JANUARY=Intention: Don't Compare Your Inside to Someone Else's Outside

Dont Compare Your Inside to Someone Else's Outside downloadable print from Oh My! Handmade

I couldn’t just pick one word for year so I chose 12 focus words I wanted to explore with a post of pondering + a print/printable on the first Sunday of each month for our 2013 Happy Healthy planner. It’s not too late to grab a copy of the planner and join us but if you already have one you love here is the list of focus words so you can follow along.

January’s focus word is: INTENTION. Last year I wrote about how I set intentions at the start of the year instead of making resolutions. This year I intend to have a happy, healthy year by embracing my own dynamic equilibrium. Instead of pushing forward on big ideas with intensity all the time I want to create a flow between expansion (looking outward, leaping, making things happen) and contraction (looking inward, considering, tending foundations).  So for this month I am telling you my January intention in big block letters for all to see and share.

I speak on a panel about growing your community at Altitude Summit in Salt Lake City in just a couple of weeks and I’ve got some confessing to do. Speaking at Alt was my big goal for 2012 and now that it is actually happening I’m not so scared of the travelling or the speaking or the meeting new folks…I can’t wait for that part! It sounds silly when I type it out but for awhile my biggest fear was needing to keep up with the internets best dressed or be left feeling like the odd duck out at the biggest event of the year. For months bloggers have been sharing their fashion posts and outfit selections and every time I went to go look at buying a piece or two from their round ups…

                    A. The clothes came in small, extra small, and might-fit-my-cat 

                   B. The price tag for one outfit was close to the downpayment for our new house

I spent months amassing pins & bookmarks of pretty clothes knowing full well I could buy maybe a few things and even that would be stretching our budget. There is no reimbursement for being a panelist at Alt, going is a business investment that will be awesome for getting the word out about what we are creating for OMHG, but with our new website, a new house and getting married on an already shoestring budget its a tight squeeze. So I invested most of my clothes budget in a pair of the most exquisite handmade shoes from the sweetest maker of all time Ele of Ele Handmade (inspiring an upcoming post + new related series!) and told myself the rest would figure itself out. But I still stressed about it at night (in my new shoes)…

Handmade shoes by the lovely Ele Handmade

I’ve made choices that I am happy with to focus on creating community instead of prioritizing moneymaking and have always filled my closet with thrift store goodness + the occasional long coveted pair of shoes. Normally I wouldn’t much care about feeling the need to worry what other people are wearing except to think they look awesome. So why the sudden freak out? I don’t compare myself to others and haven’t felt jealous of anything in years but I could feel myself getting green and snippy in my head. With every fashion blog post or shiny Pinterest board my insides grumbled more and more. It got to the point that Chris (who is usually so good about smiling and nodding) finally got frustrated with me asking his thoughts about yet another dress and insisted everyone would think I was awesome no matter what I wore (awwww). So I took a time out to spend some time to reread the inspiring Thing I’m Afraid to Tell You series and had my ah ha! moment:

I was comparing my insides with other peoples outsides.

When I look in the mirror I see my messy insides-I never graduated high school, I’ve never had a credit card-or a driver’s license-I just got my first passport, I’ve been unwell and am not Photoshop perfect, I’m not terribly organized or concerned about leveraging influence, I’m not interested in people for how powerful, well-dressed, or wealthy they are,  fashion talk frightens me, I am the one most likely to leave the cocktail party to hang out with the street kids, being assessed by my outsides tightens my skin…. These are things that I love about myself (+ some make me great at building community!) but no one else sees them when they meet me. It is when I look at my messy insides compared to other peoples immaculately styled outsides my inner mean girl comes rushing out to tell me I should try harder to fit in.

When I reread all the vulnerable TIATTY posts (this one from Jena of Miss Modish is my favourite) it was the reminder I needed that no matter how nicely presented someone is outside they still have gloriously messy insides just like me. Thank goodness for that! I’m not going to stress over something that shouldn’t even be taking up space in my head. So I made myself this print all big and bright and in-yo-face to put in my planner binder. I want to remember to always look past the outside (even my own) to the story on the inside, because you and I both know-that is where the real beauty lives. 

Do you need to remember not to compare your insides to someone else’s outsides? Click any of the graphics below to download a printable reminder!

Dont Compare Your Inside to Someone Else's Outside downloadable print from Oh My! Handmade

Dont Compare Your Inside to Someone Else's Outside downloadable print from Oh My! Handmade

Dont Compare Your Inside to Someone Else's Outside downloadable print from Oh My! Handmade

Don’t compare your inside with someone else’s outside! A printable reminder from @ohmyhandmade http://bit.ly/TFiymW  Share it! 

Oh sharing that felt good!!! I would love if you do your own letting loose in the comments- can you relate with struggling to not compare yourself to the perfectly styled images we see online? What are your intentions for January and beyond? What unhealthy thoughts or patterns can you tell to get lost this year?