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Comparing Oneself

(36 Posts)
LouLou23 Sat 09-Sep-23 22:00:45

As I've gotten older I've accepted both my failures and my accomplishments, as well as how my appearance has changed. I have gotten into a habit now of comparing myself to people from my past who have aged better, look better, are relatively healthy, are still happily married, have meaningful work, beautiful children and grandkids. For me, I was married to a Minister and as a result I did alot of teaching, counseling as his wife. After he had a moral failing, we ended up divorcing and the people who were our friends and peers basically never called. It was an uphill journey for me as a single mother who basically was along raising my small children. At some point I wanted to do the right thing and telephoned the head Minister he had been working for to apologize for what had happened. Instead of asking how we were or how I was faring, he told me that I was a terrible minister's wife. After 30 years it still echoes through my mind. I always put my babies first and not the church. I also disagreed with some things but never said anything. I did put my family first and admittedly did not meet the expectations he and his wife had of me which I didn't even know existed. I didn't entertain properly and didn't attend all 3 church services every week, mostly because I was exhausted or crying due to my husband's behavior. Many of the people who we knew and some our peers grew up in the church and I'm not sure could survive outside of its cacoon. I didn't and as a result found some practices odd and not respectful of other religions. Now in my mid 60's I looked up some of the people from those days who we worked with. I found myself astonished that they are still doing the same thing while living a very comfortable lifestyle as the churches they are working in are the mega church type. The wives are beautiful and the husbands are handsome and daunt on them (at least on the surface - these are online videos of them mind you) I feel like I look 10 years older than they and like a failure. Has anyone else done this as well? How did you pull yourself out of it?

aggie Sat 09-Sep-23 22:13:03

Raising four children is an achievement for a loving couple , but on your own it must have been a mountain !
And you have kept to your morals , that’s an achievement
Don’t bother looking at those un feeling people as an example , they weren’t very moral in their lack of help for you
Being your own person is the aim and you have done it 💐

Nannarose Sat 09-Sep-23 22:19:57

It sounds as if you are in the US, and sometimes it can be difficult to advise across cultures.
Maybe the nub of the problem is in the title - comparing yourself to others is a zero-sum game.
I would begin by telling yourself that you made the best decision you could, at the time, in the best interests of the most important people (your children)
Sounds to me like the Head Minister was trying to shift the blame from his poor mangement to you - don't let him!
You don't mention any real friends or family who can help you feel better - can you try to spend time with people who will build you up for who you are?
Good luck

V3ra Sat 09-Sep-23 22:47:25

Are you proud of how you have supported your children by yourself for all these years?
Would you actually want to still be living the life these other people are?
It all sounds a bit superficial as you describe it.

There will always be people who seem to have a better lifestyle than you do.
Other people, who you may not even be aware of, are probably envious of your situation.

"To thine own self be true."

wildswan16 Sun 10-Sep-23 09:10:56

Please don't sit around and compare your life now with acquaintances from the past. Mainly because you have no idea what their lives are really like. Just as they didn't know or understand what yours was like when you were married.

Just be content with what you have now, with how you behaved within the marriage and strived to give your children the best possible start in life.

If you feel your looks have aged more - be proud that your efforts went into your family and not at the beauticians.

Elegran Sun 10-Sep-23 09:52:34

It sounds to me like you were better at being a minister's wife than your husband was at being a minister. It isn't all about being at every single service, entertaining properly and agreeing with everything. The fact that you and he divorced and you brought up your children alone says a lot about your husband, and the fact that these pillars of religion and respectability are living very comfortable lifestyles says a lot about their dedication (not) to the teaching of the man they are supposed to be following.

Success is not about being beautiful or handsome or having all the trappings of wealth and a comfortable lifestyle. Stop thinking about them, and think more about the family you raised and whether they are settled and happy - though maybe not rich!

Do you have other things to fill your mind with? friends, hobbies, creative skills, interests, causes to work or campaign for? Put the past to the back of the cupboard, where it belongs. Live in the present, and plan for the future.

Coronation Sun 10-Sep-23 10:02:03

I can relate to the feelings of unfairness in life. I know some people who are horrible and have it all. Seems so unfair when there are genuine, honest people who struggle with illness, poverty etc.

M0nica Sun 10-Sep-23 10:06:45

Who ever said that life was meant to be fair? That would suggest that life of itself had a purpose and plan.

Life is a combination of millions of chance events that we do our best to manage to our advantage. and according to any principles we mayhave.

LouLou23 Sun 10-Sep-23 17:34:38

aggie Thank you, that is very helpful! Just the lift I needed!

LouLou23 Sun 10-Sep-23 17:38:54

Nannarose I appreciate your insight. Thankfully I do have family however at my age, I don't want to make a thing of this with my adult children. But your words are very helpful. Thank you!

LouLou23 Sun 10-Sep-23 17:39:53

V3ra Thank you!!

LouLou23 Sun 10-Sep-23 17:41:09

wildswan16 Very good advice!! Thank you so much!

