Have you ever been in a conversation where the other person professes to be an expert on a subject and all of a sudden you start feeling a bit insecure about your own feelings or beliefs on the matter? About an issue you’ve never even thought twice about? I walk away from these moments questioning my belief even though I know I felt firm in my conviction prior to the conversation.
They say comparison is the thief of joy. Once I became a mother, this rang even more true. There are countless ways to compare babies. There are all of the early milestones, of course, (that they do in their own time!) and also how good (or bad) of an eater they are. Then there’s the sleep issue – oh, the sleep issue. I remember my midwife telling me in my first pregnancy that all anyone will ever ask me once the baby comes is “how is she sleeping” or “is she sleeping through the night?” I had no idea! She was exactly right. I have always thought it’s the strangest thing people ask me.
One of my good friends shared with me she felt robbed of a whole week of her 7-week-old baby’s life because she kept comparing him to other babies who were smiling when he wasn’t yet. She couldn’t stop googling to see at what age babies typically smiled. She knew her son was even sensing her dismay and as a result, probably wasn’t smiling because Mom wasn’t relaxed and happy. Talk about comparison robbing us of joy!
We compare everything from income level to job title to material possessions to skills – you name it. None of it really matters – it’s all wasted energy. Because, guess what – even if you have all of that, there will always be someone with “more” than you in that department. Besides, everyone has a unique set of skills and life experience, which is a beautiful thing.
Oftentimes, we are comparing to something that is not reality anyway. We may see a snapshot on Facebook or Instagram but we have to remember it is just a sliver of that person’s life. Everyone is human and has their share of bad days. It’s so hard to remind ourselves when we see a picture, it is just that – a simple moment in time.
The birth of my first child didn’t go anywhere near how I had planned it out in my head. I know many women who have had their babies exactly how their birth plan dictated. It’s easy to compare and think why didn’t things go my way? But I’m a firm believer that there is a learning experience in every season and experience of life. Plus, the way things unfold is what makes it my story. Over time, I have started to appreciate the details that make my journey unique.
I’ve realized nothing positive can come from comparing myself to others. There is a danger in not only feeling inferior but also, maybe a tad superior. Besides that, it’s exhausting – and isn’t life tiring enough as it is?