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Guys, I’m feeling kinda feisty. I’m gonna let it all out and hope that it comes out making sense, ok?

As you know, the idea of authenticity, flaws, and blogging have been swirling around the interwebs and here on MML lately. Something’s in the air and it feels like the honest breeze is a welcome change for a lot of people.

But I’m feeling feisty about the fact that though it’s great that this transparency is surfacing, it really is not essential for our own self-confidence. Yes, it’s wonderful to see the less ideal side of the people we admire. But even if we don’t see it all the time, we should first know that they are still human beings who have struggles and may not be comfortable sharing them at that moment (like Dooce and her separation or Joanna and her depression), and also that we are no less awesome than they are.

While every now and then I personally do feel pangs of jealousy when I see someone with a rare gift or talent (I can’t sing, don’t have a ton of money to buy all the clothes I like, and cooking just is not in my blood), it usually doesn’t sit with me for very long.

And while there may be a small element of my personality that is to blame for this, I think it also comes from my own journey toward truth.

You see, if you’ve read my about page, you know that I faced a lot of monsters in college and was one of the most insecure people that I knew back then. I wanted to be like everyone else, have what they had, and look like they looked. I wanted a guy to make me complete. And with every candy bar that I binged, bag that I bought, or lipstick that I wore, I hoped that I would suddenly be the perfect person that I so desperately wanted to be.

I wanted to feel Complete. And Happy. Oh, and Perfect was good too. 

But each attempt at completion through these external things left me feeling empty inside and could not satiate my appetite. Quite literally.

… Until I read the quote by Michelangelo that changed my life and showed me my purpose. When asked about how he could create the David statue out of just a simple piece of stone, he replied that it was easy; he saw the potential within the stone and simply needed to remove the layers that were hiding it all along.

A-ha!

I had been approaching my troubles by adding layers to my life in the form of clothing, men, candy bars, purses, you name it. And none of this excess really changed me at all. My physical and mental clutter just covered up the person that I wanted so despeartely to be.

I didn’t really want to be someone else, I really wanted to be the “me” that was dormant inside of myself all along.

So I first attacked the physical clutter that I didn’t need, use, or love. Then, I worked hard for several years to work on only eating and exercising according to what I needed, used, and loved.  After that it was about making my career about what I need, use, and love. And most recently it has been about removing completion expectations from my relationship.

All the while, it’s clear to see that I stopped looking outside myself for anything beyond gentle inspiration. Sure, I love how skilled Oprah was at delivering her gift, and how effortlessly Kendi gets dressed. But I never tried to be Oprah or Kendi.

As my lady Joyce Meyers has said, just recognize that in some way the blessings in people’s lives balance out the other negative things in their lives. If you knew everything that they went through in their lives to be where they are today, chances are you would not want to trade lives at all. I keep this in mind whenever those pangs of jealousy start to crop up when reading online and they seem to dissolve pretty quickly.

Though I’d love to be as influential and helpful as Joyce or Oprah, both were severely sexually abused in their childhood. Which is something I would never trade for the fame and popularity that came with their careers.

So I go back to focusing on my intentions for my life and the progress that I’m making. It’s about producing my own success story.

Therefore, for those who might be struggling with these envy pangs and the rat race of comparison, I beg you to study The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (or some other book that will help you focus on yourself), write a future letter to yourself that explains what you want out of your own life… and just keep working on YOU.

For the rest of your life, not just the next two weeks. Forever.

As Mrs. Meyers likes to repeat, “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m doing okay and I’m on my way.”

  • Amen =) You go girl!

  • Awesome post today, Jess. Happy March!! I too have strayed into the comparison trap – whether as a mom, as a budding entrepreneur, you name it…and when I hear someone occasionally envy me? I think, me, really??? I tell my kids and anyone else who cares to listen….All I can be is the best “me” I know how. Obsessing at the beach about how you look in your bathing suit?? There will ALWAYS be someone who looks better than you and ALWAYS someone who looks not quite as hot:)

  • Wow Jess, what a great post today! I love how you say “I didn’t really want to be someone else, I really wanted to be the “me” that was dormant inside of myself all along.” I feel the same way. I used to strive for perfection but once I gave that up I felt true freedom and excitement and essentially found myself. It’s a wonderful feeling to love oneself and opens you up to a world of opportunity and possibility.

  • CB

    Love your post, your feistiness inspires me! I know people normally don’t get “religious” in comments, and typically I don’t either – I really don’t want to sound “preachy,” but why not just be honest since we’re all entitled to our beliefs? The best way I can fight my brain when it starts to feel envy is to try to remember my faith in God. I believe that God loves each and every one of us just as we are, not because of anything that we do or don’t do – only by His enormous grace. It doesn’t matter if we’re rich or poor, famous or unknown, well-liked or despised. When we come to God, He forgives us even when we don’t deserve forgiveness and ultimately fall short. If God, the creator of the universe, loves me this much then I can walk confidently, knowing that he will lovingly take care of me and help me to become what is ultimately good for me to become. At the same time, I should be humble when I realize that God’s love and good intentions for me are a gift – not something I “earned” more or less than anyone else. There is no reason for me to want to become anyone else except for the me that God loves.

  • Susan

    Oh man, I love Feisty Jess! This post is a little bit of a kick in the pants, and I like it! What a great start to the new month.

  • I LOVE this post so so much. The line about the importance of focusing on our OWN success story is what really stood out to me. Focusing on growing as individuals and becoming who we truly area is is such a blessing and a privilege. Thanks for your words 🙂

  • Oh my gosh. I don’t know how I stumbled upon your blog but I feel it was meant to be. I was meant to read this post. I really needed this and this has really uplifted me. It’s stopped me before I even was able to go down that dark path of question and just really show that we aren’t alone. Everyone faces struggles and it’s sometimes your mind telling you that you’re the only one missing out. I want to share this and print this out and put it on my bulletin board to read whenever in doubt. Thanks so much. 🙂

  • I love this. My last two posts, funnily enough, were about all the kinds of lives I’d like to lead and figuring out which paths I actually want to take, and having the courage to take action. Comparing myself to others is one of my biggest downfalls – I just can’t help it.

  • Wow… what an inspirational post. I definitely needed to hear this. I love that Michaelangelo quote. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • Jess

    Like Carrie said, Amen, ladies!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • So much goodness in this post, thanks Jess! I have a book of daily reflections taken from The 7 Habits and the one I read yesterday fits in perfectly with what you said, I think: “Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum of life. That’s why a character trait that is essential to Win/Win is the Abundance Mentality, the paradigm that there is plenty out there for everybody. (from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 219) I just thought it fit so perfectly and thought I’d add in in here in case anyone else reading found it helpful too!

  • I had a rough weekend and really needed this post – thank you!

  • Such great advice!
    I really like the idea of paring back to the you that you truly are.

  • Pingback: Self Doubt | Sarah van Loon()

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