The Comparison Game

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 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, another chance to start over, another opportunity to “get it right”.

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.

When I mess up and forget to do something I need to, want to or “should” do, then I’m my own worst enemy too. No room for “taking it easy on myself” or realizing that “I’m only human”—just disappointment or condemnation.Comparison GameMany of us play the comparison game. Often, it starts when we’re very young. I’m sure you’ve heard, “my son just rolled over and he’s only four months old” or “little Mary is only three but she’s reading at a first grade level”. Then, by the time children are in school, so much of day-to-day life is continual comparison: “these are the top readers, mathematicians”; “their team came in first place, your team lost”; “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 see ourselves through a myopic view based on others’ opinions, and constantly striving for “perfection” simply batters our self-esteem.

We compare our looks, our families, our careers, our 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 this”, “you need to own this”, “you need to be this” in order to be beautiful, valued, successful, worth something/worth anything. 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?

Jealousy destroys because it minimizes what you do have. Acknowledging your blessings (and I’m guessing there are things/situations/people you “have” that others covet) and honoring them, allows you to move away from jealousy and into appreciation. An endless quest for what “they” have only leads us down a path, with so many twist and turns, that we get lost on the journey.

It’s easy to think that the grass is always greener on the other side. The biggest problem with that belief is forgetting that we don’t know what’s going on behind the closed doors, in the “real lives” of those who appear to “have it all”.

Yesterday I was talking to a man who has two teenage sons, both with special needs. He told me that he never played the “why me”? game. He loves his sons. He is doing everything he can to help them grow an amazing life and he sure doesn’t compare them to other teenagers who we have the audacity to call “normal”. What the heck is “normal” or “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 constantly recreating yourself to fit into different situations, or to be accepted by certain people.
  • Then, don’t be afraid to own who you are
  • Be aware 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.
  • Be your “Best Self”.
  • Honor your uniqueness—your contribution to our world.

Have a self-loving week,

©2015 PeaceFullHome/Intentional Living



One thought on “The Comparison Game

  1. Pingback: Envy and The Road Back Home | peace full home—intentional living

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