After another night of bad dreams, I woke up tired and disoriented. I called the new day to me, trying to shake off the dark, pulling myself together (literally curling up in a fetal position), then getting myself together emotionally. I’ve never understood the calamity my brain creates as I attempt to sleep when I should be regenerating, not running scared.
Many people I know 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 articulate the words “run full steam ahead,” but I imagine that’s the idyllic way those fortunate folks start the day).
I swung my legs out of 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’s in perpetual motion jumping from one thing to another: thoughts sometimes connected but usually taking up their own separate space. Not even an hour into the day, I’m already comparing myself to others.
Many of us play the comparison game, often learning it as young children. I’m sure you’ve heard comments like, “Mary’s only four, but she’s reading at a second-grade level, or Lawrence is the best player on his soccer team.” By the time children are in middle school, much of day-to-day life is a continual analogy: “these are the top students”; “their team won first place”; “your brother is such a good kid, why aren’t you?”
Many adults believe their “less than” because they’ve heard that their entire lives.
We often see ourselves through a myopic view based on others’ lives and compare our appearances, families, careers, homes, and lives to theirs. Then, as if we haven’t done enough, we add striving for unrealistic “perfection,” which batters our self-esteem. We can blame a lot of it on our culture that sends constant messages of “you need to look like, own, or be this” to be beautiful valued, successful, or worthwhile. We’re bombarded with “friends” photos and stories on social media, sharing who they’re with, where they’ve been and what they’re wearing. Even the most confident humans are susceptible to falling into the pit of “my life is not as good as,” even though we know many others are offering out only what makes their existence seem perfect!
Does life ever feel like a competition for you?
Are you regularly envious of others’ possessions or lifestyles?
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. Endless questing for what “they” have, leads you down paths with so many twists and turns that you get lost on the journey. And, you can’t be fully aware of what’s happening in the real lives of those who appear to have it all unless they tell you.
- Look in the mirror. How do you “see” yourself?
- Reexamine how you evaluate and value yourself.
- List your achievements and positive qualities (yes, you have many).
- Own who you are and be true to yourself instead of recreating to be accepted by certain people.
- Remember that we’re all different (that’s a good thing).
- Honor your uniqueness—your contribution to our world.
- Then, choose how you want to walk through life—one that will honor your amazingness of you.
Have a self-loving week,