An Exciting Time Of Emotional Growth

Last night Alex and I were watching a show called “Blue Planet” on Animal Planet, and I was trying to brace myself because the narrator had made it clear that we’d be journeying to the bottom of the sea and I knew that THE CREEPY TEXTURES, THEY WERE COMING. For a while it was all crystal blue water and the occasional fish, but then (OF COURSE) the pressurized sea craft wandered into some lake-like area where there were all manner of creatures with repetitive circular features. There were even (I kid you not) blood red tube worms that were clustered in the shape of a chimney, and I’m pretty sure that it was the closest I’ve ever come to actually dying. I tried to shrug it off and be all, “Oh, it’s no big deal” since I would prefer not to pass on that particular ish-ah to the next generation, but I don’t see any way that God can get glory through a blood red tube worm. Don’t even get me started about the dead whale and the hagfish. I just cannot.

The good news, however, was that I sat through the entire TV show without having to jump up and leave the room. I’d call that progress. I also learned that a blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant, so maybe that little tidbit-o-knowledge will come in handy should I ever find myself in an impromptu “Jeopardy!” tournament. AS YOU DO.

(Just a little while ago we were watching a bunch of sardines move upstream, and the sight of all their little mouths wide open – the THOUSANDS of them – sent cold shivers down my spine.)

(I may need some counseling.)

Anyway. I actually have a question (well, three) to ask y’all. I’m working on a little something – mainly trying to flesh out an idea. So, if you don’t mind and aren’t too busy and I’m not interrupting you at a critical point in a Netflix marathon, would you answer these three questions in the comments, por favor? Answer anonymously if you want – or just make up a name.

1. On a scale of 0-5 (0 being not at all and 5 being LIKE CRAZY), how much do you struggle with comparison in your life?
2. Do you ever feel competitive as a result of the comparing?
3. In what areas are you most likely to compare yourself to other people?

Kind of serious, I know. But it’ll help me a bunch if even 20 people answer.

Thanks in advance for your help, y’all. Remember, if you’re at Mistletoe Market in Jackson, MS tomorrow afternoon or Friday, come see me at the SoDelta Candle booth. I imagine that we will have lots of time to visit.

Hope y’all have a great Thursday!

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  1. 1) At this point in life (age 48) I do it less and less (1-2) except for the weight factor which is probably still at a 5. But I am working on it. In the weight sense I am always judging myself against what other women look like. Thankfully I do it with real people and not air-brushed magazines copies of real people. =)
    2) Oddly I use comparison most often now as a deciding factor in what I don’t need to do (given that I am a big people pleaser). I use it as a healthier scale of what other people do vs. my overwhelming need to jump-in-and-save-the-day.
    3) I think it runs throughout my life, not just work or play but I am pretty much the same person all the way around.

    Thank you for your daily reminders to laugh at life. I am glad to hear you watched the whole nature show and sorry to hear those things trouble you so.


  2. 3. In what areas are you most likely to compare yourself to other people?
    1. Usually a 4.
    2. Only when it’s something superficial, maybe house decor, or clothing. I generally don’t like to compete and try to avoid all competition/conflict. I”m only comparing myself to others in my mind.
    3. I’m most likely to compare myself with others in a group setting, such as a class. I’d rather go along with the “norm” than stick out like a sore thumb! I’d prefer not to be noticed in a crowd.

  3. 1. I am a 5 and I really dislike that about myself.
    2. I only compete with myself. I try to do better every day, but not in a good way- in a “if I were a better mother like her then life would be better for my kids”. I do strive to keep it an internal struggle and not push my children to do more, be more like I “imagine” her life is like.
    3.See above- mothering. If I didn’t work as much I could do more for my kids, in my house. But if I didn’t work as much we would be in a constant state of stress over each nickel and dime.

  4. 1. 3 or 4
    2. No. It’s usually about things I can’t control (i.e. not having a husband or children yet). I usually just end up being more sad than competitive.
    3. I’m usually comparing myself to other women my age who are married, may have kids, have bought houses, etc.

  5. Jennifer D says:

    1. If honest, I would have to say a 5.
    2. I feel competitive quite often. I wish I didn’t.
    3. I compare myself in looks, parenting, friendships, wardrobe, etc. Almost everything.

  6. 1. probably a 3.
    2. not really, more like retreating like someone else mentioned. I tend to get overwhelmed and think why bother rather than try to compete.
    3. body image, housekeeping, cooking. right now I’m stressing because we started a new cleaning lady today(haven’t had one in years) and I wish my house had been spotless when she arrived. clean for the cleaning lady issues. and tomorrow is pot-luck bookclub night and I’m thinking about what would be the perfect, most loved dish of the night. quite shallow of me.

