23 Dec The problem with comparison
I’ve been teetering between the two lines of loving or hating social media. Social media can be a great thing. It’s such a wonderful way to connect and get a glimpse into peoples lives but it also can be too much shouting of opinions, nonsense posts and in general, a waste of time. I think I started to feel overwhelmed during election season…
Didn’t we all?
As a mother, sometimes social media causes me to slip up and fall into the trap of comparison. I’ve been meditating on this for a while now. Why do I struggle with certain inner feelings or insecurities based on social media glimpses or even social gathering glimpses (ie. A friend is over and their child behaves in an awesome way).
Some people have called Facebook “FAKEBOOK” because it doesn’t give an accurate, full view of our lives. It can be filtered and posts are framed in a positive way. Although I agree with aspects of this, I think any part of social meetings can have these illusions. We never really get a full picture of someone’s life.
Here’s the thing. When we as women meet together, talk together, instagram and facebook together- basically intertwine in each other’s lives, this often times causes us to compare. And comparison many times causes us to judge or feel guilt.
Why is there kid doing that?
Why doesn’t my kid do that?
My kids are so good compared to hers.
I wish my kids were more like hers.
I should do more holiday traditions.
Why does she waste all her time doing all those things?
She only cares about her job and not her home.
Her house is a wreck, what does she do all day?
This is the start of what we know in our culture as: Mom and Woman wars.
Just this holiday season I was feeling guilty that we don’t have more traditions. We have some but they’ve shifted and changed with life… I saw so many great posts and articles, I was asking myself “Why don’t you do that” or “This is a great idea, I need to start this.” etc, etc.
But, then I stopped myself and asked “What’s my goal with holidays?”. My answer was pretty simple and clear: “That my family is intentionally connected, that we make memories and that we have an even balance of Jesus and silly fun.” Once I identified my goals, I had to remember that how I decide my family comes about this goal has to be in our lane and with what works for us. So I didn’t add anything extra that I was seeing all over the internet, I just tried to be intentional with the time, space and things we had carved out.
I find this struggle of comparison can come with EVERYTHING that we see and like in others lives. It happens with a schedule, craft, meal plan, discipline chart, academic goal and on and on. What we fail to remember though, is that each of these items has to have a manager. We are that manager. And before we go throwing more things in an attempt to “better our lives”, we must think through our own families, gifts, weakness’s, needs and resources. Then we can decide, is this something that can be of true value for my family and how can I pull it off in my lane.
There’s also the dark side comparison. Sometimes comparison moves us to guilt reactions but it also leads to judgment. Many times we look at someone’s life and draw all sorts of conclusions. This many times creates gossip and destroys versus bringing life. Is it possible to pass judgment in a life giving way? To look at another’s decisions and form an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought. Forming a discerning thought on someone else choices or decision is not wrong. Sometimes I see things that I wouldn’t do, decisions in mothering and life. This is OK. However, I believe it is a defining character quality of a Christian woman to handle this in a way that is honorable.
Comparison is isolating. My goal in the New Year is to be inspired by the things I see instead of feeling insecure which can cause guilt and condescending judgment. I want to take that inspiration and do one of these things.
– Appreciate its beauty and walk away. Many times no is the right answer to something I see but I can still admire the creativity.
– Figure out how it fits in my lane. How can I adapt what I’m inspired by to fit in my lane? IE. Healthy eating is important whether you cook or meal plan. If you don’t do either of these, what are tangible ways you can make your family eat healthier that work for you.
– Pass healthy judgment without acting or speaking negatively. To focus on understanding others life stories and never using slander or gossip.
I am committed to staying on track with our family goals and what our family about. This will help me guard my heart from unhealthy comparison and move me to be fully who I am created to be.