I saw a quote recently that I think really highlights one of the reasons we become so overwhelmed trying to do it all. It was:
Comparison is the thief of joy.
How many tasks, projects, jobs, etc. do we add to our list because we saw someone doing it who looked like they had it all together. How many things do we think we should be doing just because someone else is doing it? We suffer tremendous guilt and stress simply by our habit of comparison.
We human beings (and perhaps women are the worst about it) tend to look at the best in multiple other people and try to duplicate their bests in ourselves. For instance, a woman -- we will call her Sally -- will see a lady with beautiful hair. Sally will then go home, look in the mirror and berate her own hair because it doesn’t look the “Beautiful Hair” lady’s hair. Sally will completely miss the fact that “Beautiful Hair Lady” had thunder thighs and a wart on her nose. Sally will then see “Sexy Leg Lady” and compare her own legs, vowing to start a diet first thing in the morning. She will not even notice that “Sexy Leg Lady” had stringy hair. And this goes on. Sally will only see the other ladies’ best features and her own worst features. No wonder Sally is a little depressed and has a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning.
And it doesn’t stop there. Sally will also see her neighbor’s perfectly dressed children, and think she doesn’t dress her own well enough, ignoring the fact that those same children don’t get along. She will see a friend’s super-smart kid, and wonder why her own pumpkin struggles. If she home-schools, she’s really in for it. Now she will compare everyone else’s curriculum choices and teaching methods with her own. Sally will have a difficult time seeing the good she is doing in her own family because she is too busy comparing herself with what others are doing.
Sally would be much happier, and so would her family, if she spent all that energy learning from others, but not comparing herself to them. She could take the things that would best serve her own family, and simply leave the rest. We each have our own road to walk. What comes easily for one person may be a real struggle for another, and thus, it can be a greater victory for that individual even though they are doing less.
Another great truth that Sally is missing -- “Beautiful Hair Lady” was admiring Sally’s cute nose and “Sexy Leg Lady” was wishing she had Sally’s wisdom and character.
Before we can go very far in defeating the Overwhelm Monster, we first have to slay the Comparison Giant.
But how do you slay the Comparison Giant? The number one way to kill comparison is to be thankful. When you make a conscious effort to look at what you DO have and what you ARE doing, suddenly things don’t seem so bad.
Many years ago, I needed to turn my thinking around in some areas. I did this by starting a Thanksgiving Journal. I would begin and end each day by writing something I was thankful for. Sometimes I would write big things, but more often I wrote about the color of the fall leaves or the smell of freshly cut grass. That year, I learned a valuable lesson. I learned that it is the little things that we take for granted that really add to our happiness. I learned that relationships are far more valuable than outward appearances, and I learned that I had a lot more going for me than I realized. I started that year somewhat of a pessimist. I ended it an optimist. With all that going for me, something was bound to work out.
Tomorrow, I will begin telling you my strategies for defeating the Overwhelm Monster, but today, use your weapon of Thanksgiving to start putting the Comparison Giant in its place. Have a great day! Angela