This past Sunday I took the time to scrub the woodwork on my stairs. While doing so a thought occurred to me, which provided unforeseen clarity. You might call it a moment of revelation.

Can you think of someone you admire? I admire my sister. Not only does she have an immaculate house, she works diligently and consistently in her career, as a mother, and in her fitness goals. I admire her meticulous handwriting and her stellar memory. She’s the ideal that I strive towards.

It’s common to admire actions that others perform well and learn from them. In fact, it’s smart. It is foolish, however, to desperately attempt emulation of someone else’s results. Your results will always unique to you.

I do my very best thinking when I clean, and I wondered: have I been trying to duplicate my sister’s actions or her results? I have spent hours in a single day cleaning, unsatisfied with my results. It’s never good enough. Then it hit me: I clean like a crazy woman to avoid criticism from others. How on earth did I come to believe that perfectly clean, super-achieving fellow humans escape criticism? I know that isn’t true. We ALL face criticism from others.

If you think that the person you admire escapes criticism, you are playing a cruel trick on yourself.

If your spouse is a combat disabled veteran like mine, than you know that our lives are different than lives of couples in which both are civilians. So maybe we should give ourselves a break! Don’t expect your results (or your life) to look like someone else’s, even if you copy their actions. Keep your own goals in your mind. Raising happy and well-adjusted children, caring for my husband, and serving veteran spouses are my goals. I’m still going to clean according to my weekly routine, but I’m not going to attempt to avoid criticism any longer.

I hope this helps someone out there; maybe you compare yourself to your neighbor and feel like you aren’t organized enough, as successful as your coworker, or as caring to your spouse as your best friend is to hers. You could be giving 100% effort (you probably are) and criticism will still come rolling in. It’s a part of our world. Let’s stop allowing criticism to control our actions.

<3 Keep going strong,