The Back Story
I’ve always struggled with comparison issues, in all areas of my life. In a recent conversation with my husband about this very blog. He asked me what I wanted to achieve with it.
He asked me what kind of areas I wanted to focus on. I simply answered that whatever I thought about writing about, Raising boys, Autism, Minimalism, Motherhood. There were already so many people doing it better than I could.
He laughed at me.
He said this is where other people would possibly pander to me and say they understand how I felt. That although they like my content, they can understand why I felt the way I did. And why I was letting that hold me back. He said he wouldn’t do that because to quote him “That is ridiculous“.
He basically went on to say that it was an excuse and that there was room for everyone. He made up a story about someone in the future who wanted to write about Autism, would they be told they couldn’t because John Smith wrote a blog about it 300 hundred years ago and noone could ever write about it again. Because that blog covered everything and it was just that awesome?!!
When he was talking to me like that, I couldn’t help but laugh, it sounded absurd. He told me my thoughts weren’t logical. He told me I could write about anything that I wanted to. That I had to choose to believe that my content was worth reading.
Making a change
I am pretty sure you have heard the phrase Comparison is the thief of all Joy. It’s a phrase I have read and heard so many times, but always continued to wade in the murky waters of comparison regardless. This Christmas was all set to be same.
Except I decided to strip back. At first I felt guilty. Guilty that the boys Christmas wouldn’t be as good as it should be. There was also an element of the relatively new acronym F.O.M.O Fear of missing out. There was the fear of judgement. Would others think I was an awful Mother?
As I scrolled through Instagram and saw all these children enjoying the festive season with advent calendars, trips to visit Santa and Elves on the shelves getting up to all sorts. I did wonder if I were ruining Christmas, by losing the fun and magic.
Then I started questioning who I would be doing those things for? Me? The boys? Instagram?? Then I questioned how these things aligned with my values. Advent Calendars don’t do it for me, last year we had a kindness advent calendar and that is something I would like to do again, but this year I just didn’t have it in me to do it.
I’ve always struggled with the whole Santa thing. We don’t tell the boys about the whole naughty and nice bit. Although they hear it from others, far more than they need to. I think this is why Elf on the shelf never really been my cup of tea. Although I do enjoy watching the different things people come up with.
Some people might think I am selfish, that I shouldn’t think about what I want and should focus on making it magical for the boys. That is their opinion and they are entitled to have it. Before if someone said something like that to me, even jokingly it would have got me all in a state. Worrying and comparing myself and it would have got me focusing on a lot of negative feelings. This year I tried something different.
I decided to be confident in my choices and decisions and to stand by them. Instead of comparing my choices to someone else’s, I was happy with mine. I could really appreciate the effort someone had put in and I could see how it would be magical, but I looked through glasses that where no longer tinted with guilt.
What I learnt
On Christmas Day when we were all in our pjs all day. I was able to look at photos of others all dressed up, having a fabulous time and know that I had made the right choice for me and my family. I am planning to take this new way of looking at things into the new year, because even though this Christmas was the simplest, quietest Christmas we have had in a few years. I was truly my most joyous and contented Christmas in a long time.
I think the thing I have learnt is that I can celebrate and support others who are doing bigger and better things than me but that doesn’t mean I have to beat myself with a stick for not being where they are. Also I believe the best way to deal with the comparison trap is to be secure in your own choices.
I am realising if I can not be secure or confident in my choices then are they really the choices I want to make? When I hear the judgemental thoughts and voices I need to understand they often come from within and it is my way of telling myself I am not happy with the way I am doing things. I hope that changing my thought patterns with help me to make 2018 a more joyful and content year.
Does any of this resonate with you? How do you deal with the comparison trap?
Much love and many thanks