We all internalize so much, and especially in today’s highlight reel culture. I’m sure it’s been going on since forever (“Keeping up with the Jones’”), but it’s so much EASIER to see all the great stuff that friends and family present.
Just like family photos, you want to present the best to the world – you don’t proudly show off those shots where hair is messed up, someone is blinking, or there’s a completely weird face in the frame.
I’ve struggled with this comparison-thing for a looooong time. Just ask my Mom. (Hi Mom!) Even in high school, we had long talks about how it wasn’t fair to compare myself to the Whitneys, Kellys, , Allisons, and Beckys. We all have unique contributions and gifts to share. But it’s so dang HARD for me to let that go.
As I’ve gotten older, it’s still there. And social media can be a great tool – easy communication with those loved ones from a distance. Networking. Sharing knowledge. But since we’re all trying to put our best foot forward, it’s so easy to get sucked into the spiral.
I had a couple of small revelations recently. I get sucked into the spiral, so I’m sitting behind this screen thinking “I’m a terrible wife – I never spend quality time with my husband.” “I’m a terrible mother, I’m not enriching James’ days with toddler-appropriate activities.” “I’m a terrible house manager – we’re barely keeping up with NORMAL paperwork.” “I’m a terrible daughter/sister/niece/family member, I never take the time to reach out to the ones I love.” “I’m a terrible custodian of my body – I’m eating bowls of cereal and sitting on the couch instead of working out.” “I’m a terrible photographer – my technique/gear/time management sucks.” There’s a lot more, but that’s a small sampling.
And of course, it’s like spinning plates. Or juggling. Some days – things go well. Some days, it’s only one or two things. Some days, it’s all the things.
But I was kind of shocked to hear that I’m that girl (sometimes).
A friend told me: “Your hair looks beautiful, but then it always does!”
I asked a group for ideas on how to manage the home office/bills/paperwork, and heard, “Jeez, what you already have is way better than what I have now!”
A coworker mentioned they already heard about me from another colleague: “She was so impressed with your knowledge and skills! You’re kind of a celebrity in our class now.”
So, what you’re telling me is… in the midst of all my head spinning self doubt and tormented frustration and shame… I’m actually doing some of the things?
Even though I can’t see it, others can?
Every once in awhile, I’m an example for others?
That’s ridiculous. And ridiculously amazing.
And totally a reminder to myself of two things:
1. I clearly need to be better about speaking up when I see something amazing. We don’t hear these things enough.
2. Other people are seeing me… and even seeing the things I had no idea were there.
I remember this quote I read in early high school. Highly impressionable days: Always remember to be happy because you never know who's falling in love with your smile. Kind of silly… but I think it’s more the idea that I carried with me. Others can so easily see your brilliance… I’ve always been my own biggest critic.
Grace, grace, grace. For myself and for others.