  7. 4
    Parenting is where I find myself playing the comparison games. Always afraid I will ruin my children and they will never be productive members of society!!

  8. 1. 3
    2. Not really. I’m a Cancer. We withdraw into our shells and internalize everything. Or cook to relieve stress.
    3. Appearance-how my neck is looking all jowly and my best friend’s still looks 25; Blogs-now why didn’t I think to write that!; Style-I never feel pulled together and she can throw on polka dots with stripes and look amazing… Silly things like that.

  9. I know I’ve already answered this but I was thinking about this am driving to drop kids off at school/daycare. I think social media has made this so much more of a topic for us. I don’t think I used to compare myself to others as much now that FB, IG, etc. exists. That’s why I quit FB for a while this summer. I needed a break from all the negative, yet cookie cutter lives people portrayed. That’s also why I started my blog. Keeping It Real. I like to talk about stuff that isn’t so white picket fences. My life is real and I don’t want people looking at all my FB pics and thinking I’m perfect, I’m soooo far from that.

    Ok, sorry, just wanted to add that as it was weighing heavy on my mind this am. Especially since I have a 1st grader. I can’t imagine how awful social media is going to be when she’s a teenager. All our fingertips…

  10. 1. I struggle with this and daily ask the Lord to help me, but if I am honest I hover somewhere between 4-5.
    2. Yes it causes me to compete
    3. The areas where I compare myself to others are professionally, family (wife/mother), children’s behavior and success, appearance.

  11. 1. four
    2. sometimes
    3. although i have the cutest 10 year ever, i am a single mom. his dad lives 10 hours away and has very little to do with him… (like maybe a phone call every six months.) i find myself jealous of other families that are complete with a mom and dad and brothers and sisters. God is helping me find joy on being a single mom, though :)

  12. Brittney K says:

    Honestly I think I’m about a 3.
    I tend to compare myself (height, weight) to other women.
    I am content in my marriage. I love my husband dearly and am so happy to be with someone who loves me. I don’t tend to compare our relationship against others. But I am in sales and my pay is based only on commission. So I have to be more careful of spending because every other Friday is not pay day. I tend to compare our bills and cost of living to others. Knowing we are doing well and struggling being newly weds with two car payments, a mortgage, insurance, etc. I wonder how people who I know don’t make as much money as we do afford their more extravagant lifestyle.

  13. 5+; all the time; everything

    I’m in my 30’s, married with children and a very competitive job and this is a huge struggle for me. Bless all of you women who are older than I am who say that it gets better with age.

  14. 1. Mostly 3, but can bump up to 4 sometimes.
    2. Not really, tend to suppress.
    3. Finances, outward appearance, kids, home.

  15. Christine says:

    Scale – probably 4
    Competitive? Only if i am feeling good about myself. Otherwise I don’t feel like I could beat an earthworm so no don’t want to compete.
    About? Usually the way I look and (lack of) intelligence/ability.

  16. 1. I like to say 1-2 although there have been other times in my life that it has been a rip-roaring 5 and a half.
    2. I am not quite as competitive as I was in high school, but the streak still rises to the surface every once in a while.
    3. Work is probably where my biggest comparisons happen. I want so desperately to please everyone (I’m sure you can’t relate to the people pleasing disease, right?). I also have this problem where I want to not only be good at things, but to be the best at things. Like immediately. It’s a real issue.

  17. I am probably a 3. My comparison can become competition at work. It’s important that my performance is consistent with my coworkers’ level of work. It’s hard to walk the line between keeping up and being jealous. In my home life I’m more interested in just surviving two little ones…not so much into comparing my life to someone else’s. I’m working to remember that the Lord made me specially and comparisons here don’t matter…my reward lies in Heaven.

  18. Casey Springer says:

    1. 3
    2. Not necessarily competition…just not good enough.
    3. Raising kids, who’s house is nicer (as in decor).

    Much if mine is probably $$$$$ related, as in lack thereof. Its ugly and as you’ve grown with the deep blue wonder…I’ve grown some in this area.

  19. 1. Though it makes me shiver, I have to say a 4. And a really high 4.
    2. I don’t. I tend to lean towards feelings of inadequacy because I can’t compete. And that leads to feelings of inferiority. Hope that makes sense.
    3. In what areas are you most likely to compare yourself to other people? Hmmmm…how long have you got? Appearance, Style, Weight, Home Decorating, Holiday Decorating, Cooking, Cleaning, Hospitality, Spiritual Life, Writing, Singing. I got it all!

