Sometimes I look back at the post archives on the blog and think it’s fun to see what was going on one year, two years, even four years ago to the date. When I came across this post from August 15, 2011, it felt like a good one to bring back for today.
We’re all pretty aware that life shown on blogs and social media is not a perfect representation of reality and the conversation about comparison and appearances has been ongoing. But it’s still a great conversation to have. And even though this post was written at a time when there was no such thing as instagram, pinterest and twitter certainly wasn’t as big a thing, the struggle is still real, if not even more in our faces every day.
The comment number on the original post from 2011 is among the highest of any post I’ve written, so I assume it hits a cord with a few of you :)
So let’s go back a few years and take a peek at the post:
I AM A BIG FAN OF BLOGS
originally published on August 15, 2011
I write a blog. And I do love it.
But before I was a blogger, I was a reader of blogs. Lots of them. And I still am.
My intention with this post was to share a list of the blogs that I love – and that will come – but I feel this need to share something else instead. Something not quite as fluffy as blogs I love, but probably important to say since it’s been on my heart for quite some time.
Comparison. Insecurity. Self-righteousness.
My best friend says that blogs are like pornography for women. Now don’t be offended. I know that it’s a pretty raunchy comparison, but bear with me. The thing about pornography that traps so many is the lure of something almost reality. The women are gorgeous and tight, they’ll say what you want to hear and do what your wildest dreams could only imagine. They give you promise of something so good, but always leave you feeling inadequate, let down, and unsatisfied with your true reality. And yet that promise is so tantalizing, you keep coming back for more.
The same can be true of blog-reading. It all looks so good and attractive, is inspiring and encouraging (even addicting), but you often walk away feeling inadequate, let down and unsatisfied with your true reality.
We get so absorbed in and enchanted by the life of whosever blog we’re reading that when we step back from the computer and look around at the beautiful mess that is our real life, we feel like we don’t measure up.
How many times have I had these thoughts :
I wish I was as creative as Ashley.
If only my house looked like Erika’s.
I will never be as full of wisdom as Angie.
Or as chic as Seleta.
Or as clever as Kasey.
Or as good a mom as Meg.
and on and on and on.
I don’t know these ladies, but in my few interactions with them I can say that none of them intend to make others feel this way. They are beautiful women who are simply sharing their lives.
But this is the problem with blogs. We present what we want to (typically only the best of life) and put on a front that we have it all together. Of course that is what I want to write about. Who wants to read about my bad hair day and the bad attitude that followed? Or the frustration I feel when I just want to eat my own breakfast and wish my children would leave me alone for five minutes!? Sometimes posts like that happen, but the majority of them are happy, clean and pretty.
What breaks my heart, sweet reader, is that in my attempt to share the best of my life with you, perhaps I have left you feeling somehow inadequate.
That your home doesn’t measure up. Or your talents. Or your children (or lack thereof).
And that is truly not my intention.
My maiden name is Jones and I find it quite ironic that my biggest struggle of all is comparison.
You know, the whole keeping up with the Joneses thing?
Oh, how I am completely aware of it in my own life.
It is a constant struggle for me to be able to look at other’s successes and be genuinely happy for them without that little nudge of insecurity to creep in. And on the other side, it is a challenge for me to look at my own successes and not feel like I am somehow better than another.
To be in that place where I am fully confident in who God made me to be and have no need to compare myself is where I am headed, but I am not yet there.
I read this devotion to my children months ago and it has stuck with me:
“Stop comparing yourself to other people. When you compare yourself to others, you end up either feeling that you’re better than they are, or feeling bad about yourself. Neither of those things is what I want for you.
I created each of My children with unique talents. And I have given each of you your own road to follow. So it is useless to compare yourself to someone else – that person has a completely different path to follow.
When you want to feel good about yourself, remember how much I love you. Remember that I made you just the way I want you to be. And remember that I died so you could have My salvation. You are a jewel in My crown.”
Isn’t that good? Written for little ones, but pierces my soul with its truth.
So this is what I am trying to say …
I love reading blogs. There are so many ridiculously creative, talented, wise women who I am daily inspired by. And I want so much to be able to leave their little corner of the web feeling encouraged rather than defeated. That is a decision that is completely up to me. It is all about confidence : knowing who I am and whose I am.
At the same time, I want my little corner that is Jones Design Company to be a place where you can also come to be encouraged and inspired. I try my best to be my genuine self and I hope you know that while I try to be as honest as possible, this is not the perfect representation of me and my life. I am terrible at making meals. My closet is a wreck. I like crass jokes and am very goofy in real life. I cry at stupid things (like the beluga whales doing tricks at the zoo) and I haven’t showered in a few days.
I love reading blogs. And I will share with you a list of some of my favorites. But I just wanted to get it out on the table that sometimes I struggle mightily with feeling insecure when I read these blogs. I’m not sure if you feel the same way, but I’m guessing that since women can be very insecure creatures, perhaps you can identify.
But just remember (and I say this to myself as well) that you were made to be you. Not Ashley or Meg or Seleta (who are all delightful, I am sure), but just you.
You are a jewel in His crown.