Engagement season is in full swing. Pumkin spice lattes = crisp weather, big sweaters, and lots and lots of rings.
But my question is, dear ladies, is - are you ready? As a wedding planner, I spend a lot of time and energy around other people's romantic relationships, so I thought it was time we talked about the ugliest joy thief: comparison.
I wanted this post to be accurate, so I have interviewed 10 women in who are all very different, all of whom I respect SO very much and consider to be great sources of wisdom. I asked them questions about how we as women compare ourselves and our relationships. Their answers were profound, beautiful, and strikingly similar. We all compare. It always hurts.
The following is an open letter, from ourselves, to ourselves, as women in the pre-marriage life stage.
You are wise. You are beautiful. You are every bit as worthy. You will have your turn, pinky promise. And don't use the term "Forever Alone". Waste no time on self pity. Strong women don't need to make jokes about how Netflix is their boyfriend, because they see ahead with clear eyes and steady heart. First things first, because the boy that finally discovers you will have found a novel in a sea of magazines, my love. You are tired of the questions from your family, tired of the prompting from friends, tired of striving. All you need to do is be completely yourself, happy in your skin. And in the mean time, you are a whole person. Be.
Sweet heart full of love. What will comparison do for you, but steal your joy? Lift your chin, count your blessings, and enjoy this beautiful season of lightheartedness. Don't make your relationship like a marriage. Save the responsibility and intimacy for later. The best thing about this season is hope. Hope for your future, but don't hold any claim over it like it already belongs to you. Hope for your relationship, but don't control it. Relax. Resist the urge to try and persuade your friends that your guy is great. If you think he's great, then......great! Your relationship will progress without you flooring the gas. Don't rush him! Go out to dinner, walk in the park, swing after dark, surprise him with tickets. These can be the good old days.
Don't be afraid. You aren't ruining someone else's happiness by being engaged. You are so very much worth celebrating! Don't forget that you will have lots of visitors to your Facebook profile during this season, so take this major opportunity to post uplifting, life-giving things (hint: sometimes choose topics other than relationships) but don't be afraid to be openly thrilled with engagement. This is your moment, sweetheart, soak up the joy! People are happy for you. Don't get overwhelmed, but know that a friend you call will feel remembered and honored because engagement brings a small degree of social celebrity.
We all have a little fountain of celebration inside of us. The one thing that can shut off the tap to our reservoir of celebration is jealousy and comparison. Don't let any voices in your head make you bitter at her over that ring. Set your sternest face against envy and rejoice for her. WITH her. When was the last time you were so overjoyed that it affected your face, your attitude, your tone, your thoughts. Is that how you feel for your friend when you see her post about the best boyfriend ever? Women, sometimes we hurt each other way worse than men hurt us, and on top of that, we're sneaky. Don't stew in the poison of pride and comparison. Delight with your girls.
You want to see a strong woman?
Look for the one that can genuinely celebrate another woman's gain.