This won’t be a polished article.
I have just a few minutes while my husband is hanging with my kids before bedtime and I have something so strong on my heart I have to share it with you.
Comparing your life with others will suck all the joy out of it.
A few days ago I opened an email from a woman in the book publishing world. She mentioned a client of hers just got a book deal and went on to say that she was a mother of 5 and her book was about mothering. I felt my body tighten up and that familiar feel in my chest closing in.
Immediately my thoughts starting spiraling about how someone else had “gotten their first.” I felt the drop in my heart of self doubt, and the thoughts came rushing in.
“What do I have to say that is new?
“Who am I to be writing a book?”
“Why do I presume my experience or insight could be of any use in the world? ”
By the time my book comes out, we’ll all be exhausted of this topic.”
That is the thing about comparing ourselves to the good in others. It strips you of enjoying your life. A moment ago you were doing fine. You were having a good day. You were feeling good and inspired about your work. You were feeling grateful for so many gifts in your life.
And in a hot second it can all flip on its head.
This happens to me in so many ways. I can find myself literally stunned at my thoughts sometimes. Like when I’m out with my kids and I happen to see another mom getting on with grace and calm- I’ve caught myself making all sorts of comparisons…”Oh well, looks like she only has 1 child- I’d be calm like that if I only had one.” “Her oldest is a girl, they have such a different energy- no wonder my gang is out of control.”
It’s craziness to me that I can think these insane thoughts, but there you have it, I do- and I suspect we all do, too.
All of a sudden I’m swept into a world where my life is lacking and less than…and the thing is I wasn’t having a hard time a moment before that.
The only thing that changed was my thoughts turned toward comparing and competing.
It amazes me how fast we can fall down that rabbit hole.
The good news is that you can flip it right back- and that is the practice we must get into if we are going to master our minds.
Just like bathing, retraining your thoughts is a daily thing (or moment by moment thing if you have runaway thoughts like me 😉 )
And so once I caught what was going on in my mind I paused and took a deep breath and then imagined what would it look like if truly, TRULY every single success of another mama out there literally lifted ME and all the other mamas up at the same time.
What if THAT were the truth instead of competition and comparison?
When I asked myself to consider an alternative reality I had such a gorgeous image pop into my mind. I imagined what could happen if a group of mama authors came together in grand collaboration in an abundance mindset instead of keeping ourselves isolated and full of scarcity thinking. I got so excited with visions that I spent 15 minutes jotting down ideas in my notebook.
Stay in your own lane, mama.
Keep your eyes on your own gorgeous life. This is your race, this is your beloved journey, this is your trek to the mountain top.
And as you rise you will lift us all with you.
No one can offer your gifts, no one can tell your story, but you.
I believe it’s part of our inner wisdom as a woman to know the way in which everyone wins. To break through the old paradigm that says for one person to gain another must lose. Women have shown through centuries that we see a different path. We hold value and prosperity in the same hands and we see how they spur each other forward.
This is what has been on my heart today, dear ones. If it resonates and you find a space in your own life where comparison is eating at the roots of your peace- shine a light there. Replace it with truth and life today and watch us all benefit from your rising.
As always, I would love LOVE to hear from you in the comments. Did this strike you at all? Do you find yourself slipping into comparison and competition?
Please also share this with your community if you think someone may find value in it today.
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Yes, yes, yes! and wow – Lisa, this is so true (for me), moving, and real.
Thank you for saying it out loud, for presencing where we go (the reactions you describe resonate so deeply), and then the vision of what we can do together.
Mmm…yes, saying it out loud takes the charge away and allows us to choose a different path, don’t you think? Thank YOU for being here, Natanya 🙂
Um…hell yes I can relate! I feel it in my body too. A tightening of my stomach quickly leads to a shrinking of my confidence. Reading your words brings comfort to my soul.
Thank you for offering your voice…your story is a gift!
I SO appreciate your honesty about how the challenge of comparison affects us, and how it can quickly spiral out of control. I find that when I’m comparing myself to someone else, if I’m honest with myself, it’s usually because I haven’t been doing my “best” in that particular area. When I’m doing and being my “best” at something (ex-mothering, working in my business, etc.), then I don’t feel that comparison creeping in. I can feel happy for the other person and recognize that I’m different from them (and that’s okay), because I’ve already given my personal best in that area. Not sure if that makes sense, but I find that it works for me.
Milissa- love your insight here- I think you are tapping into something so important. When we measure ourselves against our own personal best and feel we are showing up in life and giving what we truly have – we can shift into deeper confidence in who we are and “stay in our own lane”. Beautiful.
Good, good stuff….
Yes, Lisa! Beautifully insightful and I already love the ideas in your notebook 🙂
How DID you know you showed up in the notebook, Wokie?!?
