I used to think there was such a thing as the "perfect mom" or "perfect housewife" or the "perfect relationship". I had friends that I was convinced were just that.

Then I got to know them better and realized that those things really do not exist.

That mom I thought was perfect has plenty of meltdowns and had a biter for almost 2 years when her son was small.

The couple I thought was perfect, split up because of cheating.

The woman I thought kept the perfect house confessed she had a maid.

No one is perfect. There are just those that are really good at putting on the front.

I know it's wrong but, it makes me feel better when I find out about those imperfections. Knowing that I'm not the only one who is hopelessly flawed sure makes me accept my flaws a little easier.

I'm so far from perfect. I have a great many flaws. What I'm learning is that it's okay. There's things I need to change, things I can do better with but, I'm not down for the count yet, not done changing, not done growing, not giving up.

I yell. I procrastinate. My kids have little structure. I'm not always great with correspondence. I stick my foot in my mouth a lot. I'm probably a little too sarcastic. I don't clean as much as I "should". I talk too much sometimes.

But, as I start to make the list of my imperfections, it becomes difficult to think of many. We, especially us women, spend so much time self-deprecating instead of celebrating ourselves but, when it really gets down to it, our list of imperfections isn't nearly as long as we think. We spend so much time comparing our lives to others, feeling inadequate because of the "perfect" women we think we know, getting down on ourselves for our flaws. When we stop the mental lists of flaws and start focusing on why we are wonderful, everything changes.

I'm a really good listener. I cook homemade meals for my family all the time. I love my kids with all my heart and soul and show them that all the time. My life is filled with laughter. I'm incredibly supportive. I'm a positive influence on my family and friends. I try to see the best in everything. I'm a good friend, a loyal friend, a caring friend. I'm funny and I know how to laugh at myself. I'm sparing you but, am confident this list can keep going.

When we focus on the good, it becomes obvious that it outweighs the bad. It also becomes easier to turn the bad into good. I can learn to love my flaws. The more I learn to embrace the positive, the more I'll embrace everything about myself

The thing is, there are people in this life that will try to make us forget those good things. There are people who fill our lives with negativity, situations and times in our lives that test how well we can remember our "Love Myself" lists and how well we can remember that it's all going to be okay. It's how we deal with these times and these people that determines if our good list will be remembered and flourish or if our self-loathing list will take over.

Negativity stems from misery. Misery loves company. Don't visit. Don't even RSVP. 

I have decided that as long as my kids are happy and healthy and the house isn't a healthcode violation I will cut myself a break sometimes. I have taken a good look at my list of faults and decided that there are some things I can deal with and some things that are important to me to change. I'm not going to give myself a hard time about it anymore though. I'm not going to let that negativity take over my life. I'm taking my "Love Myself" list and stapling it to the front of my brain. If nothing else, it'll get less dust on it up front like that.

Everyone doubts themselves sometimes. Everyone deals with negativity in their lives at one point. I challenge us all to rise above that negativity, especially that which we aim at ourselves. Stop comparing our lives to others but, more than any of it, decide to be a positive force in your own life and in the lives of others. I know I'm not the only one who looks at other women and instantly compares my life to theirs. I know I'm not the only one who instantly looks for flaws in others in order to make my own flaws seem smaller. And, I know that it's unnecessary. I should celebrate the perfections in others just as much as I need to celebrate my own. By letting go of the need to see the imperfections, by embracing the positive in others, I'm embracing the positive in myself.

And, it starts today.

Live your life without comparing it to that of others.