I recently had a friend say to me when she was visiting, “Vera, you are so perfect, I seriously cannot keep up with you!”
I laughed at her and told her she was being silly. I said, “Trust me, I am not perfect. I am constantly stressed out, with huge tension knots in my back, and I don’t know how to relax and not do anything. I constantly think everything I do is not good enough. Also, I have a short temper.”
We had a good laugh and moved on from that conversation but it got me thinking about friends that I think are “perfect” and I realized that we could do the comparison game all day.
“How can she eat everything and keep fit? I look at food and gain weight.”
“Her house is always so clean while mine is a mess.”
“I wish I could afford that brand of purse she carries.”
“Her kids are so good at this or that.”
“Must be nice she can stay home all day.”
“Her husband makes more money.”
And on and on.
I do this all the time too.
I pretty much had to pull back and re-evaluate how and why I was making the comparisons. I had the realization that while I could compare my life to another person’s, it still wouldn’t be the same even-to-even comparison.
For example, I did the name brand purse comparison. I have been carrying the same purse* I used while we were on vacation and I was eyeballing another friend’s purse and having serious envy. Her purse is what I eventually would like to acquire, but then I began thinking.
First of all, my friend is older than me. She is a young grandmother and she is at a different stage of life than I am. She and her husband work and own a business with dual incomes. We have one income and I’m a stay-at-home mom.
And as I started thinking in the broader sense of comparing, I realized that it’s silly. There’s no “even” way to compare. We are not exact clones of each other. We’re all in different stages of our life. We have good and bad attributes.
Since my friend’s comment at me, I’ve been taking a step back to readjust my attitude and expectations when I feel inadequate or when I start making comparisons. It’s been really helpful.
How do you handle the comparison game?
(*I did buy a new purse, but it’s within our family budget. )