around fourteen, things changed. I went through puberty, started growing curves where most of my friends had none (and not in the desirable places, but in the hip/thigh places), got jiggly in areas that had previously been slim, got acne, and over a period of about six years, gained somehwere around 60 pounds. So, obviously, I started comparing. To my thinner, acne-free, more popular, seemingly happier friends. Friends who complained (and sometimes still complain) about thighs that I wished I had, hair that seemed to always be perfect, skin that was, to me, unblemished.
And then I got married, and started comparing myself to other wives. To my sisters-in-law and my mother-in-law, who are less emotional and much better at cleaning. To my friends, who posted picture-perfect images of their houses with beautiful decorations. To fellow mothers, who still found the time to go to the gym, have coffee dates, have playdates, and somehow stay sane.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained more confidence, but comparison has never stopped. I even started comparing my current pregnancy to my last one; how I was not 174 pounds by this time with Asa; how I was lighter to begin with, how I wasn’t this tired, how I didn’t break out, how I just felt better and looked (to me) better and how much less I am enjoying it this time around, from what my memory tells me.
It’s hard not to compare. Sometimes, comparison can be a good thing — you look up to someone, you want to be like them, you set healthy goals, you make doable changes. But most of the time, it’s not. You compare yourself to celebrities and Pinterest moms and people who obviously have a lot of money, or help, or just set up their homes prior to sharing with the world so that everything looks perfect. You don’t see them in their normal everyday routine, because all that is shared is the pretty things they do.
Even Facebook friends share positive and pretty rather than harried and messy. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, necessarily; I do that, too. And I am okay with friends sharing their positive moments. I like seeing people be happy, love their kids, make pretty things, and have good lives. It’s better to me than seeing people constantly complain about what they have and never strive to make it better. But sometimes, it’s nice to see real, too. The dishes that aren’t done. Wet hair and no makeup. The admission that you’ve lived in yoga pants for the entire week and they have burp-up on them. That you ate ice cream and didn’t go to the gym to work it off.
Target top | Vintage shirt c/o Cut and Chic vintage | thrifted vintage heels, scarf, and belt | antique hat box
Today, I want to break the cycle and stop with the comparing, and I want to encourage you to do the same. What do you love about yourself, your life, your job, your kids, whatever? What is it you have that no one else does? Sure, you might not be the most beautiful, the most successful, the most patient, the most Pinterest-worthy, the most active, but you’re still you. You still have things that someone somewhere is probably looking at and wishing they had. You’ve achieved things that nobody else has. You’ve got talents that are unique to yourself. Dreams that only you dream. And you have the choice to use your life to make someone else’s better.
Here’s to no comparing. Here’s to being yourself and being okay with that. Here’s to being real. Sharing the mess sometimes, just so someone else can realize it’s okay.
What comparison do you find yourself caught up in? Break the cycle.