I know better than to compare my one little life to the clearly much easier lives my friends (and various friendly looking strangers) are living.
I mean, I know better than to believe they’re all sipping lemonade by a pool and feeling fulfilled while I am trying to simultaneously calm a howling preschooler and scrub a mystery spot off the kitchen floor. I KNOW.
It’s not just that I think everyone is probably out there having all the fun (though they MIGHT BE), it’s that I suspect they’ve all discovered the secrets of the universe without me.
How to be perpetually confident and relaxed while cultivating deep, meaningful relationships and wearing matching clothes. How to maintain inner peace in the face of passive-aggressive text messages. How to juggle a mountain of laundry, grocery shopping, and a kiddo with the stomach flu. That kind of thing.
I know better than to compare.
I know better than to compare. Comparing shrinks the other person down to the size of an Instagram square. It crops out all their imperfect humanity.
And anyway, my heart says, Do your own thing.
Of course, then my head says, Yeah, but have you seen what your neighbor is doing?
I have! I have seen. And who is my neighbor? Thanks to the internet and an inclusive mindset, my neighbor is EVERYONE.
I can’t do it all.
I can’t do it all. I know I can’t do it all. I don’t believe in doing it all, and I don’t believe in comparing.
And yet this does not really help me at 3:00am when I am stuck in Crazy Head. (That is a technical term for insomnia-induced anxiety.)
I have exactly one trick for dealing with all this. I ask myself: What would I do if I were being my best self right now? And then I do that.
Sounds simple, right? It’s the ACTUALLY DOING IT part that takes practice.
We’re talking more about all of that over at Simple Homeschool. Don’t worry, it works even if you’re not a homeschooling kind of person.
Try it next time you’re tempted to compare.
Everyone else is playing games I do not own and reading books I haven’t read. Everyone else is at a conference I did not attend. Everyone else knows what they’re doing! It’s not even hard for everyone else! I can tell because I follow them on Instagram …
That’s how comparing works: we compare everything we know about our own lives to the tiny little bits and pieces we can see of everyone else’s. Oddly enough, this hardly ever leaves us feeling affirmed at the core of our being.