Friday, August 31, 2012

Women Comparing Themselves to Other Women

So, I opened this topic up for feedback on my Facebook page and was stunned and humbled by the honest and real words many ladies shared with me.  I've wanted to write this for awhile, but when a women at least 12 years older than me confessed that she felt inferior to me, I knew I had to write it.  "Really?"  I said to her stunned.  I realized then and there, that ALL women struggle with comparing themselves to other women at some time in their lives.  And from the comments I see that for some of us this issue is occasional, but for many it's a daily issue.

I have to agree with Brenda and Megan that as I have aged, this is less of an issue for me.  I love this quote from a "Real Simple" magazine article on women.

"I finally started feeling comfortable in my own skin when I realized that losing those dreaded 10 pounds wouldn't make anyone love me any more.," Laura Zarins, stockbroker.  

In your 40's you get more comfortable with who you are, and what other women do or look like doesnt' matter...MOST of the time.  However, I think this is a struggle to some degree at any age given the right circumstances.  You've gained a bit of weight.  You try to achieve something that doesn't work so well and BAM!  You see another woman that seems to have it all going on.  That's when that voice creeps in and whispers...."You should look like that, but you don't.  You will never accomplish something like that..."  and the list goes on.  A point of weakness leaves entrance into our hearts wide open for those lies.  At least that's the way it is for me.

As I've been pondering this, I think there are two issues that are at the root of this common issue for women.  The first is things that happened to us growing up.  Yes, I believe we can move on from dysfunction and negative things that happened to each and every one of us in childhood.  However, those things ARE a part of us, and the WILL sometimes pop up.

Jen says, "I think many of us compare ourselves too much when it comes to personality, like how we speak, dress and entertain.  Even younger women I take to deal with this because of the attention some get and others don't.  This need for attention seems to have a very early beginning.  Were we ever delighted in?"

Those scars and unmet needs from childhood cause so much of this "comparing".  I think that's something we have to be aware of before we can deal with it and move on from it.

"We don't just have a desire for an outward beauty, but more - a desire to be captivating in the depths of who we are."  (Johna and Stasi Eldredge - Captivating).

  I think we all have to come to a point of confronting those things and forgiving the people that inflicted the wounds in our own hearts.  Then, when the lies pop up, we deal with them head on and refuse to let our minds rest there.

The second issue that I believe to be at the root of this comparing is knowing who we are, and even more specifically who we are in Christ if we are followers.

"You can learn to embrace your beauty and allow it to bring you joy and delight or you can give in to the cultures definition of beauty and allow that to rob you of every shred of confidence and enthusiasm you have about who you are."  (Nicole Johnson - Fresh Brewed Life)

We have to embrace who God made us to be and stop worrying about what he didn't make us to be...or what he made someone else to be.  I think when you have committed your life to Christ, this "Identity" in Him comes with time spent in His presence.  I think this is the number one thing the enemy doesn't want us to understand.  The reality that if we are IN Christ, we are a new creation.  We are fully excepted and fully loved.  Period.

Karen says, "I struggle daily with this (comparing).  The lack of cooking, decorating and domestic talents.  I always have to remind myself that God created me and didn't make a mistake. My identity is in Christ!"

It seems that in this culture of media and Facebook throwing women and their seemingly perfect lives constantly in our faces, it is more of a struggle then ever to keep our focus.  Speaking of this, I think we must remember that when looking at all the "Fabulous" on someone's FB or blog is just one corner of that person's life.  They are not going to show you the dark corners...the areas of struggle.  It's a lie that anyone has got it all together.  I believe it's going to take more of an effort on the part of each woman to combat the lies.  I think starting with honesty is a huge step, and can help us brake down walls and build one another up.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this reminder and to bringing the issue out into the open. I have taken many breaks from things like facebook because of the truly one-sidedness (if that is a word). It is like the bragging Chrismas newsletter. Thank you!

Stacey Johnson said...

You are welcome! I have to laugh about the "Bragging Christmas newsletter" Don't those drive you crazy? :)