Friday, January 11, 2013

Falling for the Comparison Trap

To make good on one of my resolutions, the one which has me living in a permanent state of nirvana and bliss, I am analyzing the envious part of my life.  I am a green-eyed monster when I look at those who travel, take great photos, dress fashionably, bake, decorate like Manual Canovas, play the guitar, can French braid hair, are funny, have green roofs, hold hands with their husband, run triathalons, have more blog followers; oh, the list could go on and on.  There is quite a lot of areas where I feel inadequate.

On the one hand, I  feel that modern humans, or at least the humans that make up the American middle class, have their priorities a mess, myself included.  We worry about whether our duvet covers match the throw pillows, if our cars have bluetooth and on-board GPS, whether our smile is white enough, and if our hair is buttery or honey blond.  We cannot live without our Keurig, food processor, flat iron, cellphone, or pillowtop mattress.  Until I redid my kitchen, I was a miserable complainer; if I worked, then I felt I deserved a nice kitchen.  Actually, I still do complain about the trivial and the nonessential, and I probably always will.  We do this because that's what everyone else is worried about.  But, the better part of this world is and has been populated with people who are mostly concerned with survival, which makes me feel like a spoiled neurotic.

On the other hand, I feel this pressure is exascerbated by media of all types.  When you look at shiny catalogs, the women are so stylish, the homes are clean and tidy and beautiful, and the refrigerators are stocked with Perrier and fresh fruit and a beautiful cake.  I want that life.  Social media adds to the angst by showing only the good parts of your friends' lives.  Oh, wow, my cousin got her children on skis already, and my friend take hikes and captures professional shots with her expensive cameras, and my single friends eat out and have fine wine every night!  I want those lives, too.  I love that I can keep in touch with everyone all at the same time, but let's be honest, does anyone ever share a picture of themselves eating cereal from the box with bedhead and leg hair in their pyjamas on a Thursday afternoon?  No, they only post the fun times, the good food, the wonderful vacation.
Mine just doesn't even come
close.  I swear the lamp near
the stairwell is lit.

I do a huge amount of "research"* for my dollhouse projects. And I come across all kinds of talented, creative, amazing people. Inevitably, I end up comparing myself to them, and I don't really measure up.  Some examples include:

  • A man, with a flair for dramatic French names, who is making a miniature French "Maison de Grands Rêves".  Oh, la, la!
  • Dutch dollhouses that I swear are really just page scans from Elle Decor, because there is just no way!
  • I have to coin a new word for
    this: RidiKRISlous.
  • Kris, the woman that I copied my mattress from.  She makes furniture from paper, and everything looks amazing. 

I just have to trust that my mini work is good enough.  And, if I don't compare my products to others, I should be happy.  Mostly...  If we could just redo the basement.  And my skin was smoother.

*a little known synonym for research is procrastinate or waste time


  1. Ugh, me too...all the time. That's why I try to always remember what Theodore Roosevelt said: "Comparison is the thief of joy"

  2. I tell all my friends about how bad it is to compare yourself with others. You should only compare with yourself in all areas of life. It's something I always have in mind when I start criticizing myself. Its not worth it to feel bad because you dont think you are good enough. There is so much you can be happy about yourself for, so one shouldnt focus on such silly thoughts of compare yourself with others. You can be inspired by others and look up to them but you can only do something after his own ability. We are all unique =) By the way, the tiny little lundby house is just a picture that they glued on a piece of wood =)
    take care! hugs!

  3. I also envy those bloggers that can reply to comments correctly - I cannot seem to get that "reply" button to do what it supposed to. Anna is correct! That Lundby house is a fake! I feel so much better about my mini mini now! Thank you. And, Christina O, I had never heard that quote before, and it's a good one. Thank you!!

  4. I think we all do humans, even celebrities with their glittery lives. I personally couldn't imagine being so famous that I couldn't run to the store without worrying that someone would take a picture of me buying eggs and post it all over the internet. :O For me, when I get down about things, I just remember one simple fact: it invites a lot of misery when you dwell on what you don't have. It has taken some time to find peace in my life, and it's a wonderful gift. :]



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