I’ve been feeling a little blah lately, a lot of things are off and nothing really is going smoothly. It’s times like this, when struggle is real, that I go and break my cardinal rule…Comparing Yourself to Others. As always, the way I view things is exponentially worse when I start looking at everyone else. The burden on my shoulders feels heavier, the world has a bleak outlook and I spiral into a dark, lonely and quite silly pity party. It’s also the time when, if I can rear my little princess head high enough to see clearly, it’s also the time when I have the most to teach.
In the scheme of things, what the hell have I got to complain about? My marriage is strong, my family is tight, our kids are healthy, we have food on the table, running water, a roof over our head. We have the freedom to travel, our priorities are straight … I honestly have nothing to complain about. That is, until I FIND something to complain about.
And when I go looking, I sure can find plenty to complain about. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, I’m not flying globally this week, I’m not buying a new car, I’m not ass kissing to be popular, I’m not pregnant, I’m not hiring a cleaning lady today, I’m not a luxury traveler (please, don’t laugh, yesterday it was a sore spot) … I’m not, I’m not, I’m not …
But, what am I? Oh, I’m everything and nothing. As Oprah Winfrey said,
“Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you do not have, you will never have enough”.
If this isn’t truth personified, I don’t know what is. It’s so easy to go poking around comparing yourself to others. But, you don’t know the full story. You don’t know what’s behind that smile. So, following is a list of 5 reasons to cease and desist Comparing Yourself to Others.
What You See Is Not The Whole Story
Behind the glamour and the excessive facade that is Hollywood is a lot of pain. Broken marriages, drug and alcohol addiction, widespread sexual assault and more. It’s easy to look from the outside and think these people have it made. But, as with all things, everything is not as it seems. Comparing Yourself to Others, especially the rich and famous can really bring you down, but if you only new their true struggles …
Man, I remember when I made the conscious decision to quit Comparing. Dan had just been hit with a 20% pay-cut and we were kinda frightened about where this would lead. Financial struggles have always been our albatross, but in all reality, this was a whole next level kinda thing.
A friend of mine, whose husband is a very wealthy Dr, had just bought a new house … a huge, gorgeous, perfect location, loads of land type of house. My dream home, really. I was super happy for her, maybe even happier for her than she was for herself, but I was also really pretty envious.
She invited me and the kids over for a fun mid-summer Play Date. While I was visiting, sitting on her deck watching all the kids run around and play, her beautiful 7 year old daughter had a seizure.
Now, I’ve seen seizures. Three of our boys had febrile seizures as two year olds. Most terrifying thing in the world, I swear it. In those moments, you think your child is dying.
We all have our crosses, and I’ll tell you with all honesty, I’ll take financial struggle any day over health issues with any of my kids!
When Kenny was 4 we were preparing for a trip to visit friends in Texas. We had 7 kids at the time and I was pregnant with Maddy. We all sucked at traveling. Sitting still doesn’t run in our family. So, Dan and I decided we would leave at night so the kids would sleep through the 10 hour drive.
As we were packing up the car and bringing the kids out, Kenny moved and fell out of the car. I was in the basement getting the final laundry folded.
Fast forward, Kenny throws up and I’m in the truck on the way to the ER. In the ER they do a CT Scan. Kenny has a small brain bleed. We are ambulanced down to Grand Junction, about 1.5 hours away because our town doesn’t have a pediatric neurologist.
The entire way, Kenny is asleep. The entire way I pray like I’ve never prayed before … unceasing. Just begging God to help my child. I didn’t feel hope, but I didn’t feel despair either, what I felt was unadulterated pain and fear.
All I remember is praying saying that I didn’t care about anything, but Kenny’s recovery. My prayers including me pleading, saying, “we will live in a box, we will make it work. I will never complain about money or things every again, please please God, help my baby.”
You see, nothing really matters except the well-being of you and those you love. It was then that I adopted Ecclesiastes 1:14,
“I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind.”
The Rest of the Story
We got to the hospital, St Mary’s, and Kenny got a room in ICU. I sat by his bed and prayed. At times, I climbed into his bed and prayed. I knelt on the ground and prayed. To this day, I remember the exact prayers. I remember telling God that I would sleep in a box, that nothing mattered except the health and well-being of my child.
