The Woman Who Does Everything Better Than You


There is a woman in my school who I want to hate, but I can’t.  She is my age, but looks 15 years younger.  She runs. For fun.

She is a superb teacher; she can actually speak coherently about both state and national standards in every curriculum area. Without sounding smug.

Her students love her; their parents love her.  She plans the best field trips, teaches the most accurate and detailed lessons, creates the most innovative projects.   And I don’t think she even knows how to yell at kids. Its like she’s missing the cranky muscles or something.

She is also funny, kind, friendly, generous and thoughtful.  You see the problem, right?

In everything that I do at school, I feel the comparisons to The Woman Who Does Everything Better Than You.  She’s there, in my head, every day.

Sometimes I go through phases where I think that everyone is somehow better than me.  More virtuous, more honest, more hardworking.  And I just get so tired of trying to measure up!

I am married to a man who is unfailingly calm.  When he is at his most moody and crabby, he gets quiet. When I am crabby, I snipe and whine and complain.  I make snarkly little comments that I know are unfair even as they are formed and sent out to their target.  I can’t be him.

I have friends who always go to the birthday party/shower/dinner/wedding/cookout, no matter whether they want to or not.  They smile, they are charming, they are gracious.  I find flimsy excuses to skip social events, then beat myself up all night about what a bad friend I am.

And then there is the issue of health.  Overall, I am a remarkably healthy woman for my age.  Good cholesterol, good blood pressure, good blood sugar.  The only medicine I take is a baby aspirin a day, and a few supplements.  Somehow, in my twisted little mind, good health equates to living a virtuous life.  But only for me!

You see, when my friends or family get sick or develop health problems, I feel empathy and support and warmth. I wish them well!  When I develop aching joints and fatigue, I immediately attribute it to being too fat, too lazy, not athletic enough. If I hurt my back (like I did this morning while walking 170 pounds of canine energy), I blame it on my low pain tolerance and my tendency to avoid aerobic exercise.

A cold is my failure to eat enough vegetables. Insomnia is due to weight. Headache? The wine I had with dinner.

In my head, my recent bout of irritability with my class was due to my own lack of patience, not to the fact that four eleven year old boys have discovered the joys of testosterone pooling.  The fact that my lawn is too high and my garden completely overgrown? Obviously it is because I am a lazy slug, not because we are having a spring season that mimics the Amazon jungle in terms of rain and heat.

I know that this is a stupid way to approach life. I know that it is self-defeating and supremely counterproductive.

See?  I lack the mental fortitude to snap myself out of it.

I bet that  The Woman Who Does Everything Better Than You isn’t having this conversation with herself today.

18 thoughts on “The Woman Who Does Everything Better Than You

  1. I bet she is, and she wrote it down (look up).

    Just in case that was too cryptic – YOU are the woman who does everything better than me. I think we are all this woman and sadly can never see ourselves from the eyes of others. Worse yet, we don’t believe them when they tell us how amazing we are (you’re doing that right now aren’t you – you’re not believing me 😉 ).

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  2. I can so, totally relate! Thank you for being so honest in sharing yourself. I can be my own worst enemy-and it’s a habit that’s difficult to break, but I’m getting there…

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  3. Maybe it was something in the water in Reading when we were growing up…
    You know, in my vast experience, I have found that there really is no such thing as That Woman…everyone has their “thing”. You just don’t know what it is but it is there. It is unfortunate that in our wonderful world of good things, we still do this to ourselves but I am right there with you. I do think that hormones have something to do with it! Just try to chill and let it go- life really is too short.

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  4. Everything you wrote applies a hundred times over to me.
    I can solve one of your problems though. Go online to Wackywalker.com and get a couple of their leashes. I struggle with walking 155 lbs. of dogs and found that these leashes reduce my back and neck problems. I also like Ezy Dog harnesses.
    I’m not a big fan of self-help books, but I just read Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan, based on a course he teaches at Google, and liked it very much. Check out the reviews at Amazon and see if you think you might enjoy it.

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    • I can’t believe you know about “Wackywalker”! I actually had one of the dogs on a wacky leash; she tends to pull and using the WW with a gentle leader lets me walk her. My big hound is good on the leash.
      This time they actually weren’t really pulling; I just leaned forward at the waist to let them go a bit further and my back tweaked.
      Somehow, though, it still feels like my fault to me!

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      • You should get some writing samples out to newspapers. You should have a syndicated column. Maybe a monthly column in a magazine, plus an online presence for them.
        I find that the tiniest movements can tweak my back or neck unexpectedly. When I’m hurt, I walk my dogs separately until I’m better. One at a time is so much easier. I have a black lab mix and a yellow lab mix.

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      • You are so great for my ego! Seriously, I might need to put you on speed dial or something…..
        My dogs are a big old hound mix (95 lbs) and a black lab mix (85 lb). My husband does most of the walking, so I am lucky! Today is definitely a hot tub day, though!

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  5. I bet she is. I absolutely have no doubt that she has failures in her head. We all do. She only looks like she does everything to you, but you don’t know. She could have the messiest house in the world or be a horrible cook or have extreme toe hair or something else you don’t know about. The grass is always greener on the other side. Trust me. She has something going on. And you have things that you are amazing at. (Like writing!) You aren’t alone.

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    • I know, I know. It’s all in my own befuddled head; but that “voice” is so loud, you know?
      Thanks for your support and your encouragement. I’ll come back and read this comment over and over again when I need it!

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  6. She may or may not be having this conversation…but there are many of us here having it with you. Do not despair…we are simply being our own worst enemies. You have to stop comparing yourself to her or anyone else! 🙂

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  7. I think you do everything better than me! Man are we tough on ourselves! I’m declaring this the summer of “I have the right to decide to do whatever I want to do and I don’t care if I should be doing something else more productive/responsible/mature!” So…let’s talk about that mojito recipe…I’ve already improved it!

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