So, there I was, standing in the front yard, feeling ashamed at what I was seeing.
When I tell you that my flower beds had weeds… I’m talking weeds that went up to my knees. You could barely see the mulch, the plants were choking, and I’m honestly ashamed that I didn’t receive a letter from the HOA yet. Life had been so draining lately, and regularly weeding the flower beds was the last thing on my to-do list. This inaction, paired with the fact that I was also too cheap to pay the “a la carte” fee for the lawn company to do it for me, led to a very sad-looking front lawn.
I looked to my neighbor’s flower beds for a scapegoat. My front lawn looked a mess, but maybe it wasn’t as messy as Dominee’s or Haiti’s (my neighbors)? Nope. Their lawns looked great! Why would weeds plant themselves in the unsafe territory when just a few yards away at my house, there was a chance for growth and prosperity. I should’ve put a sign out on the lawn that stated “weed refuge”.
Looking back, it’s funny that instead of admitting that I didn’t tend to my yard like I promised the HOA I would, I immediately looked around for someone worse off to compare myself to and feel a sense of superiority. Why do women do that? I’m sure everyone does it, but I feel like it’s prevalent in females. Why couldn’t I just immediately self-reflect and get to work on my lawn? Instead, I look for someone else’s failure to commiserate with my own, and when I don’t find it, I make mean comments like “well, she only has one son to deal with…” or “her husband helps her more than mine does.” Why couldn’t I confront my crap, be happy for their HGTV-ready lawns and maybe even ask for some tips?
Anyway, I start weeding away, and I’m making my way closer and closer to my neighbor’s yard. As I look closer, I realize that what I thought was HGTV-ready wasn’t. Sure, their yard didn’t have sexy knee-high weeds, but it wasn’t bald either. There were some weeds up in there! I couldn’t see them from a distance I was at because the details were too little. It blended in with the other landscape, and I couldn’t see it from my perspective. This got me thinking about how we examine our lives with a magnifying glass and feel shame when comparing ourselves to someone you need a telescope to see. It’s not the same perspective, yet, we treat it like it is. We’re not examining their lives with a magnifying glass to ours and then making conclusions. We’re taking a high-level summary and comparing it to a technical write-up of our own lives. We judge ourselves against others with things such as our children’s educational success, the “happiness” of our marriage, our body weight, our career success.
So, today, I want to encourage you to do three things to stop comparing yourself to others.
#1 – Step back from your life and look at it like your friend out. The best way to do this is to go back through your very own Facebook/Instagram feed. Stalk yourself… literally. You’ll see what other people see and feel so much better about yourself. You are trying your best, you are succeeding, and you are making mistakes. But, you learn from them, and life continues to get better and better.
#2 – Be grateful that you have a lawn even to have weeds in. We get so caught up in the negative that we forgot to experience gratitude for the blessings we have. Sure, I was embarrassed about my lawn, but you know what? 5-years-ago, when we lived in a teeny tiny apartment with no yard, I was dreaming about owning a house like this. I didn’t think I’d ever had a beautiful home, in a beautiful neighborhood, with, yes, a very weedy front lawn. Step back and look at what blessings you have. Sure, there are hard times, but overall, be thankful for what you have because you’d be even more traumatized if you lost it all.
#3 – Don’t pull every weed up at once… slow down and pull them up one by one. Once you figure out the metaphorical “weeds” in your life, you’ll be overwhelmed and tempted to start fixing them all at once. Sure, there are times when you need to burn down the house and start over, but it’s rare. Instead, take a deep breath, gather the proper supplies and help, and pull out one weed at a time. Is your child failing school? Focus on helping them pass just one assignment this week—just one. Then continue from there… two next week, three after that… If you try to pull all the weeds out at once, you’ll get too tired and barely make any progress. But, if you break the problem down into small action items and force yourself to focus on one task at a time, you can conquer anything!
Momma, you can do this. Stop looking around for someone “doing worse” than you. Stop looking around for someone doing better than you. Focus on yourself, your family, and fixing one thing at a time. You’re so talented and will have that metaphorical lawn-winning “best lawn” award in no time!
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