The last thing I needed for the first 12 months of our eldest daughter’s life was to compare myself and her to other mothers and their babies. Our sweet poppet was super alert, sensitive, very aware of every single sight, sound and movement in her environment. She almost never slept. I couldn’t put her down for a second. She was very “high needs”. You get the idea! It seemed like everyone else I knew with new babes was continuing on with their lives without so much as a hiccup. They were getting good stretches of sleep overnight. They were going to cafes. If it was nap time they’d give their baby an absent minded rock in their pram and they’d drift off to sleep within minutes. I felt like I lived on another planet. When I started down the treacherous path of comparing myself with them, it was honestly torturous and heartbreaking. It took so much mental energy to steer clear of this ready laid trap of comparing. Whenever I proceeded down this path, I soon felt like a failure. I also felt a hideous feeling of resentment towards my daughter. Emotions I didn’t have the time or energy to entertain.
We all know it. We know that comparing ourselves with other people is not only futile, but destructive. In the age of social media though, it can be incredibly difficult to refrain from mentally going down this almost automatic path.
Social media is the perfect construct to enable this destructive thinking pattern. The vast majority of us only post photos on Facebook that are “show and tell” moments. They are the sweet, endearing moments we’ve captured on film, they are the brag moments that we feel proud of, adventurous moments and so on. This is completely fine and normal of course, but let’s remember, it’s not someone’s all day, every day depiction of life. So, consequentially, let’s not compare our own lives to these glimpses of someone else’s.
Not only does it come pretty naturally to compare ourselves with those around us, but the media is constantly throwing their own images and values at us that are designed to further propel us down this path.
On so many levels I want to reject this mentality. I want to reject the act of comparing myself and my life with that of another.
It serves no good purpose.
It is destructive.
It steals peace and joy from my own life.
It can lead to comparing my own children to other children. There’s no way I want to ever embark down this road.
The damage caused by making comparisons is not what I want for my own daughters either. I want them to love their lives, endeavours and bodies. To feel proud of their own achievements. To critically assess what they can change and improve based on their own self reflective judgements.
Comparisons of any kind will leave you feeling resentment, entitled, angry, depressed, failing and bitter.
There’s nothing at all to be gained by comparing our child’s sleeping habits, family holidays, craft activities, weekly meals, daily excursions and so on with those around us.
Making comparisons will steal your joy and inner peace.
Let’s look only at our own accomplishments, family and friends, heart’s desires, things that bring us joy.
Let’s turn our backs on the futile practice of making comparisons.