Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Will Not Compare Myself To Others

Normally I'm a pretty confident person.  My life is not perfect. I know it. I've come to terms with the things I cannot change, and I work harder to change what I can.

But for some reason, this last couple of weeks, I've struggled with comparing myself to others.  I don't know if this is because I spent the better part of that time with strep throat and the flu, while also caring for my youngest who had strep throat and a staph infection.  I do know this means I'm about seven pages behind on my to-do list.

I know part of my problem is that I'm spending too much time on social media. It's hard not to compare your rough draft to someone's final product.

I listen to stories from my writer friends who are cranking out a book or two or three a year, and I'm thinking, "Hey! I think I added 2 pages this month."

Plus, I'm working on a book with my sisters. Each of us has a specific list of things responsibilities for the book.  We also have a mountain of other responsibilities in addition to writing this book.  As we do our daily/weekly check-ins, I continually struggle with internal dialogue accusing me of not pulling my weight and doing as much, or as well, or as often...well, you get the picture.

Finally, last night around 1:00 a.m., as I was staying up extra late to close the self-perceived gap between me and my sisters, I threw my hands up in the air.  I closed my eyes, wishing I could go to bed and get some sleep. But my mind kept saying, "Just a few more minutes.  You're almost caught up."

For one brief moment, I remembered a conversation with my husband earlier in the day. We'd been talking about the atonement, but it just as easily related to my desire to 'keep up'.  He told me, "What you do is good enough.  It doesn't need to be  your very best, or 100% all the time.  As long as you are trying, that's good enough."

And with that thought, I drug my butt out of my chair, and shuffled to bed.

This morning, without the fog of exhaustion seeping into my thoughts, I see the error of my ways.  Why am I comparing myself to someone who isn't living the same life I am? They're not fighting my battles. They don't have the same demands on their time.  Yes, there are people who write better, more prolifically, and publish more often than me.  I will be there one day.  But there is a time and a season for everything.  This is not my time or season to be a full-time writer.  I am a full-time mother, and a part-time writer.  Full-time writing will come in time.  I just need to be patient. Comparing myself to others is like opening the front door and welcoming Satan to make himself at home.  Nothing good will come of it.

13 comments:

  1. Profound wisdom here! I think Satan knocking us off track by getting us to feel less-than is a powerful tool. I admire you for all you are doing, with a cheerful heart.You should write because you love it, and the pace is irrelevant!

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    1. Thank you! Quite often, you are my inspiration. Thank you for being so amazing!

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  2. I struggle with this too and I have 20 published titles. It seems to be one of those challenges that many of us face no matter where we are in our journey. Good luck to you!

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  3. People who have enjoyed one of my books often ask me if I've written any more. No, and it's been three years. I see contests go by, and I feel inadequate. After all, I'm retired, so what else do I have to do? Sure, I teach early morning seminary daily, and a seminary home study class evenings. But I've taught for 31 years, so at least I don't have to study, they tell me. (I'm in the classroom teaching, setting up, and preparing 5 hours a day). Home study takes another three hours because I travel out of town to teach. Add to that my Primary teaching job, Boy Scout Committee, VT supervisor job, and chorister job, and yeah--who said "retired?" The Bishop just called me to be chairman of the Tucson Temple Youth Cultural Celebration for two wards. He mentioned that seminary probably takes almost as much time as teaching Gospel Doctrine. Not to mention two of my six adult children relying on me to keep them safe, sane, well, mop up and finance their legal problems, and see that 10 grandchildren are not lost to me because of them, and I am at the end of my rope. Write? My most enjoyable activity is the last on my agenda. I'd like to keep up with my ANWA sisters, whom I admire greatly for their writing skills and speed. But I can't. It's as if the Lord is asking me not to. Thanks for giving permission and hope.

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    1. Wow! You are crazy busy. I'm nowhere near that, but I'm not in that part of 'retired life' by a long shot. My kids are 10, 8, and 5 but my oldest is on the spectrum. I have to plan a lot more with him even on ordinary tasks. You should have seen what I had to do for a whole year just to prep him for Disneyland. My only calling at church is visiting teacher but I wish I had another because I often feel useless in the ward. My youngest isn't in kindergarten yet but I'm so excited for when she starts this fall. She is by far my most difficult child and she already has me fearing her teenage years. And yet with as far as writing goes, I'm lucky if I can think about a future scene to put in my story. I miss writing and have noticed that I'm not as happy when I'm not able to as much.*sigh*

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    2. Sarah,

      Oh, I feel you! My youngest has Down syndrome (he's 6 1/2). I do not think people understand the extent to which we, as mothers, must give up ourselves to care for a child with special needs. The appointments/therapies, the extra time needed just to transition from one activity to the next. Hang in there! If you ever need anyone to vent/talk to, I'm happy to listen.

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  4. I totally sympathize with having the self-accusatory internal dialogue late at night. That happens to me too. It has become a common enough occurrence that when I notice the viciousness thereof I think, "Let's see. What time is it? Oh, it's late. That means I'm tired and Satan is trying to attack when I'm weak." Then I make a decision that I'm not going to make any harsh judgments of myself anymore that night. I decide to wait until the next morning when I'm fresh to think about how I did. And guess what, the next morning, the things that bothered me the previous night are shown to be inconsequential.

    Moral of the story--never harshly evaluate your progress late at night when you're tired. Fatigue colors your perception and Satan will tempt you to be unjust to yourself. Wait until you are fresh and rested; it will help you be more fair.

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    1. Michaela,
      I LOVE this! When I was a teen, my parents used to say "the Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight". As an adult, I'm beginning to wonder if that's true, because that's when the internal dialogue is the worst. I'll have to keep your post in mind and make it a point to go to bed earlier. Thank you!

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  5. Thank you for sharing this. I know I experience the same struggle - and not just with my writing. I love the comments you have received, as well. We are all here to learn and grow in the Lord's time - which is as unique as each individual. I love having a gospel perspective to guide us through this journey. hugs~

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    1. I am so very grateful I was introduced to ANWA. Some of the other writer's groups I'm a part of aren't nearly as supportive as ANWA is. Being a part of this, having all of your as friends has blessed me beyond measure.

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