A minister came at the behest of Kenny’s nurse. He put his hands on Kenny and instructed me to do the same. He said, “Lord, in Matthew 18:20, you say, ‘When two or more are gathered in your name, thy will be done.’ Lord, when you heal this child, his parents will go forth and tell of this miracle to all the world.”
From here, and I know it sounds crazy, everything changed. I felt peace. Kenny’s nurse came to get him for a second CT Scan. He said, “Don’t pray that the bleed has improved, these things don’t get better that fast, pray that it hasn’t gotten worse.”
But that’s not how I pray. I pray for the moon. After his CT Scan, there was a lot of hustle and bustle. I had a moment of panic, and then was called into the room where the Dr’s were reading the results. They showed me, in utter disbelief, that the bleed was gone. They showed me the scan from our hospital and the bleed was clearly visible (to the trained eye). It was a miracle.
When we walked back to Kenny’s room, on the wall was a photo of a white Iris, pink matting, gold frame. Beneath the Iris, in white block letters, was the word, KENNY. I showed his nurse and he, honest to God said, “I’ve never seen that before.”
Later that day, Dan came into ICU with 6 tiny young kids. They had all made pictures for Kenny and immediately, Kenny woke up and was lucid. That night he was moved to the Children’s wing and the next day he was released.
We witnessed a Miracle that day! And you will never hear me complain about $$ again. Ever.
Damaging To Sense of Worth
Mark Twain said that “comparison is the death of joy,” and I’m here to tell you, that even science agrees. Research by the Happiness Institute has proven that people who are on Facebook are 39% less happy than their friends who aren’t. Why? Because Facebook is a breeding ground for envy, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and depression.
Constantly Comparing Yourself to Others only serves to make you feel like a failure. No matter what, there will always be someone who’s at least one step ahead of us; the perfect job, the perfect marriage, the perfect house, etc., and if you are anything like me, you become harder on yourself for not being better and you stop recognizing your own unique qualities. Comparing Yourself to Others clouds your willingness to see your own blessings.
Stop Falling Into the Comparing Yourself to Others Trap
- Realise that your worth comes from inside. It’s who you are as a person and doesn’t relate what-so-ever to what others are doing or accomplishing.
- Understand that looks are deceiving. We all have our own struggles and not all of us broadcast every single insecurity on Facebook for the world to commiserate with us. But, if you keep in mind that no-one has the perfect life, you can keep your own issues in perspective.
- Stop worrying about what others are doing. As a mom, I’m always telling my kids to not worry about what their siblings are doing, that they can only control their own actions. In the same context, keep the focus on making your own life the best it can be.
- Remember that there will always be someone better than you at something. That’s life, no matter who you are, someone is always better than you and you are always better than someone else … at some things. Realise that nobody’s good at everything.
- Enjoy the Process. You don’t realise your dreams overnight. Enjoy the moment, learn and grow.
- Be confident in your own Talents and Strengths. Know what you’re good at and what you like to do.
- Share your talents and strengths. Do and share your talents and strengths.
- Focus on the positives about yourself. We are all pros at finding our faults, but instead, focus on the positives about yourself. Whether you are kind & generous, a good artist or a great friend hold these positive truths dear.
- You are Unique. No-one can be a better you. You are unique and have a special purpose in this world. Nothing about you was or is a mistake. You have value in being yourself. Be You!
- Be Authentic. Don’t do anything because you think it’s what you should do. Follow your own dreams, regardless of how crazy or insane they may be. Only you can make yourself happy, seek happiness.
- Acknowledge that life’s not a competition. It’s not a competition and it’s not a race. Chill, be in the moment and concentrate on improving you and influencing others in a positive way. Nothing anyone does has bearing on neither who you are nor what you do.
Your life is your own unique journey. Your legacy is yours and yours alone to write. Once you stop focusing on what everyone else is doing and place that focus where it needs to be, everything in your life will improve and your happiness quotient will go through the roof. That’s the glass ceiling we should all be focusing on … our own ceiling that prevents us from pursuing our dreams.