I’ve talked about this in a blog on our marriage site Marriage Life Ministries. But this concept isn’t just for marriages. It translates into all areas of life. We are so prone to comparing ourselves to others in every area:
Job/ job status
You name it.
I recently had a conversation with another mom when we were standing in her kitchen. Her son came barreling in and went to the fridge to get some water. The water went everywhere. I was soooooo impressed with how she responded to him and made some joke about how if it had been me I would have been shouting and throwing the towel and my kid to wipe the mess up! She said something like, “Oh believe me I have my moments.”
She went on to share a story with me of the last time she went to the grocery store. She had all of her kids in tow and was feeling a little overwhelmed and feeling a little guilty about how she was responding to her kids in the frozen food aisle when she came across a mom who was being so kind and gentle with her out of control child. She basically said the same thing to herself that I had said to her. “I wish I was more like that.” But then she stopped herself and said, “I don’t know this woman. I don’t know how she deals with her kids day in and day out. I’m seeing one moment in time. Chances are she yells at her kids just like I do and I’m just never there to see it.”
There are two take-away’s for me from this experience:
1) We tend to act better when we know we’re being watched. We are our better selves when we have an audience. Sad but true. So, maybe we should use that knowledge to just be better people in private. If we know the right way to act and we act that way in the grocery store when 20 people are around us then why can’t we learn how to act like that when its just us and the kids in our living rooms?
2)We think Joe Schmoe has it better than we do. We’re constantly comparing our “behind-the-scene’s with everyone else’s highlight reels.” (Steve Furtick). My friend was right. We don’t have a clue what people’s lives are actually like. We only know what we see, what they choose to share, or what we choose to believe.
The next time I see you yelling at your kids in the frozen food section I promise not to judge. Or think that’s how you always are. And when I see you being the epitemy of the perfect parent, and handling something better than I think I ever can, I promise not to get down on myself and believe that I’m never going to get it right.
So, lets stop killing ourselves and our relationships with comparison. I am the best mom I can be in any given moment. And so are you.
And if I mess up, I have every opportunity to make the next moment better than the last. And so do you.
Basically, I just want to be myself and allow you to be yourself without any of us feeling like we have to be better or different based on what we see someone else doing.
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