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Looking Beyond the Trap of ‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’

You know that feeling of being out of control? When you feel overwhelmed with the thoughts of what is on your plate and think that there is no way that you can pull it all together and get back on top? And then, as if you need more icing on the plate of overwhelm, you see another mum, wife and business owner and she seems to have her stuff together. She looks like she always multitasks expertly. She arrives at the 7 am business meeting with her hair perfectly coiffed and make-up in place with no visible children’s vomit or food stains. She’s ready to present to a group of business people with poise and professionalism. Seriously.

comparing yourself with others
But I want to share a secret with you. We ALL have days of feeling overwhelmed and not holding it all together. Every single one of us.

The sad truth is that we compare ourselves to the perfection that we see, not the behind-the-scenes reality that we don’t see. The funny thing is that in society, we’re always told to look our best. It’s ingrained in us since we were born. But we forget this when we look at the shiny exterior that others put forward, instead of realising that while someone may look their best, we can’t know what happens behind that façade. We set ourselves up for failure by falling into this trap time and time again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that we have to find fault in others; it’s more about being aware of reality rather than taking everyone on how you perceive them.

Take me for example. I am a woman in business, who has just launched a franchise, a children’s book author, an advocate for a number of charities, a mum to two gorgeous kidlets and a wife. Sounds kinda impressive. And from the outside to some, it looks like it’s all rosy in the land of Belinda. But it’s not. Some days are just fabulous, but on other days, everything turns to crap.

So why do I want to share this with you? Because I want to normalise life in its many forms. I want to normalise being a business owner with all of the other hats that you wear in the different moments of each day. And I want you to acknowledge each of those moments, up and down moments, left and right moments, glorious moments and the not-so-great moments, because that is what’s real. And it’s real for every one of us.

Here’s the thing, by normalising life’s great panorama (in my dad’s words), you can begin to accept life and be kind to yourself.

comparing yourself to others
I want you to consider changing your thinking in just one way. When you don’t finish something or say the wrong thing, or when everything turns to crap, I want you to stop yourself before you launch into self-criticism mode. And I ask that you respond in a way that you would when you talk to your kids.

If your child had come home from an exam that they had studied hard for but felt that they had failed, how would you respond? With love and kindness? Or perhaps with some encouraging words and a hug? Why is it that if we don’t perform as we would have wanted, we berate ourselves and put ourselves down? And next thing you know, we’re doubting our ability to undertake any task. Ah, the great spiral of self-doubt. Don’t you just love it?

So while you’re being kind to yourself, it’s time to be kind to your sisters. We’ve got to stop the sister hate. Before you start to judge a woman’s facade, remember that they have down times too. Each woman that you meet in your career, at the school gate or even at the shops has her own path, her own challenges and her own wins. They may be similar or they may be completely different to your own, but that is what makes us unique. Our own path should be valued by ourselves and by each other so be supportive of your sisters.

It’s time to put life back into perspective and see life for what it is. It’s a roller coaster and sometimes we just loving it, and other times we have to hold on (and maybe even scream!). Either way be kind to yourself and to your sisters. And if you find yourself starting to fall into the trap of wanting to have the perfect, put-together life of that other sister, remember that since all you see are those seemingly fabulous moments, maybe you don’t really want what she’s having.

Belinda Bow
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  1. November 27, 2015 / 9:55 am

    It’s sad how our envy turns to jealousy which in turn becomes hate. Someone at first we admire, are in awe becomes the enemy because they have what we want.
    It’s time we women start being kind to ourselves, do what best for each of us individually and not what we think society or peers want. After all it’s your life and therefore it really is all about you.

    • December 7, 2015 / 7:54 pm

      Well said Sally. It’s ok to be envious of someone and their life, by why not be happy for them? Shine on sister!

  2. November 27, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    OH yes I can relate to this. I look at others with kids and hubby / partner (I have neither) and feel very envious. Yet I know some of my friends look at me (and I’ve worked o/s and done a stack of different things) and my life in an apartment by the sea and they think I’ve got it good. Little do they know I have no money and often feel quite alone.

    • December 7, 2015 / 7:59 pm

      Sorry to hear that you feel alone Deborah. It’s so interesting that we can look at another person’s life and only see the shiny bits! Kind of like living your life on FB. Onward and upward sister!

    • December 7, 2015 / 8:01 pm

      Thanks Haidee. Glad it’s not just me!

  3. November 30, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    Definitely need to remember to keep things in perspective. Yes – can we please, all be kinder to each other? I’d love that!

    • December 7, 2015 / 8:02 pm

      We need to love our sisters – it’s awesome to know when a sister has our back! Be kind. 🙂