Easier said than done, right? Telling me to “let it go” when I’m in the midst of obsessing about something has about the same effect as telling me to “get over it” when I’m in the middle of an argument: it works me up even more.
Lately, however, I’ve been trying out this new, broader attitude of letting it go. There will always be someone with a bigger, nicer (and cleaner!) house than me. There will always be someone with more money than me. There will always be someone who has a more advanced or well-behaved child than me. But if, instead, I choose to focus on the gifts I’ve been given rather than comparing my life to everyone else’s, I am finding I have a better overall attitude. Letting it go is pretty tough during those specific, difficult moments, but adopting an overall attitude of Letting It Go seems to make those moments come much less frequently.
A few months back during a visit with my doctor, I posed a bit of a rhetorical question: “How is it that everyone else made it through their baby’s first year with so much more grace than me?” She looked me square in the eye, laughed, and said emphatically, “They’re LYING!” I trust her authority not because she’s a great doctor, but because she has two little ones of her own. 🙂
While that may be a pretty strong statement, I believe there is a bit of truth in her proclamation. Most people put their best foot forward for public presentation. This is my blog, so I’ll use myself as an example. If I post a picture of my son on Facebook, you better believe I’m not posting the one with the huge pile of dirty laundry in the background. Nope, I’ll post the one that presents my house as clean. Why? Because I don’t want everyone I know to think my house is a pigsty! It’s certainly not clean all the time, but it’s not a disaster all the time, either. If I have to choose between the two perceptions, though, I’ll choose the former. Neither is the TRUE reality of my life.
Just for fun, let’s peek at my food storage container cabinet.
When I first put all my containers in this cabinet, it was beautiful. Everything was in order, the tupperware was perfectly nested & the lids neatly stacked. Then life happened, we started *gasp* using the containers and they didn’t get put away quite so perfectly.
Then, my son found the cabinet. He was happy, occupied, and nothing was breakable, so I didn’t feel like picking that battle. Our kitchen floor started looking like this:
So now, my food storage cabinet looks like this:
Complete with dirt & dog hair since everything is on the floor almost daily. Yes, we have to wash out all of our containers before we can use them.
But, if you came over to my house, you would see this:
I would put away everything on the counters, put things in cabinets, and close the doors. Because it looks nicer.
Let. It. Go. Because the “It” you’re comparing yourself with isn’t real anyway. It’s just the reality everyone wants you to see!