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The Comparison Trap

Their kids are so well behaved…

Her husband is so thoughtful ALL THE TIME…

Is their house ever dirty?!

She is always so happy and positive…

Their grass is always greener…

We’ve all fallen victim to the comparison trap. Our mind slips into the poisonous thoughts that compare our lives to others and our joy is robbed. Comparison can twist our beautiful kids, sweet spouses, and cozy homes into plain “not good enough”. Allowing ourselves to get caught up in comparing our lives and families to others slowly changes our happiness into disappointment. 

There have been times I’ve found myself in a puddle by the end of the day. Nothing might have gone terribly wrong at all, yet my views towards what I’d accomplished that day and my life in front of me were down-played. My house wasn’t decked out in IKEA and Anthropologie. We watched too much Daniel Tiger instead of making footprint art and homemade popsicles. My daughter threw more tantrums than the other child during our playdate. My husband was exhausted when he got home from work and didn’t whisper sweet nothings into my ear the moment he saw me.

But why? Why do I feel this way?

Why is our contentment and love and thankfulness for what we have so easily overshadowed?

Unless we’re living in a cave, we’re bombarded by opportunities to compare ourselves to others everyday, especially as moms. The mom guilt we’re all familiar with is constantly trying to peek through at any given chance. We see our friends’ picture perfect posts on social media daily. We see other moms at the store having it totally more together than we do. We scroll through the immaculate lives of Pinterest. We compare the milestones of our children to the milestones of other people’s children. Any time we encounter others, virtually or in person, we have a choice to make–a choice that can make or break our day and our joy…

Find happiness in the little things. And experiences.

Focus on the things that make life worth living (hint: it isn’t the money or the house or the job). Whether it’s your toddler saying “mama,” or that 4 a.m. sleepy newborn smile, or just those little eyes looking up to you, take the time to notice and appreciate those little things. They don’t care about what size jeans you wear, or what decor you have hanging on the walls, or if the popsicles after supper are homemade. Take joy in the simple things, and if you need help finding those, just look through the eyes of your children for a moment.

The Comparison Trap
Life isn’t perfect. People aren’t perfect. Social media is simply a highlight reel.

Behind every picture is a real, messy, life. Just because someone posts a bouquet of flowers from their spouse doesn’t mean they never have to work through problems. Just because someone shares a photo of their kids with perfect smiles, doesn’t mean they don’t pick their noses in public or have meltdowns in the middle of Target sometimes too.

We’re all doing the best we can in this real, perfectly imperfect life, and when you can embrace THAT, happiness will embrace you.


 

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