“When we believe we are behind or less than, we somehow start to want more than we need.” Mark Nepo, Book of the Awakening
I’ve been reading Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. An interesting book exploring a theory she calls Whole Hearted living. One of the topics that struck me, yet again, is this compulsion we have developed with comparing ourselves to any and everything.
The reason it captured my attention again, is because I suddenly became aware of how subtle yet pervasive self-comparison has become. Brené points out that we are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands of messages a day that tell us we are not enough.
Just as we are, at this very moment, according to some standard, we are not smart enough to get the right job because we didn’t go to the right school. We’re not thin enough and therefore, not appealing enough to have the right mate. Our hair is not long enough or we don’t look exotic enough to be sexy enough to attract whatever it is we’re supposed to be trying to attract.
Never mind that multi-billion dollar industries have been spawned from these manufactured insecurities. (And don’t you suppose that was the intent anyway, behind the encouraged comparisons?)
We have and are making ourselves nuts trying to change ourselves to fit somebody’s fictional mold and standard. And very few are immune.
What I now want to know is, not enough compared to who or what? Compared to someone I’ve never met who has no clue or interest in who I am or how I came to be who and where I am?
Compared to someone or something that is an idea in someone’s head that has to do with their dreams and nothing to do with mine.
Enough is enough already!
By comparing ourselves, we are being unfair, unkind and untrue to ourselves. I heard Iyanla VanZant say once that comparing ourselves is a form of self- violence. YIKES!
I never thought about it that way until I began to understand how insidious comparison and competition can be; how much mental energy comparison takes to fulfill its mission.
No wonder so many people are exhausted and miserable and living unfulfilled lives.
But the good news is we can retrieve ourselves, our sense of self worth and our sanity from the abyss of comparison and competition. Its simple really. Just become conscious of what we are comparing ourselves and our situation to, and then decide, out loud, whether that is really what we want. Or does it just look like we should want it. It could be anything, from a promotion, a job, a business, a car or house. When you peel everything back and get to the heart of your desire, is that thing still standing there or did it fade in the light of truth?
In her book, Brené quotes E. E. Cummings, “ To be nobody-but-yourself in a world in which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight—and never stop fighting.” Quite profound.
But Dr. Seuss offers hope and levity:
“Today you are you.
That is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
Life is about choices. What will you choose for you today?
YOU 3.0 Question of the Week: Who or what are you comparing your life to?