3/26/18, Inside/Outside

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you, and that you had a lovely Easter, or Passover, if you celebrated either of them. I had Easter brunch with three of my children and their significant others, with chocolate bunnies on the table, bunny ears for all to wear, little chocolate eggs, jelly beans, and the little wind up chicks and bunnies that were fun when they were children.
I was spared April Fool this year, with Easter on the same day. My children are notorious for April Fool jokes and I always fall for them!!

The big excitement for me is that my new book “Accidental Heroes” will be #1 on the New York Times list this week—-it is always a thrill when that happens, and it never gets old.  I hope you read the book too and love it!!! I really love that book, it’s suspenseful and exciting and was challenging to write!!!

I was thinking of something the other day that I wanted to share with you. Twice recently, I’ve had a similar (almost identical) conversation with two very close good friends, one a man, the other a woman, both of them people I respect enormously. Both are people that everyone admires, on many fronts. Both are deep, serious, people with strong personal values. Both have impressive, very successful careers, in businesses they have built themselves. Both have studied hard, and by all normal standards, are high achievers who have accomplished a great deal professionally, and are highly successful. Additionally, both are in long marriages, with the same partners they started out with (not many people can claim that anymore), both have what would be considered today ‘large’ families, several children, and their children are all really lovely ‘kids’, some of them grown up now, and starting on their own lives and careers. Both of them are family people, and have strong family and personal values. I consider both honest, honorable people. Both are good, loving spouses, whom I admire in their marriages. And interestingly, both are religious, and attend religious services regularly. And both are people I truly admire, and many of us would consider role models. What was remarkable about my conversations with them was that both were deeply questioning themselves, and really undervaluing themselves, questioning if they were good parents, were getting really good results with their kids, were they successful enough in their marriages, were they good spouses, and questioning their success and careers. Both had serious doubts about themselves, which would stun me, and did, given everything I know about them. But what didn’t stun me is that I have heard the same things from other people at various times, and have questioned myself in very similar ways at times.

I have wonderful kids whom I love dearly, more than anything on earth, and who love me. They are healthy, normal, upstanding, wholesome, honest, loving hard working young people, and yet I always question if I have done and given enough for them and to them. Have I been enough for them, and been a good parent? I much more easily see my flaws and failings than what I’ve done right. And I heard the same thing from those 2 friends in the last week, and others before them. I have been so blessed in my career, and have had a long successful career I work hard at—-and I work very hard—but do I work hard enough? Am I a good enough friend, person, human being, parent, writer?

What is so remarkable is that good people, who really strive hard to do well and do the right thing, and are really doing a great job on many fronts, so often doubt themselves and think they aren’t good enough. Other people look so much more ‘together’ to all of us. They seem to have all the answers, make the right decisions, look so much ‘cooler’, smarter, better than we look to ourselves.

The best advice I ever got on this subject was from the woman who helped me take care of my son Nicky when he was very sick. She said “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides”. And it is SOOOO TRUE. Everyone else looks like they have their ‘sh–‘ together, that they know all the answers, and don’t make the dumb mistakes we all do. We don’t see them snap at their kids when they’re tired or had a bad day, or argue with their partner/spouse over something really dumb “you always leave the kitchen a mess….you Never take out the garbage….you never pick up your own stuff, why do I have to do it?….” We see other people’s outer perfection and smooth presentation—-and we look just as smooth, but we know the lumps and bumps of ourselves inside. I question myself a thousand times late at night in the dark hours when I finish work/writing and am alone, and I see everything I’ve done wrong, the mistakes I make again and again, big and small, the times I have failed to go the extra mile for someone and think I should have.

Even people whom we think are so ‘perfect’, are so hard on themselves. Why do we do it? Why aren’t we better at celebrating what we do right??? And all the good things we’ve done!!!

Listening to my 2 friends doubt themselves reminded me of that piece of advice. I’ve heard my kids doubt themselves when they have so much to be proud of in themselves, and I’m proud of them. And I’m sure (or hope) that I’m a better person than I think I am.
I thought I would share that with you, because I’ll bet that many of you do it too—–compare the private you to other people’s ‘outsides’, which look so great.

We are all frail beings, unsure of ourselves, painfully aware of our weaknesses and flaws, and all the times when we think we could have done better. It’s good to remember sometimes that others are no more sure of themselves than we are (no matter how great they appear to us). So if this applies to you too, Don’t Compare Your Insides to Other people’s outsides!!! It’s such good advice!!!


Have a great week!!! love, Danielle

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10 Comments so far
  1. IP April 3, 2018 10:42 am

    Social media certainly doesn’t help when it comes to comparing oneself to others. We see so much of what other people (supposedly) have and achieved. Sometimes it’s hard to keep things in perspective and not to feel like a failure no matter how hard you try in life.

  2. Deede April 3, 2018 10:47 am

    Thank you for sharing this…It is difficult not to sometimes look into other windows and feel inadequate…I love the saying: Comparison steals your joy…We are all beautifully and perfectly made…Reminding myself of this will sometimes shut down the 3AM nasty thoughts…Joy indeed cometh in the morning…

  3. Susan Morgan April 4, 2018 7:23 am

    Thank you for this post. I needed to be reminded of this!

  4. Keyla Katherine Marques April 9, 2018 6:27 am

    Im trying to learn how to NOT compare my life with others.
    but I have no idea of what im doing here.
    maybe im just wasting time…

  5. Kerri April 9, 2018 9:21 pm

    I think social media, the increase in parent-shaming, and all the negative stuff out there are what causing people to have self doubts and compare themselves to others. Whenever I start comparing myself to others, I stop myself and remind myself that I’m on a personal journey that only I have the power to navigate. Life is not a competition – it’s about experiencing what it has to offer before you die. So do I care what people think of me? No, not anymore. Frankly, 10 years ago it would have been to the contrary, but now that I’m in my early 40s, I’ve learned to stop caring what they think. If they don’t like me or the way I think and act, their problem. I’m not put on Earth to please everyone. So bottom line: you do you. And you be you. Don’t let anyone else dictate to you what they expect from you – aside from work, of course.

  6. Gwen Witzel April 12, 2018 12:45 pm

    I have been feeling depressed for a while and struggling to get back on track. We have a little area at my work where people share books. I happened to pick up “Gift of Hope” today and took a 10 minute break to clear my mind. While the small bit I read was in many ways quite sad; it was also uplifting. I came back to my desk to search the internet to see if you had a website and was happy to see you did. Then I read one of your blogs, “Inside/Outside”. Again, I felt uplifted and affirmed.

    Thank you – your words were inspiring, encouraging, and soothing.


  7. dila April 13, 2018 8:37 am

    Merci Danielle! J’adore vos romans,le monde est grand, chaque personne,chaque famille et chaque pays une histoire à part, des caractères différents, des….il y a peu de bons .

  8. Jill April 18, 2018 8:10 am

    Amen Danielle

  9. Cathleen Spears April 27, 2018 1:46 pm

    Such great advice. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Samuel May 2, 2018 9:03 am

    Thanks Danielle for sharing this invaluable piece of advice.