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    Comparison is the Thief of Joy {F. F. #6}

    This week in a nutshell: planning Minute to Win it activity for my YOUTH GROUP, carrying out said activity for my youth group, Scouts, driving, gymnastics, 3 year old terrorists, Achievement Days (an activity for girls 8-11 in my CHURCH), piano lessons, driving, bottle of bubbles poured on my bed, washing bubbles out of cal-king bedding, cutting out pinewood derby car for Scouts, switching banks, earache, hurtful gossip, piano broken by 3 year old terrorist, trucking, allergies, trucker not home in time for Minute to Win it activity, moody children, grounding of insanely moody children, and spring cleaning/manual labor done by grounded moody children, driving, and did I mention driving? I’m sure there is more that I’ve mentally blocked out.

    I’ve felt completely overwhelmed by the amount of stuff this week. My spirits have been very low and I’ve had to work extra hard to slap on a happy face. I just keep reminding myself that this too shall pass and that women around the world do this same exact kind of stuff every single day. I have to admit, I miss the days of tiny babies, cuddling, reading picture books, diapers, nursing, little feet, lullabies, dimpled hands, and daily walks. I miss the freedom I felt then. When things got hard, I’d pack a diaper bag of snacks, bottles, special toys, and Nanny’s precious blankies, put the munchkins in their car seats, and we’d drive. We took all sorts of adventures…parks, my folk’s place, a meadow up on the mountain, the lakeshore, my aunt’s house for a little naptime crafting… anywhere we wanted to be, and anywhere our car would take us. Now, I spend the majority of the day in the same car, but not for adventures, for running kids to sporting events, lessons, activities, to the store because someone forgot to tell me they needed 24 small green things for class {TODAY!}, to and from the church 6-8 times to drop, pick up, unlock, or teach.  My sorry routine loathing spirit just can’t seem to swallow the taste of it all. From what I’ve been told, it’s only going to get worse so I’ve got to figure out a way to make this work, or at least to ease my resentment of it all. But how? Faking it until I make it, just isn’t working this time!

    It seems like when you are looking for answers, you sometimes find answers to questions you didn’t know you had.

    Sitting in the {once loved and now dreaded} car, waiting to pick up someone from something or other, I perused my Facebook newsfeed. Much to my surprise, the same article from the HUFFINGTON POST was shared at least 10 or 15 times. It talked about how annoyed the writer was with parents “overblowing holidays” and how their overachieving was hurting her kids. It was interesting, because first time through I totally agreed with her. I don’t build Leprechaun traps, we don’t have massive birthday parties, and that Elf on the Shelf dude just plain creeps me out! I don’t DO extravagant holidays, never have, and probably never will. She was right! These overachieving moms are making me look bad! But, the second time reading it, I found myself feeling quite opposite than I had originally. Funny how that happens.

    It planted a funny little thought seed.

    I have been absolutely loving the March theme for my favorite local lifestyle show, STUDIO 5. Their theme this month is CELEBRATE THE SUCCESS OF OTHERS. I have been focusing really hard on this concept with my YOUNG WOMEN for the past few weeks. It never ceases to amaze me how girls compare themselves. “She’s like a model and I have a big nose, and like, seriously, have you seen my feet?” or “I can’t stand here, I look, like, so fat next to you!” {I have actually heard this crap from my girls. Makes me crazy sad! Yeah, and what’s with the word “like”? Like, really?} With nearly 50 girls, 19 that I am specifically teaching, you better believe there is a whole lot of comparison going on! They are left feeling not enough and that’s been weighing heavy on my heart.

    My whole activity this week was based off the idea that we are all individuals with special gifts, talents, strengths, and yes, weaknesses. That we each have individual worth unlike any other’s. This was never more apparent than watching two girls try to accomplish the same task. Each one was given the exact same 5 apples, and asked to stack them vertically. The apples had to stay stacked for at least 3 seconds and it had to be accomplished in 60 seconds. The first girl, a confident, beautiful, talented, popular 13 year old worked so hard at stacking those apples. No matter what she did or how much she focused, she could only get 2 apples to stay stacked. A little while later, a more reserved, and somewhat shy and unsure 14 year old stacked the same 5 apples in 27 seconds. The stack was so sturdy, I was able to pick the entire thing up in the air. Same task, same apples, two different girls, two different outcomes. The object lesson that played out in front of us couldn’t have been more perfect, if I had staged it myself!

