#2 avoid comparing yourself with other women

The truth is, comparing ourselves to others doesn't just steal our joy, it robs those around us of the rare gift of a woman who has learned to offer her uniqueness to the world.

We are all individuals - unique in ourselves and in our view of the world, but oh....how quickly I compare myself to other women around me. I look at my friends and compare my life to theirs, I compare how I'm aging, how my family and children are going compared to theirs, how my fashion sense looks, whether my values are the same as theirs etc etc.

I won't even start thinking too hard about how I compare myself to women I don't even know and whose lives are a world away from my own.
I need to appreciate the person I've become, I need to work at refining myself so that I can be the best possible "me", but at the same time I need to realize that the best possible "me" probably won't look anything like the world's version of a successful woman and it also won't look much like my friends' versions either.

I don't want to be a photocopy of another person - regardless of how much I admire them. I don't want to be a cookie cutter version of mid-life womanhood. No, I want to be alive and vibrant and brimming with all the possibilities open to me and if I keep stopping to check whether this matches up with the lives of those around me, then I risk losing ground and stagnating. It's hard to find the right balance in aging gracefully and I'm not sure that I'll ever get it just right, but I need to do it in the confidence of my own qualities and attributes. It scares me that I might get it wrong, but that is part of the refining process too and it gives a depth to life if I try and fail and then try again.

So, this year will be dedicated to being the individual I am and I will stop using others as my gauge of success. Instead, I will look to the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - as my baseline and work from there. These make for more depth and character and worth than the superficial outward stuff. Hopefully I'll be able to say that I succeeded in becoming the woman I was created to be - although I will still be a work in progress until the day I die.

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