What if instead of fretting over the struggles in our life, we celebrated them, talked about them, showed them off?
What if instead of more reality news we had real life news?
What if we all started celebrating our real lives instead of just showing off the fancy parts?
Here is the thing, there is so much fake in the world that we just don’t know what real is anymore. As parents, we feel the need to compare everything about our lives to what we see plastered on freaking social media and TV. From the local mom’s group and their fancy craft dates to the high school “friend” that just backpacked across Europe that we never talked to in high school anyway.
We have to find a way to combat this crap!
As I started typing this blog post in between Super Bowl commercials, I started to think, why do we compare? So off to google I went and I found this article on psychologytoday.com about the comparison trap.
“Since comparison is a fundamental human impulse, there’s really no way of shutting it down completely. But if we understand its origins, mechanisms, and what to watch out for, we may be able to mitigate the negative effects and amplify the good—both online and off.”
It started as a defense mechanism. When comparing our survival traits, if I knew you were good at running fast and I was good with a spear, then you were sent to distract the sabertooth while I killed it. That makes sense. Knowing what everyone’s skills and downfalls are kept you alive in the group.
If this truly is human nature, then what if we change the comparison content?
What if we started seeing apples to apples, not apples to oranges?
I remember being fresh out of high school, recently married to my high school sweetheart and we had just bought our first home. It wasn’t a dream home, but it was ok. I remember the people I worked with all had nice homes, with fancy decorated interiors. They had great “stuff”. We had a hand me down couch, a truck that leaked oil and not one matching dish. I remember being so jealous of their lives.
Fast forward 20 years and now I know, I was comparing apples to oranges. They were all older, settled, had been in their homes and at their jobs for a long time. They had time to acquire all that stuff. They were the same age I am now. I still don’t have much in the way of stuff, but I now have matching dishes. I can now compare apples to apples. I also now know just how much of a struggle their life still was.
So what if the person we project out there is our true self and true life? What if we went beyond the stuff and show how with time we have acquired knowledge. What if we show that even with all that stuff and knowledge we still don’t really have our shit together.
What if we try to level the playing field in the comparison game?
The game isn’t going to go away, but what if we change the rules?
Because here is the thing, just like my young self was trying to compare herself to people that had been on the planet a few years more than her, there is a young Kelly out there right now trying to compare herself to me.
“Social comparison is generally most potent for the young.”
We need to show the younger versions of ourselves that life isn’t perfect. Hell, we need to show our neighbors, that friend from high school and the mom’s group that we don’t have our shit together. That we might be good at one thing (like those crafts dates) and that we suck at other things like mopping the floor.
Everyone’s highlight reel needs to show ALL the highlights, not just the fancy ones!
That’s where real life documentary photography comes in. It shows off all the moments, not just the cuddly ones. It shows the world that even as adults we do not have our shit together all the time. Sure today I made homemade pancakes for breakfast, but for lunch, my kid ate grapes, goldfish and an oreo she found in the back of the cabinet.
Did you know the number one reason moms don’t want to be in the photo with their kids?
They are afraid of how they look. Not how they look to their family, but to everyone else. The social pressure they have put on themselves by comparing apples to oranges.
Stop! Stop right now!
If you want to look up to someone to inspire you to feel better about yourself, do it. But don’t stop living your life because of someone else’s highlight reel!
Are you ready to start leveling the playing field? Let’s chat.
It just takes one parent to start a revolution!