Comparison Is A Thief

Last weekend the internet rabbit trail lead me to a handful of new-to-me blogs. I found myself particularly enamored with one blog, a family of three, just like mine. The author was beautiful, talented and a fabulous writer. I started combing through her blog, clicking on one post after another, gobbling up her photos, words and stories.

Pretty quickly I became jealous of her. I didn't notice it at first, but it started out with this icky feeling about myself, not liking how I dress, my photography skills, my writing and even my hair. I started wishing I had long, wavy blonde hair, a Scandinavian-designed house, and that I wore bohemian frocks with chunky leather belts and headbands. She was so beautiful and I was so plain. She was artistic and creative and not only did she produce beautiful artwork, she took beautiful photographs of it with her beautiful kids and their beautiful similes and their beautiful clothing. If there was any doubt in your mind, let me tell you, it was all just beautiful.

But I've been in blogland long enough to fairly quickly  recognize the warning signs of cyber-jealousy. And I've also learned that I can't keep reading a blog like that. As much as I was enamored by this blogger and her fairly large corner of the www, I knew I had to stop reading immediately.

After last week's post asking you all what you'd like to see more of here on OA, many of you asked for my tips on raising children, home decor, quick and easy DIY's, recipes, shopping, style and more. And I have to be honest, I was absolutely floored. I think what I get hung up on is the fact that anyone but my mom and a few of my close friends actually want to hear what I think and how I do things. Over the weekend, I was still mulling over the fact that you all wanted to hear more about how I dress, and what my day looks like, and how I make bread - and I kept thinking about how I must have falsely led all of you on to think that I have any novel ideas to share!
You see, after I read this other blog, I felt like, why would anyone ever want to hear from me? What could I have to offer compared to her? I am plain and uninteresting and my photos are sometimes blown out, and she strings words together on a prettier rope than I ... and as I thought about all her talents and creativity, anything I sort of had to offer quickly became empty, grey, worthless.

Comparison is such a thief. It sneaks in through our weak points takes away all the wonderful, beautiful and good things about ourselves, tells us that those things are nothing compared to what we could be, what we should be. The saying, "Ignorance is bliss" rings so true. I'm pretty content with who I am until I see someone that I deem cooler or more creative or more beautiful than me. And then I don't want to be me any more.

You see, there's a difference in being inspired and being jealous. They both seem to start the same way, you wanting to improve yourself: Style your hair in a different way, attempt to bake a dessert that has more steps than you normally take, or take a risk in decorating your living room by creating an original piece of art that you never would have had you not seen that tutorial. To be inspired by someone is to take what you see in someone and be motivated to try it, and do it in your own way. But if it's jealousy, the line soon becomes blurred as to whether you want to be like that person in some way or if you want to be that person.

And I just want to say, I hope you never feel like that here. I'm a small-town girl, that grew up wearing t-shirts (not the cute kind), too-big of jeans and drove a beater car. I now live in the city and wear more form fitting v-necks, fit-me-decently-well skinny jeans and a car that actually has air conditioning. My material possessions may have changed, but I screw things up all the time. Selling things on Craigslist to make up for bad design decisions, setting off the smoke alarm because I burned something in the oven, and kicking myself for being annoyed that Eli didn't nap as long as I expected. I don't have the all the answers to raising a happy and obedient child, or how to maximize time-management as a SHAM throughout the day, or even know the best kicks to wear when chasing around your kiddos. I'm super normal you guys.  If I can offer you anything, it's the fact that I'm just like you. Heck I'm even a bit nervous to publish this post because I feel like there are a million different ways I could, er, should, take this - finding your identify in Christ, where true joy comes from, how we need to rejoice in the talents of others - ah, so many great places this post could go, giving you hope and encouragement in something that will last beyond this life, but the words for such things aren't coming to me, and I'm just letting the letters fly on the screen as they will. Because I'm not always put together and I don't always have the right answers or things to say! That's why sometimes, I feel like I leave some of my deeper post a little wanting. Because I don't have all the answers yet; I'm figuring out life's messy as I go along - just like everybody else.

I keep thinking of when my dad saw the Pope on Easter Sunday and I was freaking out about it and my Dad just said to me, "Laura, it wasn't that big of deal, he puts his pants on every morning like everyone else."

And so to you I say, "I put my jeggings on every morning, just like all of you."

This will likely never become a place that's picture perfect, and while I do hope to always make it better, I sorta hope there's always something a little imperfect about it.

So to wrap this baby up, here's the mandatory blogger "encouragement nugget" for you today - that I'm sure you already know, but maybe you just need a little reminder: If there's a blog out there that's bugging you but you can't put your finger on it, stop reading it. (Even if it's this one.) If you can't be content with who you are because of something you're subscribing to, get rid of it. If Pinterest is making you feel like a failure, delete it.

That's not to say beautiful, inspirational blogs and Pinterest are not good things. Indeed, they are wonderful things. It's how your heart reacts that will be the judge of if they are good for you. 

Inspiration is not worth jealousy because comparison is a thief. Don't let it rob you. 

4 comments:

  1. Good words! Also you're terrific, but I completely understand how things like this happen. It's so easy to compare and allow yourself to fee inadequate.

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  2. Thanks Melissa - it's so easy to fall into it is right! And what's even harder is pulling myself out of it. It's like if I have my guard up for it, it's a lot easier to stop before it starts, than to allow myself to feel badly and have a long-term pity party. :)

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  3. Ahhhhhhh I DO THIS TOO! I'm constantly comparing myself and judging my own blog against others and never feeling like mine is good enough. Her photos are better, I wanted to blog about that too but she did a better job so I just won't, or she really has figured out how to get her kid to sleep, why can't I be like that? Thank you so much for the reminder. You rock!

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  4. Oh man, the more I share openly about this the more I realize nobody is unaffected! I feel like it's perfectly reasonable that I feel inadequate, but it always surprises me when other people feel that way too - because I think they're amazing they way they are! Like YOU!

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