Yep, comparing and striving to outshine someone else leaves you feeling defeated. But it is hard to remember in the midst of working it all out. Thanks for sharing this, your heart is amazing 🙂
Thank you for this. I as the old mother on the block am still dealing with this on a constant basis. I now have grandchildren and just tonite compared them to a young friends child. I was as I always did when I compared my own clear that it was not one better or one worse. I compare. In this case an active to an academic. It is much harder for me when it is myself. I’m to fat, to old, to stupid, and many more. I hope the girls of today in your group learn sooner than me. At 55 I’m still at the top of the bell curve. Or is that the bottom? I will be passing this along to a few friends that I know will benefit from reading it also to my child. She writes a mom blog. I’m very proud of her and don’t feel she has anything to feel inferior about. But I’m the mama.
Thank you for sharing, Melody…it is a journey for sure, so important to slather our steps in grace along the way 🙂
Thank you for sharing this. I struggle a lot with this too! It helps to know I’m not the only one 🙂
Thank you. This spoke to my soul as it did to so many others. It is related to our own shame, our own brokeness, this constant comparison to others. If we try to find our worth in comparisons, we will always feel less than we really are. Thanks for the reminder.
Boy, you were speaking to me this week. I had these same moments all week as I deal with my sick children and my serious lack of sleep. I was super motivated last week and watched a webinar someone was doing similar to my business and felt crushed that what I was working on was not out yet and would anyone want it after she was so well received or would they think I had copied her even though I was working on this for months. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone in these feelings and experiences. You are awesome!
Denise, oh yes, how I relate. YOU, mama are awesome too!!
Mark Twain said (or wrote), “Comparison is the death of joy.” My pastor recently noted in a sermon that–envy robs us of God’s plan for our lives. Your message is directly in line with these thoughts.
Tara- I forgot about that quote- yes, love it and so true.
This is a growth area for me too…although my turnaround time is getting super fast! 😉 Funny thing is that my first thought – before I quickly moved to “yes, it’s possible for all of us” was – how could she do that with 5 kids when I often struggle with TWO?! 🙂 Big Hugs!! There is no other Lisa Grace Byrne doing what you do! And yes…let us all celebrate the positive changes we’re making collectively and as individuals.
A good reminder, that each of us is on a journey. We are just all at a different place.
Reminds me of Brene Browns writing on living Wholeheartedly. Comparisons really bring out the vulnerable side of us. Its wonderful how you reframed it to the both delight in others success and compassion. Its a daily struggle and sometimes moment to moment one to remember to be compassionate with myself and reframe to allow myself to soar and live wholeheartedly. It takes so much courage to live with joy and is so worth it.
SO GOOD to hear today.
somewhere i read (cannot remember where!!) “the reason we feel insecure is because we are comparing our ‘behind-the-scenes’ with someone else’s highlight reel”!!
i find with myself that i tend is to fill in the details of that “unknown mother with five kids” giving her all the strengths, where i feel i’m lacking: i’m sure she has very organised house, her kids never fight, she’s always in control, etc
such a good perspective to choose to see how if someone overcomes or win in an area it is a win for every one instead of being threatened by it!
yes “keeping to my own lane” and remembering that God has a unique plan for my life, helps me to keep focused
thank you so much for this. actually started writing a post about this a while ago and never posted…gonna go and do so now! (and share a link to this one)
looking forward to next year’s journey in the mother lode course!!!!!!!!!
I also feel that I tend to think “if I can’t be really successful/great/ or be acknowledged for something eg taking my photography from hobby to creative career. Then maybe I shouldn’t even try! Crazy I know as everyone has to start somewhere.
This very day, I overheard one preschooler momma say to another, “thank you for the Mickey Mouse cake you made for our daughter’s birthday party! It was so nice, how ever did you do the icing and make it so smooth?” I began asking myself as I sat in the school hallway waiting for one of my children in the same class, why don’t I have a stay-at-home business like her since I’m home with my three kids? What can I do? This momma makes cakes, the other one is a photographer …what am I?
Then God reminded me within this very morning, that I have businesses that I’ve put on hold because of recent health struggles. I am trained in recreational therapy. I am trained as a reflexololgy and body alignment practitioner. I am trained as a holistic health coach. But after having 3 babies in 4 years, I’m struggling to put it all together–my life, my home, my kids, my sleep habits, and in the midst of it all, my body is screaming at me! Fibroids! Cysts! Fatigue! So, here I am, comparing myself one moment, and in the next I’m “slathering myself with grace” as you call it.
The gifts and qualifications I have are still very much like a “lady in waiting”, just given the right God-appointed time and I will have the chance to continue serving others with those gifts. Until that time, I am resting, waiting and healing in Jesus’ name as He strengthens my body & spirit with His word; and I am committed to helpful food choices, gentle exercise and right living. Who am I to compare myself with others? In this I have sinned, for I am fearfully & wonderfully made.
Lisa, Your comments rang so true with me when I first saw them on Friday. It seemed as if you had looked into my life and written the first few paragraphs from my personal experience and thoughts earlier that week. It has taken me this long to get back to reading through your whole article. We are each given our life to live, not someone else’s. We have our talents/gifts/journey that we are to live and use where we are, not where someone else is or compared with them. Thank you for all you are doing in using your moments and life to bless us, and still do the work set before you in your family. You are doing a good thing! Even if what you say may not seem to be original to you, you are sharing it in your original way and it is an encouraging and challenging those of use who listen.