Connection not Comparison

I love to entertain. I like hosting dinner parties, game nights, girls’ nights, taco nights you name it, really any excuse to have people gather at my house. We have a wonderful and ever-growing and evolving group of friends, but here’s the thing: Most of my friends have beautiful homes. Like magazine gorgeous homes. My house is small. My furniture is old-ish. I keep things tidy, but I’m not a clean freak. So, I often talk myself out of inviting friends over because I feel inadequate about my house. This is ridiculous; right? So why can’t I get over it?

Hi Honey, I get this and admire you (I am mostly a hermit.) Let me ask you a few things: What do you enjoy most about hosting get-togethers? Do you like hanging out and laughing with your friends? Sharing stories and wine? Do you like to nurture and care for people by feeding them?

Chances are if you love entertaining people, people love coming to your house. I imagine you radiate hospitality and warmth, and your guests probably couldn’t even describe what your old’ish furniture looks like because they come to your house for you: your heart, your love, your kind and welcoming spirit. Maybe the food too?

Lots of my friends have beautiful homes as well, but what sticks out when I visit them is not the size or decor but the energy. It sounds like your home has good energy. I rid myself of people who came to my house with white gloves on, and it sounds like you have too, so don’t get caught in the comparison trap.

I don’t love to host or attend big parties. They drain me. I’m a one-on-one type of person. However, after failed attempts at being part of organized religious groups, hanging out with friends, eating, drinking, talking, laughing has become “church” for me.

So host away! More girls’ nights, taco nights and dinner parties. Play games and share stories and have communion with your friends. Enjoy your parties and don’t give a second thought to whose house is bigger or better because yours is happy and filled with love and so are you.

xoxo

 

Talk That Belongs in the Trash

By society’s standards, I’m a highly successful person. Great marriage, good career–I like my job where I am treated and compensated well– two lovely children, though they are still quite small, and my dream home. I’m happy and surrounded by good friends and a loving family. All that said: Why is it so much easier to listen to a few negative voices that want to tear me down versus the many many positive ones lifting me up?

You sound wonderful and charming, and I’m very sorry that there are any voices speaking negativity into your life. Your life sounds wonderful–enviable, even–and it’s my suspicion that the people who are speaking negatively to and/or about you probably wish that their life was as happy as yours.

Think about it: Do you spew negativity onto the people in your life? Doubtful since you’re a happy person. I feel you, sister. I do. I try to be positive and kind…to uplift those around me. And guess what? There are still people who talk shit about me. There are still people who try to bring me down.

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”― Dita Von Teese

Your reaction is normal. Most people feel hurt when someone says mean things to or about them. Sometimes, we harbor deep insecurities that are triggered by those comments. Sometimes, we might wonder if we “deserve” whatever good fortune we have. Sometimes those “Debbie Downers” sound like our own nasty inner shrew which seems to lend some sort of credence to what is actually nonsense. Whatever the reason, it can be hard to put that talk into the right compartment–the trash bin.

My mom always said: Consider the source. I never really got it when I was younger, but now I do and try to keep that in mind when someone comes at me. Full Disclosure: I rarely succeed at first.

People who aren’t happy with their own lives sometimes feel threatened by other people’s happiness and success and want to rain on their parades. Newsflash: There’s plenty of happiness and success for everyone; no one gets ahead by tearing others down.

Those who speak negativity into your life are only projecting their own feelings of unworthiness and unhappiness onto you. Don’t let them steal your joy.

I hope you can let the negative voices go straight to the trash where they belong. Live your happy life! Enjoy your marriage and career and children. Especially if they’re little. Cause girlfriend, I’m warning you now: Tweens are no day at the beach.

xoxo

 

You Win.

Not sure how to write this without sounding childish, but here goes. I have this friend who is ultra-competitive, passive-aggressive, and for lack of a better way to say it copies everything I do and and then tries to pass things off as her original ideas.

For instance, I get a new car–she gets a better new car. I start a “cleanse,” and she posts 90 pics of her new paleo meals–cause she’s paleo now. My kid gets an award at school, and hers enrolls in astronaut camp or some shit.

I know it should not bother me, but it is so ANNOYING!! I can’t really cut her out of my life, and she’s not a bad person … but this behavior drives me crazy.

