Friday, March 23, 2012

Words, Words, Words about Comparison

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." Steven Furtick

I love this quotation because it's so true. At least for me. I see my friend's perfectly clean and tidy house and think, "Dang, I don't want her to see MY house! She'll think we're slobs!"

My sister and I once discussed how upsetting it was when someone dropped by and saw our messes. We decided it was our mother's fault because we always did serious cleaning before company came. Serious cleaning. When company comes and the serious cleaning hasn't been done, it freaks us out.

Over the years, I've learned the price paid for perfection in house-keeping, and Erma Bombeck was right. No woman ever had wanted written on her tombstone "She kept a perfectly clean home." That's not what I want to be remembered for, and since I had kids, there's absolutely NO danger of that sentence appearing on my tombstone. Besides, people with perfectly clean homes are, and I'm not joking, either living by themselves or mentally ill.

But I think we need to let others into our behind-the-scenes, to be more real and less self-conscious. And not just when it comes to housekeeping. We put up a front, pretending to be more with it, smarter, more competent, more religious, more worldly, more experienced than we really are. We don't want to show weakness, and we worry that someone might see the real us or, even worse, take advantage.

A few years ago, a friend told me she was still waiting to feel like a grown-up. She's a mother of four, works two jobs, and volunteers all over the place. She's the most competent grown-up I know, yet she doesn't feel that way.

That's the reality. That's the truth.

We're all real. Our highlight reels are simply edited for appearances.


  1. Perfect start to my weekend, reading your post and congratulating myself on not being mentally ill!
    Enjoy your time with family this weekend:)

  2. AMEN. I agree with 99% of what you said, Susan. My mom has a perfectly clean house, but shes neither living by herself (6 living there currently, 9 children total) or mentally ill. She just has allergies! And literally, if you popped by, the house would be immaculate. NOT me, though! ;) I'm a "OH MY WORD THEY'RE GONNA BE HERE THROW THAT IN THE ROOM AND CLOSE THE DOOR" type of housekeeper! I, too, am waiting to feel like a grown up. I'm almost 30, work full time, have a husband, my own house, a dog, and tons of other responsibilities. And I feel like a 5 year old trying to juggle and failing miserably a lot of the time. Thanks for the quote--it's amazing and I will be making it into a digital print to hang in my home. {{{HUGS}}} and have a great weekend!!!

  3. With my art and with my writing, I always try to remind myself that when something is published or hung in a gallery or posted, you're seeing that person's best work. You're not seeing all the discarded drafts and dry runs and throwaways that came before the finished product. That helps me a lot. I don't worry about the clean house bit but I sometimes find myself in the presence of Very Competitive Parents who spend their every waking hour maximizing and managing their kids' "potential." I'm a pretty laid back parent and the Super Parents make me so uncomfortable, even if I do sometimes think they're neurotic.

  4. whew! i feel better, and at least i am not mentally ill, hahahahha! your words are so true, it is easy to feel like our lives should be like a wonderful highlight reel....i need to remember it is all "real" life! and wonderful at that! thank you for the good words!

  5. My hubby came from a home where the kids couldn't use the living room or even step into it to mess up the vacuumed carpet - so sad! I am not a neat freak home keeper as it always drove me nuts when I had spent hours cleaning and then the kids came by and put their little hand prints all over my clean windows by just being kids. Rather than fume I let it go and keep it clean, but not spit spot tidy.

    I save the big cleans for when my MIL is coming over LOL! and when I can't take it any longer, we go at it for a day or so and then we are good to go for a while again :)

    I am a huge over grown kid myself and am drinking deep of the times I have with my kids before they move out because it is then that I can keep things cleaner than they are now but you can't take time back while they are at home.

  6. I LOVE this quote.

    I am struggling today; we are having friends over for dinner tonight. I am working till eleven and they are coming at three. My house is never really a mess; we're never home and there are only two of us.

    My husband will vacuum and dust; but I still have to put dinner on the table. I have been thinking of all the beautiful meals they have cooked for us; she always has everything done and just about ready to serve. Her dinners are the highlight reel!

    I love to cook; but sometimes really feel the pressure to perform. Today I'm going to try to cut myself some slack.

    Thank you again Susan for making me really think!!

  7. I so need to frame this quote in HUGE letters.

    Watching the "hight light reels" has seemed to really get me lately. I usually don't let my "lived in" home bother me. But, it would seem that those pesky reels have invaded my confidence in my home and creative endeavors as of late. I just need to figure out how to shut those channels off! haha

  8. This is such a fantastic reminder for me to relax. I too don't feel like a grown-up - although one keeps looking back at me from the mirror - and it's because I constantly compare myself to others. And what for? Thanks, Susan, for making me think once again.

  9. As I approach each new decade, I think I will finally feel grown-up. It doesn't happen. My great-grandmother lived to be 97. I wish I had asked her if she felt grown-up.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!