Comparison is the thief of joy.
Yesterday I talked to another mom who genuinely hurt my feelings. I often don’t care about what people say, I am my own woman after all, but I was rubbed the wrong way when she told me that the life I display on the internet is a highlight reel.
I was floored. I often don’t display a lot of my personal life on IG. Many times when I am IN it (be it with my son, or my husband) I am truly ALL IN. I try to split the time between work, since I do work on my phone, and family time. So, often, when I do post to social media, it’s a quick snippet.
I spend 3 hours each night carrying my son around because he doesn’t want to be put down. When I do put him down, he cries. So we go on walks. I listen to podcasts or music and I try to get a few steps in while he’s entertained by the passing cars.
Honestly, my life is boring and I don’t post a lot of it because it’s repetitive. I get up, work out, go to work, pick up my kid, make dinner and repeat. Ugh.
I won’t lie, I used to feel the need to compare myself to other women—their bodies, their jobs, their success—but I have become more and more okay with who I am. With the woman I have become. Comparison is the thief of joy, in my opinion, so I’m going to share a few tips and tricks to help you put your mental health first and prevent getting wrapped up in the comparison game.
I’ve said it once and I’ve said it twice, comparison is the thief of joy. Whether we are comparing body type, shape, size, parenthood, jobs, we will always feel inadequate in one way or another to other human beings. It’s essential that as we create and crush goals for ourselves, we only compare them to ourselves (and even that can sometimes be a slippery slope arg!)
Live in the moment and be present IN that moment. Maybe you have a pile of laundry that has been sitting around all day but you just saw someone on IG post that they finished their laundry, FOLDED IT, did the dishes and somehow their baby is down for a nap while they sip on wine… HOW FRUSTRATING if you compare but how LIBERATING if you can just look at your mess, shrug, and get to it when you have the time. Sometimes what is important for someone else at the moment isn’t for us in the moment. And that’s okay.
Know Your Mental Limits
Maybe this pertains to social media again, but it’s important that we take a step away when need be, not just from social media but from anything pertaining to health/wellness/fitness that does not any longer bring us happiness. I, myself, had to take a step back from seeing my weight while I was pregnant because I’d never seen myself gaining so much weight! I compared myself to a girl I knew who only gained 15 lbs while I gained 35. Our mental limit/capacity is our own to set. WE are in control of the content we consume, people we interact with, and habits that we have. Knowing our mental limits allows us to steal back our mental freedom.
Let Go of Guilt: Don’t compare your life to what others think you “should” do.
Living guilt-free is one of the purest forms of self-care that I have worked on over the last year. Allowing myself to take up space, to be authentically me, and not feel the need to always explain the “why” behind my actions is liberating. My constant need to please those around me was frustrating and at times quite stressful because it’s impossible to please everyone you know. What may make one person happy will frustrate another, and at the end of the day, you’re left with only feeling unfulfilled and unhappy in yourself.
Every day, take a moment to do something you WANT to do even if the dishes aren’t done, the laundry isn’t folded and dinner isn’t made. Letting go of the guilt to be what other people “expect” is the most freeing feeling in the world.
Take this from a 28-year-old teacher, who spends her preps grading instead of in the break room. A mom who is taking the year off next year from teaching but will still send her baby to daycare 3 days a week. Take this ALL from a woman who is dropping everything to follow her dreams: don’t let the haters steal your joy.