I began thinking lately about the comparisons we women make with other women. We compare our social media posts, homes, cars, children, husbands, careers, body types — the list goes on. Why do these comparisons often bring us to one of two negative places: pride, or a feeling of failure? Comparison can lead us in many directions, and I want to talk about three of them.
First, pride. Pride can come as we view others through the lens of our own lives — when we hold others to our own standards, judge them based on our circumstances, and, having never “walked a mile in their shoes,” decide we never would have made the same decisions. Therefore, they are deficient in some way. Ugly isn’t it?
Second, failure. We look at our lives and others’ lives through the lens of “social media,” and again, we don’t know the rest of the story. However, because they appear to have it all together, we condemn ourselves in every area imaginable. We tell ourselves if we were just like “her,” our children would be better behaved, we’d have a nicer home and our career would be more exciting and fulfilling. The lies we tell ourselves go on and on, causing us to believe we are a failure.
The twin lies of pride and failure bring out the worst in us and in those around us. We must overcome this deception! To provide more context, I’ll give you the “social media” version of my story. I have a nice home, a nice car, and a husband and children who love me. I’ve been a successful small
business owner for over 40 years and have co-authored two books. I’m involved in nonprofit work and active in my church. However, the real story includes the fact that I do not have a college degree, married straight out of high school, and went through a divorce; my story includes pain, anger, self-doubt, family crisis, rejection, and endless hours of work plus self-denigration for the things I’ve done and have failed to do. What about the fact that I will be 62 this year? There is so much more to my story than just the headlines. The story behind the story is what makes me who I am. It’s what
makes you who you are. That brings me to my third point:
A comparison should bring encouragement. If we are going to compare, and you know we’re all guilty, why not make it positive? Aside from my family and faith, one of my greatest pleasures in life is encouraging others and helping young women see they are good enough and can do and endure difficult things. I believe how we handle life, careers, family, and even aging has a lot to do with our attitude or outlook on life. I was fortunate to grow up with parents who encouraged me with a family slogan of “can’t never could,” which means don’t believe the whispered lies that try to stop you by telling you you’re unable to do something — anything. For many of you, encouragement is a foreign concept.
You did not grow up with encouragement and may never or seldom have received it. I ask you to join me in making a change in the lives of the women around us. When they fall down, let’s tell them they are worth more than their failure costs, encourage them and help them get back up, regardless of why they fell. When their accomplishments far surpass ours, let’s cheer them on and aspire to be the best
version of ourselves possible. When we as women encourage and empower other women to reach their potential, it does something good for us. Encouraging others helps us become the best version of ourselves as we make a difference in the lives of others. Let’s choose to be thankful for the women who have paved our way while we encourage, cheer on, and leave a clear path for those after us to follow.