Hi Honey,

My gut reaction: You must be super-fabulous if someone is trying that hard to be like you. Do you wanna be friends, lol? I promise I won’t copy you 😉 Seriously though, if your life wasn’t so awesome, your friend wouldn’t be trying so hard to emulate your behavior–even while trying to pass your ideas off as her own, which is incredibly annoying.

When I was in 8th grade I told a friend about a pair of shoes I really really wanted. The next day she showed up with the exact shoes I was coveting. I was so pissed, and my mom told me, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But when I finally saved enough money to buy the shoes, it would look like I was copying her. Ugh. Never got the shoes. Lived to tell the story.

Side note: That full quote is “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Well well well, that’s a bit harsher. Oscar Wilde does not play.

But through elementary and middle and high school, I’ve used the same sentiment 5000 times or so with my own girls. And it’s actually started to ring true to me. Even though I still get really fucking pissed about it sometimes. Especially when someone tries to pass off my words or ideas as their own. Work in progress, folks.

During my brief stint as an avid churchgoer, I shared one such annoyance with my pastor about a person who–while actively disliking me–followed my blog and periodically plagiarized my writing in her own posts. His response stuck with me: There’s no such thing as an original idea. Think about it…what you wrote? You probably got the idea from someone else. Most likely someone you admire or who at least inspired you in the moment. So try re-framing it in your mind. No, that person is never going to give you credit, but you can give yourself credit, knowing that you’ve inspired someone else. Even someone who doesn’t like you. That’s something.

Circling back to my original sentiment, I think you must be pretty freaking amazing if your friend wants so badly to be like you. Yes, I agree with you 100 percent, her behavior is super-annoying. But here’s the thing: She’s not fooling anybody. And so what if she is. You are living the fabulous life she is trying so hard to create. You already won.

I really mean it about being friends, and as all my friends know, I’m not even currently interviewing new friends. But I’d make an exception for you 😉

 

You’re Already Amazing

This sounds so petty that I feel awful even writing it…but I’m jealous of my friends. It seems like they are all in great relationships, with exciting careers, moving forward with these amazing lives, and I am stuck. No man. A boring job. Blah. I love my friends so much and don’t want to feel like this.

 

Oh honey…I am sorry you’re feeling blah, and I promise you I feel your pain. It can be difficult to see others–even people we love–realizing dreams when life seems to be in a holding pattern for us. It’s hard not to compare ourselves with others or feel envious of their achievements if we feel like life keeps handing us lemons.

I promise you we have all been in this situation–even your fabulous friends with their great relationships and careers and lives. One of my favorite quotes is by Stephen Furtick:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

Goodness, isn’t that the truth? I wish I looked half as my own picture right now (thanks, Amy). The truth is, I’m in yoga pants, with my dirty hair in a bun, drinking a cup of coffee I’ve warmed up 3 times (update the dog just drank it) and smelling cat pee somewhere near–or on–me.

Sometimes, I think we view life as having a limited number of opportunities … as if someone else’s success makes our own less possible. Your friend didn’t snag the last good man or great job, love. The universe is a place of abundant opportunity. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling bad, but if you aren’t happy with where you are, by all means realize that you have the power to change your circumstances.

And honestly, honey, I’m guessing if you are surrounded by such fantastic people, you are probably far more amazing than you can even imagine.

xoxo

Wanna chat? Great!

Happy New Year, honey

“How are you always so happy?”

Those who know me really well, my  husband for instance, are saying, “She’s not. She’s a damned mess 75% of the time.” And that’s the truth. I’m not always happy. I try to put on a happy face. I try to be happy. But sometimes, I’m not. You can read all about my malaise…my dark place on Adventures in Overthinking.

I try not to overthink here. Or give advice.

But here’s my answer: I’m not always so happy. I try to put stuff in perspective. Count my blessings, cliche as it sounds. Remind myself that whatever unpleasantness I’m experiencing is temporary. Shift my focus to something that makes me smile. Meditate. Do yoga.

And sometimes I take to my bed. Cry. Throw tantrums. Feel sorry for myself. Eat a bunch of shit. Drink too many beers.

No one’s always so happy, my friend, please don’t hold yourself up to a false standard. We’re all struggling in different ways, and if someone seems to have a perfect life, you can bet under the surface they’re paddling like mad to make that way. Or to make it appear that way to themselves or others. Good for them. We’re all in this together. Your success is mine. My happiness is yours. Let’s do a better job of cheering each other on in 2017!

Wanna chat? Great! send an email to: hihoney.jfz@gmail.com