I was asked to write an article about comparison for the 9th issue of Darling Magazine. I love the magazine, and everything it stands for, so I of course was flattered to be a contributor. Check out my article, Stay In Your Lane. I hope it encourages you. Xoxo Lydia
My husband and I have a saying: “Stay in your lane.” We will sometimes pull this out when we sense the other is focusing on other people or comparing what he or she has with what our friends or acquaintances have. By remembering to “stay in your own lane,” we are reminding each other that it doesn’t matter what anyone else has, we are on our own unique journey.
I was on the eighth season of “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” I think it is my natural disposition to be optimistic and see the good in life. However, walking through that experience, I got a cold, hard taste of humanity. People can be brutal and ruthless! They will love you and hate you in the same moment. However, I don’t think you have to be on a reality show to experience the cattiness of women. I think it’s definitely magnified in media, but also exists in the real world—not just reality TV.
As a wife and mother, I have my own hopes, dreams and desires. By comparing myself to how another woman looks, or how another mom’s kids are always perfect without a stain on their clothes, it doesn’t do anything for me but frustrate and diminish all my talents and gifts. My kids have milk mustaches and are 10 minutes late most days, but I have learned to be content in that.
Thankfully, I have found a group of friends that have zero competition with each other. We genuinely have loving marriages and want the best for each other. I know it is rare, but these types of women are out there! However, I have not always been surrounded by such healthy relationships.
Waiting for another girl to walk out of the room, only to turn to one another and comment on her, doesn’t just happen in the halls of high schools. Gossiping, competing, judging and bragging are all descriptions of females, and that is so unfortunate.
Many times I have been in groups where woman are literally dressing for other women—wearing an outfit or a pair of shoes that only another fashionista would know you dropped three or four digits on.
I own my share of red-bottomed shoes, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But like everything in life, I believe there is a balance, and it comes down to a question of identity. If our identity is rooted in wearing expensive or hip clothing, that is where we will find our worth. We will be checking out every other girl and her outfit, which will suddenly determine the mood we’re in. If I’m placing my value on my six-pack abs (which, at six months pregnant, trust me, I don’t have!), then my body suddenly is very important. If another woman has a better one, I somehow feel competitive and find my mind drawing comparisons between us.
There is good in dressing up. There is good in working out and wanting to be in shape. Those things are not bad, but when we let it become who we are and what we see our value to be, that is where it becomes dangerous. Our fit bodies start to become of such worth, or our outfit starts to be what we see our value in. No wonder we want to put down another woman if our value system is wanting to have the perfect outfit on the perfect body. That is a breeding ground for envy and competition.
How do we not become the catty, jealous housewife stereotype? We choose otherwise. We balance our life with things that matter and surround ourselves with other women who are full of life and not in a competition, but are instead simply staying in their own lane, content with who they are and the path they are on. We take the power back into our hands and shine the light we have within, for it is unique and only we possess it. By being aware of this, we will be less inclined to gossip about other women. Our cattiness will subside and we will want to lift each other up instead of put each other down.
As women, we have been given such a gift. We are beautiful and powerful. We are unique and emotional, empathetic and insightful. We can instill in our children where their identity lies. We can lift one another up and come alongside each other, being advocates for success. The plan should be WE ALL SUCCEED … because, quite honestly, my goals and dreams are different than the woman next to me. Her being a great cook and amazing boss has nothing to do with my worth or my beauty. I’m staying in my lane on an amazing journey called life and it is way more fun comming alongside other amazing, successful, fun women who cheer for each other along the way. Let’s all decide to be those types of friends, those types of ladies. I am choosing to be the advocate and cheerleader for the people I come in contact with because, let’s face it, the catty jealous housewife is so cliché.