This is not a math lesson, this is a lesson in comparison and how I feel about where I am. And why you need to reassess where you think you are, too.
All too often we compare ourselves to those around us. And in these days of social media and phones by our sides all day, every day, it’s always staring us right in the face; a digital reminder og where we are at in the grand scheme of life.
We are bombarded by everyone’s best version of themselves, shown through the filters of Instagram and Facebook. The neatly styled corners of their homes, wardrobes, work and life. And its hard not to compare. Really hard. Someone else’s vacation was better than where we went, their house is bigger, prettier and more current. Her wardrobe looks so good on her thin frame and their car is newer, fancier and better. She seems to be going places in her career, that Facebook page has more followers and her Instagram post has way more engagement than mine. See? We are constantly fed a filtered glimpse into other people’s lives.
This has been on my mind lately. I looked at my shower floor the other morning and wondered if other people have a hairball, clumps of soggy soap and a razor begging for attention. The kitchen is barely functional for the stuff piled on every available horizontal surface. The laundry is gathering wrinkles in the back bedroom while I frantically get my children out the door, hoping they have what they need for their field trip to the beach. Greeting me outside is a lawn that could be made into a hay field, shutters that need to be painted and a barn that is crying for some tidying and a good sweep. This is my reality. I barely have time to take it in as I scurry to get myself out the door for the day. Throw into that a blog hop with fellow bloggers that I yet again managed to mess up and social media posts that seem to be flopping.
But what did I show you? A peaceful scene on a beach from a month ago. Not my kitchen, not my yard. Certainly not my shower floor. I didn’t show you my reality. So, really, what you saw wasn’t real. It’s what I’m choosing to put out there for the world to see. I show you the pretty while the reality or behind the scenes is very real and not at all pretty. AND WE ALL DO IT! And accept everyone’s posts as their reality. But is it? No. It isn’t.
There are times that I feel like I am doing a half-assed job of 20 things and not giving 100% to any one task at hand. Not my mothering, not my work, not my home, not my friends and not even me. But I see how well everyone else manages to get through life…or appears to…
So, where does this leave me? I could wallow in my ‘less than’ and self-pity. And yes, I have let myself put my head down and have a little cry but I don’t stay there. I am more than my house or my blog or the number on the scale or the number of followers on any given social media platform or the balance of my bank account or the items crossed off (or not crossed off) my to-do list. I am more than what I find in those comparisons.
That elusive word ‘Balance’ comes into play. How do I find that balance in my current stage of life/family/career? I let go of some of the things and I hold tighter to others. I prioritize, I make lists and I seek out help. I realize that where I am today is because of my yesterdays and not where I need to be tomorrow. What my reality is today doesn’t mean I’m tied to that for tomorrow. I have a choice every morning, every day, every minute of where I want to be. Maybe not physically but for sure mentally. I can let comparison steal my joy or I can be thankful for where I am today.
Where am I today? Well, let’s have a look, shall we? Two years ago I didn’t have a blogging tribe to even do a hop with. I may not be my ideal weight but I’m healthy. My children are wonderful little humans whose company I enjoy and they’re healthy, too. My husband makes me smile and I know without a doubt he loves me. I enjoy my house, mess and all. I have friends and family who offer their support and friendship to me on a daily basis. And I’m carving out time for myself to grow creatively and artistically.
And dear readers and followers, please don’t compare your today to my today. We are all at different places and stages in our lives. I’m not less than nor am I more than you. You are not less than nor are you more than me. I am me, living my best life with where I am today, so you best be you, living your best life. And my gifts and talents are not your gifts and talents.
Someone said, in one of the podcasts I’ve been listening to, not to compare your Chapter 1 with someone else’s Chapter 15. We are all at different stages and places in this journey of life. Wake up each day determined to do the best you can with what you have to work with. And if you feel like you failed today, try again tomorrow. Every day can’t be filled with sunshine and lollipops, but remember the sun does shine again after the rain.
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms” ~ Zen Shin
I share pictures of my life as seen through my lens. I tend to shoot close. There are two reasons I shoot close. One being that, yes, it hides the background and usually the mess. I’m not going to lie, I hide the messy bits of my life on social media. The other reason is so we/I can focus on the little details and take joy in them. The swirl of frost, the curve of a petal, the freckles dancing across a cheek bone. If I trust you with my reality, I’ll span out. I’ll show you the soggy soap and the shaggy lawn. Those messy bits are there, trust me. Just like I know that you have them, too, and I hope you have people in your life that you can trust with those bits, too. Your real bits of reality, the messy parts, the hurt and scarred bits. Find your people and let them love you.
To be continued,