LouLou23 Sun 10-Sep-23 17:48:54

Elegran I just love "Put the past to the back of the cupboard, where it belongs" and all of your message! Thank you for taking the time. Yes, I think part of my dilemma is that I have not accepted the fact that I did succeed in trying to be genuine among many actors. I appreciate the affirmation. Helps so much. And yes, lol I need to get out more!

LouLou23 Sun 10-Sep-23 17:52:29

Coronation Yes I agree. I think as we get older, we realize so many of our ideals were just that - ideals. Our wisdom helps us to see reality, which isn't always sugarcoated! We do however get to share in what is important in life to us. I'm glad we have this site to share and support each other!

LouLou23 Sun 10-Sep-23 17:53:24

MOnica Interesting perspective. I appreciate you sharing it.

pascal30 Sun 10-Sep-23 18:21:22

This does not sound like the sort of Christianity I would wish any involvement with... wisdom, compassion and kindness are the sort of qualities which reveal true beauty.. and it sounds like you had it in bucketloads and weren't appreciated.. enjoy what you have achieved, it sounds very worthwhile...

welbeck Sun 10-Sep-23 18:31:14

they sound a bit like stepford wives.
you are well out of it.
onwards and upwards.

Theexwife Sun 10-Sep-23 18:32:48

I don't know why you would value the opinion of the head minister. You are a hero, raising your children alone alongside a difficult time in your life.

As for comparing yourself to others, there will be other people who compare themselves to you and see themselves lacking in some way. If you must look at comparisons look at those who are not as beautiful or successful as you, it will make you feel better.

Hetty58 Sun 10-Sep-23 18:57:08

LouLou23, Why compare yourself to others? Do you really think their public persona (the image they present) is the reality of their lives? It's highly unlikely. When I met an old colleague, I didn't recognise her - at all. She was not the person I remembered - or like her photo online. Of course, she'd had her hair and makeup done for a party - and that was the photo!

You say that you've accepted your failures and accomplishments - but have you really? It doesn't sound like it. We're just human, after all, so we make mistakes and then we forgive ourselves - or we should.

It seems as if you vastly overestimate the value/worth/deeds and goodness of others - as you value their opinions too much. Have you put the head minister on some pedestal? Why care what he thinks?

At the same time, you've underestimated your own worth, so you feel inferior to others. That's just plain wrong - so stop it! You are great just as you are, you achieved much in your life - so now, just look ahead (not back) and enjoy yourself from now on.

Gundy Mon 11-Sep-23 17:44:16

Not an ounce of compassion from that horrible head Minister! I would bet after 30 years he’s not a “pillar” of morality or leadership any longer using those tactics.

Judging from your life story - you have overcome your challenges and hurdles. I would be very proud of the strength you have inside you.

The people you may be comparing yourself to don’t really matter much in your life, or they shouldn’t be taking up so much head space. They may be shallow and uninteresting. Perish the thought.

You have far more important things to do. Shine on in your pursuits and endeavors, live your life with gratitude at what you have accomplished with raising your family and other things.

Inward beauty is better than outward beauty. You’re still young so go out and tackle a few interests while you can.
Good luck!
USA Gundy

Tanjamaltija Mon 11-Sep-23 17:46:29

Comparisons are odious - as are the people to whom you are comparing yourself. Believe me, you are the one with values and faith. They are dummies with a veneer of righteousness that is warped.

NannaFirework Mon 11-Sep-23 18:07:13

You did the right thing which is not always the easiest thing - all credit to you..,
Hold you head high.
What lucky children to have you as their Mum.
Those in ‘authority’ who spoke harshly to you were not fit for their role.
That was their problem not yours.
Gp referral
For counselling ?
It’s never too late and hope you have found a loving and compassionate church/faith to support you.
Sending love xxx

Cossy Mon 11-Sep-23 18:07:15

As I’ve grown older (disgracefully) I’ve stopped giving a damn about what others think, I have a good relationship with my four adult children and stepdaughter, a husband who’s annoying like most men, a few very good, caring, close friends, a few acquaintances and I just don’t care ! No point in comparing as one can find someone better educated, better qualified, achieved more and richer but I also there’s ton of people who might not have achieved what I have! Be proud and confident and don’t worry about comparisons xx

allsortsofbags Mon 11-Sep-23 18:34:59

LouLou23 You were very brave and probably have more achievements than you are giving yourself credit for. You stayed true to your self, made your own way in difficult circumstances, raised your children and made it through to where you are now. Give yourself credit and where possible don't compare yourself with anyone, especially those from your painful past.

We have a long term friend who is a ministers wife, she is in her 60's and looks amazing, their life looks great from the outside, however ...

Sadly all is far from well, She is very careful who she talks to but has said she would have divorced had her husband been in any other occupation.

So may be some of those you are looking at aren't as happy as they look to you. But you are where you are and they are where they are.

Work towards accepting things as they are and be kinder to yourself. May be show yourself the kindness that the church people didn't show you in your time of need.

queenofsaanich69 Mon 11-Sep-23 19:49:54

Sounds like a smug lot,very short sighted & unkind,look in the mirror and smile,you did a brilliant job 4 children well brought up is a huge task.Never look back look forward,just appreciate you escaped a dull lot.