Housewife MacGyver: The Perfection of a False Reality

My dear friend Heather is back again today to share another dose of her real-world love and wisdom. Give her a warm welcome back...

In today's world, when we become dissastified or frustrated or bored with our lives, it is exceptionally easy to create a false reality to live in or someone elses to covet.  Social networks, blogs, text messaging, and plain, old-fashioned, everyday interactions can make the lives of those around us look wonderful and at times perfect.  Appearances can be decieving.

Even though your friend may look perfectly put together, and her children are wearing adorable coordinated clothes, and they drive a nicer car than you, and her house is immaculately clean at any given time... that does not for even one second mean that her life is perfect, or "better" than yours.

NO ONE, I repeat NO ONE has a perfect life.  You may not know about a struggle with depression going on behind the scenes, or a chronic illness or condition being dealt with.  Perhaps a battle with keeping a marriage happy and together or struggle with infertility is affecting someone that you are unaware of.  And even if they are not dealing with something at this moment, their time will come.
It's easy to have moments of "perfection": the hour you spend on vacation playing together and taking pictures, or the one decent dinner you manage to turn out in a week or more and decide to post about, or a new haircut that you have been waiting months to get.  Those are all things that are perfect in their own moments.

And naturally, we want to share our triumphs and happy times with others.  It is much harder to admit our weaknesses and and share our failures, plus it tends to be a bit depressing.  But ironically, focusing on and comparing ourselves to others is also depressing.

Don't judge others, or yourself, on superficial information.  If all someone had to judge you by was your facebook updates, what would they think of you?  We all have baggage; some peoples' are heavier than others.  Sometimes there are even hurts that never go away, like the loss of a parent, child, or loved one that everyone else forgets about over time, but for those closest, the pain can stay very real long long after the loss.

If we allow ourselves to believe the lie that we are not as good as those we see, we can start down a very dangerous path. 

Take me for example.  If by some chance I have happened to fool anyone into believing I've got it all together or something, there are some things you should know.  I am not a good housekeeper, I have piles of dirty dishes and laundry and stuff around at any given time.  I am not very patient sometimes, and at times I let it get the better of me.  I lost my mother at age 14 and I envy everyone lucky enough to still have theirs.  I have a problem saying no to pretty fabric and paper.  And I don't always remember to brush my teeth.

But, there are many good things in my life.  And I do try to focus on them.  I have a husband and daughter who in my eyes are pretty darn wonderful and we love each other very much.  I love all things crafty (except cross stitching, my impatience gets in the way) and I am fairly good at them.  I also enjoy cooking and do pretty well there too.  I also like people and am generally comfortable in social situations.  And, I have been told, that I give off an air of general happiness.

Now, if you only knew about my strengths, it would be easy to imagine that I had few weaknesses.  But it wouldn't be true.  And I am willing to bet an awful lot of cookies that the same is true for each and every person that you and I know.

Life is not a competition.  That kind of high school mentality has NEVER led to happiness.  As a little girl I was lucky enough to have parents who told me "The only person you should compare Heather to is Heather".  In other words, you are the only measuring stick your should EVER use to judge yourself with.  Who cares if Pretty Patty Perfection next door had her Christmas shopping for this year finished back in April.  Or if her skin appears flawless at any given time.  Or if she runs 10 miles every day?  None of those things make YOU any less of the wonderful person YOU are.

Just tell yourself the next time you get discouraged by someone elses seemingly perfect life, you don't know the whole story.  That picture of their cute baby might have taken an hour of crying to get, or years and years of trying to get here, or both.  Don't let yourself sink too deeply in the lives of others.  Take some time to live your own life, and maybe even make it more like you'd like it to be.  And maybe don't be so unwilling to admit to others some of the chaos going on behind your scenes :)

One last thing.  I truly believe with all my heart and soul that a loving God created each and every one of us.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.   He sees the beauty and potential he placed within each of us.  There is no fooling him, for good or bad.  He wants us to be happy, no matter our circumstance.  He loves EVERY one of us, and wants us to learn to have that same love for each other.  So just remember the next time you are discouraged or disgusted by someone elses life, to look through God's eyes.  Try to see yourself and others the way he sees us.  You'd be surprised just how much the picture changes :)


Debra said...

Beautifully said Heather.

Susan said...

So needed and so well said. I had this experience after our eighth daughter was born. I didn't realize it immediately, but people at church hated me because of what they saw. We sat on the 2nd row at Sacrament Meeting, our children appeared to be reverant, and well-behaved. My husband was the Elders Quorum pres, and seminary teacher. I "seemed" put together and they wondered how I did it. Little did they know, everyday was a struggle to get through. I had post-partum depression, was overwhelmed, and even asked to be released from my calling because I couldn't handle anything. Every other woman at church wanted to throw up on me because they thought I was too go to be true or something. It was a painful time because I felt so alone at the one place I should feel I had friends. No one is who they appear to be at church. We don't know what is going on in anyone elses lives! A good friend of mine, who seemed to have it all...recently moved in with her mother because her husband left her. We need to be kind to everyone. If someone appears to be happy and have it all, don't be jealous, be kind!

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