Recently, with moving back to our home state, I have had the opportunity to re-connect with my best friend Alyssa! How awesome is that, right?? We have been friends since we were sixteen, faced ups and downs together, and we were each other’s brides maids! Now, at the age of 23, we get to experience adulthood together, and she gets to laugh at all my not so great mom moments. It is so great to re-connect with her, and to catch up! I even got to be here for her brother’s mission farewell!
I also have had the opportunity to run into someone I haven’t seen since Highschool. You see, the other night at work, I ran into a friend from high school who I haven’t seen in years. We talked and caught up a little bit, but I couldn’t help but feel completely inadequate. There I was, working fast food, and not going to school, where this other person was going to school! The biggest changes I have experienced are marriage and a son! Those are huge changes that normally I am super proud of! But, seeing people I have known for years doing amazing things in their life, and graduating college, leaves me feeling like I am stuck in the same place and feeling very inadequate.
I was thinking about that a lot this weekend actually. Feeling inadequate. When was the last time I didn’t look at myself with a criticizing eye? When was the last time you did that? I know that the first time I went to hang out with Alyssa after our move I was so nervous, and I doubted myself. I didn’t like my hair. My straightener had legitimately burned off a section of my bangs, and Alyssa does hair for a living, so you can bet your butt I was feeling self conscious! I was feeling self conscious about my body, because I haven’t been to the gym in what feels like forever, but is really only a month. I haven’t been able to finish school yet, and I’m broke. (Basically I could make a list of all the things I think are wrong with me, and it would probably never end.)
I had this image in my mind that my best friend was perfect and I was this frazzled mess, who wasn’t doing anything with her life. But that all changed when we got dinner! We sat, we talked, and it was great! Just like old times! And the best part? We are both human, dealing with our own separate challenges that, while different, are still challenges to us individually. (And, to point out to you, and to myself, raising a family is not nothing. Raising a family is, in my opinion, everything! Sometimes I just need to be reminded.) I was seriously nervous and freaking out for absolutely nothing, as is usual.
This whole week really had me thinking: Why do we compare ourselves to others? What ever happened to being different, and being okay with it? When was the last time you didn’t compare yourself to someone?? I’m not talking about big things either, I am also talking about small things, like hair, nails, make up, clothing, etc. An example of small would be when I see someone with perfectly manicured nails, I just want to hide my hands because my nails are not pretty. I bite my nails when I get nervous, and because of that, a professional manicure makes me a little uncomfortable. But why is that a big deal? Why should I compare? I’ll tell you, it’s not, and I shouldn’t. And neither should you! Don’t sell yourself short! Just because you are different, doesn’t make you less. I feel like that is something that a lot of people (including myself) hear constantly, but don’t always fully understand or apply.
Last night at work, some co-workers and I were talking about life choices. We were talking about how everyone does different things in life and it’s their choice to make. I made the comment that we shouldn’t care what other people think, and that if others judge, it’s on them. My friend then said “Hey Heather, when is the last time you took your own advice?” That comment stopped me in my tracks. When was the last time I did something without fear of being judged? When was the last time I didn’t compare myself to someone else?
Please, please don’t feel inadequate ever, ever, ever! And don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t be afraid of judgement either! Live your life, make your own choices, and if someone wants to judge you, it is on them. Be an encourager. The world has enough critics already. And I do mean that, not just about others, but also about yourself. Try your very hardest to go a day without comparing yourself to others, and to encourage yourself. The world is full of people who are going to put you down, don’t do that to yourself too.
Dare to stand alone. Dare to be different. That is totally okay! And try to keep in mind that you are never alone in being uniquely you! There is always someone there to support you, whether it is a friend, relative, or spouse. There is a video that always gives me the feels when I watch it. It talks about daring to stand alone, and daring to be different. It also talks about how we are never alone in being different. It is religious, but that is okay, because being religious makes me different! 😉
So please, don’t compare yourselves to others, and don’t judge yourself so harshly. And if you ever find yourself doing so, or feeling inadequate, remember you have friends and family to support you.
While I am far from great at taking my own advice, I can honestly say that this is one thing that my husband and and I plan on working on together, because it is something we both do.