    Honesty. That’s what you got here, dear Sophie!

    Love you dearly!


  20. 1. Probably a 5. It’s bad – I’m a first born and a perfectionist and always have to be the best at everything. I’m trying to work on it.
    2. Very competitive – I have to make myself not care about things. Nobody else can probably tell though.
    3. Everything, but mostly with people my own age – I told you its bad. Work, appearance, where they are at this point in their life (if that makes sense), sports, everything. I stay off facebook for this reason and don’t have many friends close to my age – its just too hard for me at this point in my life.

  21. 1). Hate to say it, but solid 5.

    2). Not really.

    3). Money. I find myself surrounded by folks who are fairly wealthy and I’m a single parent school teacher. I do fret too much over what they are able to do and what is a struggle for me. They don’t realize that some of their decisions concerning money affects me because our children are involved in the same activities. So when they say “Hey, let’s take all the kids to a football game or let’s get the girls another cheer bag, its only $50!” (my daughter is a cheerleader).. that’s a strain on my budget. For them, it’s weekend money. But, last weekend, one of those same girls ODed on pills and had to be taken to the hospital, a lesson to my daughter that we may not have the biggest house in town and braces will have to wait, but we have lots of love and God. And that’s what really counts….it fills those empty spaces inside that the other girl couldn’t , sadly.

  22. 1. I hate it, but I’m at least a 4 right now.
    2. Meh, I’m too tired to be competitive.
    3. Motherhood, wife-hood(?), friend-hood(??), beauty, fitness, productivity, wisdom, style, all-around-awesomeness, & any other way I can judge myself. Funny thing is, I don’t judge other people. In my mind, everybody else has everything figured out, and I am the one who doesn’t have a clue what I’m doing.

    I should probably change my name to Anonymous, but I guess I’m feeling transparent right now, haha!

  23. It is SOOO nice to be 53! I really don’t care much about what people think now. Like I go to the store, etc. without makeup and really don’t care! The only area I feel I really compare is my weight, which is too much . . .

    Reading these comments brings back bad memories about having young children and comparing everything. Christmas cards, how your kids act, house, etc. Sick feeling. But now I’m free! Pretty much.

  24. KimberlyOKC says:

    Waah! Where are you? Gone too long…..

  25. 1. I want to say 3, but 4 is probably more honest, so let’s go with 3.5. ;)
    2. Not competitve at all; just inferior, odd & ugly.
    3. Clothes, hair, spirituality, age (facing 50 w/young teens), face/eye wrinkles (see age!), organization, popularity (yes, mom cliques), their kids’ grades/activities

    Ugh! I hope you do a follow-up to this post. So revealing & convicting.

  26. 1. Probably about a 4…..I wish I could say 3 or maybe even 2….and 1 would be a divine number, but for some reason, as this particular season in my life, I am struggling more with comparison that I EVER. HAVE. BEFORE. As a mom in her mid thirties with an abundantly blessed life it would seem that this should be the one thing that I don’t have to deal with.
    2. No, not really….which I think is weird in a weird kind of way… ;) I have never, ever been a competitive person, so my comparisons tend to err on the side of poor assessment of self. The comparisons don’t make me want to do something better…they just make me feel more defeated, I guess. I do recognize that, I believe, this is the most recent work of Satan in my life. He has found a small chink in my armor and he is loving it…and I am weak in my fight against it!
    3. My family/kids, my body, and most of all (ashamedly) WHO I AM. I have friends who are the ones who are always a breath of fresh air, always smiling, always seeming to have it all together….and as much as I KNOW that this is not how it really is, there is something inside of me that compares myself to that. There is a part of me that compares the joy of their lives to the joy that is my life…and there is no comparison because every single UNIQUE good and perfect gift is from God. I so desperately want to be content with JUST. BEING. ME. God made me…he thinks I am perfect…so who am I to doubt his work!

  27. anonymous says:

    1. A five is actually too low a number
    2. I wouldn’t say I feel competitive. But this is where 2 and 3 answers are going to have to be combined. I compare everything. Intellect, physical attractiveness, etc. If I feel that I’m on par with anyone on one level, I will continue to compare until I find something in which I clearly can not match. Yes, I realize it isn’t healthy. I don’t share this with anyone. It is nice to be able to say it anonymously.