Sunday, July 7, 2013

I AM Enough

For most of my life, I've felt less than, like who I am wasn't enough. I spent my time as a teenager and young adult comparing myself to everyone else.
  • "I'm not as pretty as ____."
  • "I'm not as popular as ____."
  • "I'm not as smart as ____."
These things and others like them would echo through my head all day long. Looking in the mirror, I immediately saw all my flaws and imperfections. This lack of self-esteem and self-confidence led me to look for acceptance in some very unhealthy ways. I was a wreck, and I was miserable.

After getting married and having children, I no longer worried about if I was as pretty, as popular, or as smart as people around me. But I still felt less than. This time it was as a wife and mother. I looked around me to see others who seemed to have it all together, and again I didn't quite measure up. I continued to play the comparison game, just with different qualities. Again, I'd look in the mirror and see my flaws and imperfections, not just my physical ones but my life flaws as well. I wasn't as good a homemaker as ____. I wasn't as calm and laid back as _____.

I still longed for acceptance from those around me. I wanted my children to look and act perfectly, so that others would praise my parenting. I constantly worried about what people thought about me. I felt like everyone was watching me and judging me. Again, I was a wreck, and I was miserable. Who I am wasn't enough.

Why? Why did I play this comparison game with everyone around me? Why did I think that I was the only one with flaws? Why did I care what other people thought about me when the people I love, the ones I live with and spend every day with, told me that I was enough?

I think most, if not all, women do this to themselves. We look around us to see how we compare to those around us. Society has had a hand in this.
  • We see models who ooze perfection in every magazine.
  • We read blogs where the author is a whiz at organization, while our houses seem to be in total chaos.
  • We read blogs where the author does all types of fun, creative, educational activities with her children, while some days we feel like we're barely treading water.
  • We go on Pinterest and see all types of creative ideas, gourmet recipes, and home decorating ideas, and again we feel less than, not enough.
We play the comparison game every day, and almost every time, we come out on the losing end. Ironically, those we're playing with usually have no idea we're comparing ourselves to them. They aren't an active participant in the game, yet we still allow our perceptions of them to affect our perceptions of ourselves.

I recently realized that it doesn't have to be this way. I don't have to go through life feeling like I'm not enough. Because I AM enough.

Those models - Their airbrushed images have the same blemishes the rest of us do; they're just hidden from our sight.
Those bloggers - Their lives have difficulties too; they just don't blog about those things.
Those Pinterest pins - Their creators have their 500 failed attempts before they reached perfection.
Those people in our lives we compare ourselves to - They aren't perfect. They also have the same blemishes, bad days, etc., that we do.

I'm not perfect, and I still have areas of my life that I need to improve. But I AM enough.
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