Your life is what you make it.—Nana Messler
Good morning! I had an interesting conversation with a girlfriend the other day.
She was telling me about this woman who “has it all.” My friend perceives this
woman as having the perfect and caring husband; beautiful, talented and
respectful children; a well-kept and beautiful home; and the woman herself is
beautiful with a great attitude. The description concluded with an exclamation
like: “I just hate her!” (said tongue-in-cheek).
I started laughing. She asked me what was so funny. I posed this question: “If
this woman had an awful husband, ugly children, a shack, and a bad
attitude—would that make YOUR life better?”
She asked me what that had to do with anything. I proceeded to ask her why she
was spending so much time analyzing this woman’s life. What possible purpose did
it serve? She explained that if this woman could “have it all” then certainly
she could as well. “But what if this woman didn’t have it all?” I pressed on.
“Would that mean you couldn’t have it all?”
Whether this woman owned a llama farm, was an attorney, First Lady, or the first
female President of the United States has no bearing on my friend’s life. Each
moment she spent looking at this woman and comparing their lives was taking her
focus off where it needed to be—her own life. Whatever this woman’s life looks
like is completely irrelevant to all of us. It doesn’t change our own life one
iota. The only thing that can change our lives is us. As Nana’s quote states,
“Your life is what you make it,”—not what others make it.
We rarely compare ourselves to those who have less than we do to increase our
self-esteem, but women often compare themselves to those who have more, and so
undermine their own esteem. Today, embrace the concept of looking at your own
life, instead of the lives of others. Don’t be distracted with the destructive
thinking found in comparing yourself to another person—remember, you can never
truly walk in his or her shoes.
Today, I only compare myself to the “me” I was yesterday.
Who do you compare yourself to?
How do these comparisons hinder or help you?
How would it feel to let go of measuring your life against the lives of others?
“After being bombarded with images and ideas of what a woman should be, a strong woman is one who can look at herself in the mirror and say, “I prefer this.’” Doctoral student Erin Clair, as quoted in What Makes a Strong Woman? 101 Insights from Some Remarkable Women by Helene Lerner
Tammy, one of my readers, sent in this quote with a very powerful note. Tammy wrote:
I have been working on your programs and reading your Good Morning messages. Word cannot express my gratitude for the positive changes they are making in my life. I feel as if I am on the quest to remembering who I wanted to be when I grew up and who I want to be daily. At 36 I would have thought I would have a clue but, as with many women in our culture, life as mother and wife took over and consumed all that I had hoped to be. Thanks for the prompts that are assisting me along this journey. I truly appreciate it.
This was a powerful quote for me as I struggle daily to love the person I am right now instead of waiting to love myself when I morph into the incredible woman that lurks beneath the layers of life. As the mother of daughters it was also a powerful insight to a gift I hope to give them – that deep sense of self worth and self acceptance.
Tammy’s kind note summarizes a challenge many women can relate with. While devoting time to mothering children and the daily demands of life, women may lose sight of mothering their own dreams, desires and self-growth.
Through my work, I strive to help women meet the many commitments of life today without neglecting “self.” Learning to balance caring for others while still caring for our-selves will, in time, lead us to the place where like the quote, we can say: “I prefer this.”
Take a moment to look in the mirror and affirm where you are today and the positive steps you have taken in your life. This weekend carve out a half-hour to focus on “you” and self-care.
I am proud of who I am and who I am becoming.