While I truly do think it would be impossible to get through life (or even one day) without ever comparing yourself, your home, or your life to someone or something, I’m also convinced that so many people today are ruining their own lives by CONSTANTLY comparing themselves to other people’s lives — and only the parts of other’s lives they can see.
Yes, some comparison is healthy (in my opinion) — it motivates us to do better and try harder. Competition is just part of human nature… and I don’t necessarily think that’s bad.
However, when the competition and comparison begin to consume our thought process, create obsessive behavior, or even cause depression, it has gone too far.
Based on what I do for a living, I have a fair amount of interaction with people I’ve never met before, via email, blog comments, social media, etc. Most of these people only know what they read and see on my blog — and while I am always truthful on my blog and don’t try to put up a front or pretend to be someone I’m not, there is NO WAY I can expose all facets of my life, my personality, my home, etc. It’s just not possible online.
So you only see what I post — which is everything I’m fairly good at and passionate about.
- I love cleaning — seriously, I actually enjoy it
- I get a little “high” from just about any organizing project
- I thrive off finding a simpler, better, more efficient way to do anything
- I enjoy cooking, baking, canning, preserving, freezer cooking, and almost everything else in the kitchen (besides cleaning out the dishwasher!)
- I love working in my yard
- I choose to do house and yard projects in my free time — because those are the types of activities I enjoy most
- I look forward to planning my menu, writing out my weekly and daily to-dos, and figuring out just exactly how I’ll fit everything I want to do into the given day or week ahead.
Maybe that sounds SO ridiculously weird, strange, and abnormal to you… but that’s why it’s relatively easy for me to maintain a fairly neat, clean, and orderly home almost all the time. That’s why I’m always on-time (even with 3 kids), that’s why my freezer is stocked, and that’s why we can host a last-minute party with little to no effort.
It’s not that my life is so much better or more “put together” than anyone else’s life — it’s simply that my job is to share the parts of my life that ARE generally quite put together…. so that’s what YOU see.
After all, would you really want to read a blog about simplifying, cleaning, organizing, and time management from someone who never cooked or cleaned, was always late to everything, and hated all domestic activities?
I know I wouldn’t!
I get SOOOOOOO many emails from readers — the vast majority of which are extremely positive, sharing how my posts have motivated them to tackle a big home project, organize their kids’ closet, finally start cooking more at home, or simply wake up 15 minutes earlier to get a jump start on their day.
I love these emails!
However, some of the emails are from women trying really hard to ‘get it together’ when it comes to their home life. They desperately want to be more organized, to get their finances in order, and to be on time for anything… but they aren’t succeeding.
They email me wondering “how I do it” with 3 kids and while being pregnant. They want to know any hidden secrets I have or any magical tips that will turn them into me (at least when it comes to cleaning and organizing!)
What these women often fail to realize is how different our lives most likely are — as well as all the things THEY DO that I DON’T.
- Some of them cook everything from scratch because of severe allergies in their family
- Some of them are huge fitness buffs and exercise regularly for extended periods every day
- Many of them work full time (or more than full time) outside the home
- Some are single parents (who also work outside the home)
- Many of them don’t have family members or close friends nearby to help with children or just give moral support
- Some of them love doing massive amounts of volunteer work for their churches, schools, communities, etc.
- Many of them homeschool multiple children while also working part time from home
- Some of them care for (and live with) grandchildren, aging parents, a chronically ill spouse or children
- Most of them live in areas of the country or the world where the cost of living is significantly higher than where I live — causing extra financial strain on their lives
- Almost all of them have completely different personalities and priorities than I do (which isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s a huge factor)
So you see, these women are comparing one part of their lives with one part of my life — and it just so happens to be the part of my life that I have “together” and that I’m pretty good at!
A few months ago, Dave and I had a good laugh over an email I got explaining that this particular person was unfollowing my blog because she couldn’t stand how I always “pretended to have my entire life put together”.
I’m not sure… but the last I checked, I’ve never pretended or claimed to have my entire life put together. Yes, I will truthfully tell you that my home is almost always neat and clean, my menu is almost always planned, my freezer is almost always stocked, my laundry is almost always under control, and my yard is almost always blooming; but I don’t think that means my entire life is put together.
It just means that I refuse to share every single detail of my life or bemoan all the areas of my life I’d like to improve — which I consider perfectly acceptable and healthy.
Just think about it… would you be upset if your child’s teacher didn’t share every detail of her home life with you? Would you be upset if your plumber didn’t go into detail about all his failures and shortcomings? Would you be annoyed if your financial advisor didn’t list off everything she/he can’t do?
I have a feeling you’d be happy as long as your child is learning, your plumbing problems are fixed, and your financial advice is sound and reliable.
Similarly, people do not come to my blog to read about my lack of exercise routine, my lack of culture, or the fact that I have very little knowledge about travel, fashion, pets, or beauty (to name a few). People come to my blog to read tips to simplify, to get more organized, to spend less time in the kitchen, to be frugal without much effort, and maybe see a few cute pictures of my kids!
That’s what I’M good at!
And honestly, I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to admit I make a living doing something I’m good at and something I’m passionate about (after all, think how many people in this world proudly make a living doing something they are good at and passionate about!)
If simplifying, organizing, time management, and productivity are not your strong points but you’re trying to get better, then by all means, keep reading my blog and one of these days, something I write will hopefully work for you!
However, please keep in mind that YOU are most likely talented in so many different ways than I am — and just because you’re not as neat or organized or punctual as I am doesn’t mean you’re a failure at life!
Don’t waste too much time feeling bad that ONE part of your life doesn’t completely match up with ONE part of my life (or whose ever life you’re comparing to).
Definitely keep working towards improving the areas of your life you’d like to improve, but don’t forget to also enjoy the areas of your life you already excel in and the things you are already passionate about.
I promise, you’ll be so much happier!