I woke up tired and disoriented; another night of bad dreams. I called the day to me and tried to shake off the dark. I pulled myself together literally; curling up in a fetal position, then I tried to pull myself together emotionally. I don’t understand the crazy that goes on in my mind. I should be regenerating myself in my sleep, not running scared.
I’m always amazed to hear others say that they lie down at night, close their eyes and wake up eight hours later refreshed, ready to run full steam ahead into the next day (they don’t actually say “run full steam ahead into the next day”, but I imagine that as the idyllic way those fortunate folks start the day).
I swung my legs out of the bed; my left foot hitting the floor and the word “thank” coming into my mind, my right foot hitting the floor with the word “you”, standing with the word “God.”. “Thank You, God” for another day.
Then it began anew…the whirling thoughts: “What’s’ wrong with me? Why am I not experiencing the night the same as “them”? My mind seems like it’s in perpetual motion—jumping from one thing to another….thoughts sometimes connected but usually each taking up their own separate space. I’m not even an hour into the day I’m already comparing myself to others. Many of us play the comparison game. Often, we learn it when we’re very young. I’m sure you’ve heard comments like, “Mary is only four but she’s reading at a first-grade level.” By the time children are in middle school, much of day-to-day life is a continual comparison: “these are the top mathematicians”; “their team came in first place”; “your brother is such a good kid, why aren’t you like him?” Many people grow up believing they’re “less than” because they’ve been told that their entire lives. We often see ourselves through a myopic view based on others’ opinions, and constantly striving for “perfection” simply batters our self-esteem.
We compare our appearance, families, careers, homes, heck our lives, to everyone else’s. Sure, we can blame a lot of it on our culture—one that many would agree sends constant messages of “you need to look like/own/be this”, in order to be beautiful, valued, successful, or worthwhile. We’re bombarded with “friends” photos and stories on social media sharing where they’ve been, what they’re wearing, who they’re with. Even the most secure and confident among us can fall into the pit of “my life is not as good as”, even though we know they’re typically putting out what makes their existence look close-to-perfect!
Does life ever feel like a competition for you? Are you regularly envious of what others appear to have? Envy destroys because it minimizes what you do have. Acknowledging your blessings and honoring them, allows you to move away from jealousy and into appreciation. An endless quest for what “they” have only leads you down a path, with so many twists and turns, that you get lost on the journey. We really don’t know what’s going on behind the closed doors, in the “real lives” of those who appear to “have it all”.
I remember talking to a man with two teenage sons, both with special needs. He told me that he never played the “why me”? game. He loves his sons, is doing everything he can to help them grow an amazing life doesn’t compare them to other teenagers who others call “normal”. What is “normal”, “gifted” or “lucky” anyway? All those labels are things that we humans assign.
- Look in the mirror. How do you “see” yourself?
- Reexamine how you evaluate and value yourself.
- List your positive qualities (you do you have them).
- Know who you are instead of recreating yourself to be accepted by certain people.
- Then, own who you are.
- Remember that we’re all different (that’s a good thing).
- Celebrate your achievements (yep, you have them too).
- Find your own way to walk through life.
- Honor your uniqueness—your contribution to our world.
Have a self-loving week,
©2015 PeaceFullHome/Intentional Living