Name: Madison A.
Tell us your story:
I have always struggled with the fact that I wasn’t her. I was too pale. My thighs were too curvy. My hair was too flat and too thin. My personality was too big and too much. I always had to be the center of attention. My skin was too rough. I always had to be the chief, and God forbid I be forced into an Indian position. I could never be her. She was perfect.
She had a glow-y skin, with luscious hair. She was sweet and reserved. She was thin and athletic. She knew just what to say at just the right time. She was incredibly smart. She was patient and selfless. She was who I always wanted to be. She was non-existent. She represented every person I ever compared myself to.
For as long as I can remember, I have compared myself to others. Friend, I am almost certain I am not alone in this boat. I remember when I bought my first house. I was twenty-one and about to get married. I was incredibly proud of myself and felt like for once I was the most accomplished in my group of friends. You see even then, trying to feel the most accomplished didn’t just stop with one person. That’s part of this awful game, everyone’s a player your friends, your family, strangers, yourself. I am guilty to have compared myself to them all. The feeling of pride only lasted until we invited our first guests over, they were our pastors.
They ooed and awed and told us how great our new home was. All I could respond with was, “thanks, but don’t worry we’re going to flip it Chip and Jo style as soon as possible.” It was no longer an accomplished feeling, but one that somehow our new home wasn’t good enough. This shift from pride to shame wasn’t brought on by anyone but myself. I just kept thinking about how they themselves had turned their home into a beautiful, Gaines’ worthy home and I felt like I needed to explain that I knew the potential of the house we bought. Of course, in hindsight, this is ridiculous… but in the moment I somehow felt justified.
As they were leaving, one of them turned to me and said, “Remember, comparison is the thief of joy.” That sentence sat heavy on my heart for months after. Every scenario of comparison ran through my mind. I decided I deserved more than I was taking from myself. I deserved grace and joy, in the present moment, as is.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. I started my first step towards my goals of becoming a published author and public speaker. I sat down and wrote the first chapter of my book. I caught myself in the same game but this time in a new arena. I realized I was comparing my success with those who have been chasing after the same goal for over 14 years and here I was only three months in. How on earth is that giving myself grace? I was tangled in comparing my start with someone’s amazing middle.
My pastor’s voice rang through my head again, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This time, more self-aware, I stopped and told myself, “you deserve grace, regardless of what everything inside of you is telling you.” What area in your life needs more grace?
What advice would you give another woman who is going through a similar experience?
Give yourself bounds of grace in the present moment you are in, as you are.