Editor’s Note: The Power of Moms is a website for mothers of all religions (and for mothers who are not necessarily religious). Each Sunday, we post a spiritual essay, and we would love to gather a wide variety of perspectives and ideas. Our goal is to be respectful of all beliefs while simultaneously offering opportunities to share meaningful, spiritual thoughts with one another.
Why am I always noticing what other women look like? Why am I always comparing my hair with theirs? Why do their kids always look cuter, house is always cleaner, talents are always bigger, body is always thinner, life is always together?
Do you feel inadequate yet? Are you picturing the “supermom” next door that you always envy admire? Well, it is time to stop! You are amazing. You are the only you that will ever be, and YOU are here to find out why.
Why do I always compare myself with others, when really I just need to be really good at being me? Everyone’s best is different. For some reason, women have a really hard time accepting that. My best body will never be the same as someone else’s best body, and I can be happy about that. One amazing woman may be the mother of 8 and an amazing home manager, not to mention surviving breast cancer without showing fear. Another amazing woman may never have children, but motivates and lifts hundreds of children in her teaching career. She mothers everyone she meets with an amazing love. And yet another amazing woman is a mother to three, PTA president, amazing chef, and community leader. Is one of these women better than another?
When I was in college, I learned a great life lesson from a dear friend/roommate. We were attending a prestigious college. I was coming to college as a big fish from a very small hometown. But very quickly the sea was full all around me with big fish. Everyone there was talented, smart, and good looking. Amazing was now average. I was feeling the vastness of it all as a new freshman. One evening, my roommate and I attended a student talent show. It was beyond phenomenal. I was soaking it all in with thoughts of, “I could never play the piano like that,” “I wish I was as pretty as her,” “How I wish I could sing like that,” and so forth. At the end of the show, my roommate looked over at me and said with her glowing face, “Hasn’t Heavenly Father blessed us all with such amazing talents?” My thoughts were instantly halted. I was comparing myself with everyone that night, while she was rejoicing in their amazing God-given gifts. I was dwelling on what I didn’t have, while she was being uplifted by what was being shared. This night and conversation changed my life.
While I have not been able to completely rid myself of ever having “comparing” type of thoughts, my mind shift has changed. I really try to see the amazing gifts that God has given everyone around me. I can appreciate everyone’s best self, and at the same time become my best self. I can be excited about other’s successes, and be reaching toward my own successes too. We must not be afraid of being our best.
I have the following quote hanging on my wall at home. It was originally penned by Marianne Williamson, but recently you may have heard it quoted on Akeelah and the Bee:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission
to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Be your best self. Be your own kind of best mom. In doing so, you will lift others around you. Others will feel liberated to become their own kind of best mom too. We will all lift each other. It is energizing and exciting to think of moms everywhere helping and lifting each other instead of comparing and critiquing.
As a mother, these lessons are invaluable. We can and must also teach each of our children to become his/her best self. We can teach them that their talents and gifts are unique to them. They will never “become” someone else, but they can “become” themselves, an amazing adventure. We can teach them to love what others are achieving around them. We can teach them to find joy in what their siblings have accomplished. In turn, we will find joy in watching them grow and develop.
It will be hard for our children to internalize these lessons if mother is comparing herself with others. Is mother happy with herself? Is mother talking about and comparing herself with other moms? Is mother trying to become her best self, or trying to become someone else down the street? Obviously these lessons are easier said than done, but we must live the way we want our children to live.
Melissa you are such a good writer, thanks for that motivational piece of work.