    I went home that night and thought a lot about what had happened with those apples. Each of those girls in that group have individual strengths, talents, struggles, and weaknesses. No two are alike. And, yet they compare themselves as if they should be.

    There was my Huffington Post article aha!

    You see, girls don’t grow out of their “not enoughs” they just grow into women with more grown up “not enoughs”. It never changes. Same problem, older girl.

      Comparison is the Thief of Joy {Gypsy Magpie}

    via Fox on the Run

    Why does it matter if someone goes “overboard” for a holiday and you don’t? Does someone else’s talent, skill, hobby, passion, or success subtract from your worth? Are you less because she is who she is?

    The answer is no.

    So, you don’t want to have an Elf on the Shelf! Don’t have one! Last time I checked, nobody was standing next to me with a gun to my head telling me to stick the elf in the flour and make footprints across the counter. If it doesn’t make you happy to make homemade sugar cookies in the shape of Easter bunnies, then don’t. If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing! But, if your sister in law wants to and it makes her happy, then let her, because her cookie frosting skills absolutely do not take away from your amazing story-telling talent.

    Do you get where I am going here?

    It’s easy to look at Facebook, Instagram, blogs, or even over your own fence and feel the envy or guilt creep in. I know I feel it sometimes. I don’t take exotic vacations, I don’t have large perky boobs, I don’t run marathons, I don’t have beautiful brown eyes and gorgeous thick hair, I don’t have a personal trainer, I am HORRIBLE at math, I “squirrel” like no tomorrow, and I rarely say the right thing at the right time…or at any time. But, I do make up silly songs, create, cook, sing campfire songs, build, take adventures, MacGyver stuff that shouldn’t be possible, laugh really loud, lift heavy things, give excellent hugs, and dang it! I am one heck of a snuggler! The trick is learning to celebrate with others without comparing. These aren’t apples to apples, we are talking people. We are unique! So, for heaven’s sakes, celebrate it!

    Be happy for her for what she has accomplished and be happy for what you have done, too.

    One does not take away from the other.

    “When your friends make it, when they’re up there among the stars, celebrate them. Clap, scream your lungs out, cheer… give them more ideas so they can shine even brighter.”

    Stephanie Sheaffer

    via Studio 5

    Let the unsure teenage girl inside you grow into the incredible, talented, gracious, funny, amazing woman that she was meant to be and then ditch the guilt and celebrate.

    So, my favorite thing this week?

    Star   The video created by the staff of Studio 5.

    It’s late, I’m tired, and I can’t seem to get it to embed, so find it

    HERE

    You know, I still don’t have the answer to my first question, but I do know now that it’ll all work out. If comparison truly is the thief of joy, then maybe I need to stop comparing life 3 years ago to life right now.

    Because when it comes down to it, though very different, both are beautiful.

    ** Who will you celebrate the success of today?**

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6 Comments
  • JackiePedersen
    23 March 2013
    Reply

    Wow, did I need this or what? I have had one of those ‘dark ages’ lately, where I can’t stop the toxic comparison-thoughts from filling my head. And IF I’m not comparing, I’m STILL telling myself that I’m not enough. That other moms do it better, that other gals keep their home cleaner, that other wives are hotter, that other runners are stronger, that other teachers are more valuable, that other-girls-with-cute-pixie-cuts pull it off better (because, of course, they’re way skinnier…)…
    You get the idea.
    I don’t know when I’ll get a handle on it, but I know this is one of my big, big lessons in life. And this post helped me focus on it today and picked me up and dusted me off in a much-needed way. So, yeah. Thanks for that.

  • Kyndra Sweat
    3 April 2013
    Reply

    :) Amen! I couldn’t agree more.

  • Heather
    12 April 2013
    Reply

    Loved this. Thanks!

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