We can tell when we are comparing ourselves to another person. When we hear their story, we’ll either get a sense of judgment – “really, that’s all they did? I could do it better than that” or a sense of shame and feeling small – “wow! I could never do that. Look at how wonderful and amazing they seem. I wonder why I’ve never been able to do something like that? That could never happen for me.” Comparing always leads to feeling one up or one down. It doesn’t lead to a balanced appreciation for or recognition of who we are. When we compare ourselves to others, we devalue our humanity and uniqueness. No other person shares our exact set of personality, brain pathways, experiences, or life circumstances. It is hurtful to ourselves and others to compare ourselves to them. It takes us out of connection and into separation from others. It robs us of our power, in this moment, to be creative and move toward what we want. Today, I will refuse to compare myself to others. I will notice their positive qualities with love and appreciation. I will do the same for me. I will notice the qualities about them, that are challenging for me, with compassion and grace. I will do the same for me.
We are each a whole person. We cannot express the fullness of who we are; while at the same time, denying a part of ourselves. Sometimes, in life, we learn to hide parts of who we are. We learn to put away thoughts, memories, hopes, and desires with the goal of making our lives less painful, scary, shameful, or guilty. And that works for awhile. For awhile we can pretend that something didn’t happen. For awhile we can deny that trait in ourselves that causes us negative feelings. For awhile we can go on skating around these treacherous places. But then, one day, they catch up with us. We notice that the dam gets leaky. We notice sudden, intrusive thoughts or urges. And we have to decide what to do with them. Do we add a new layer in trying to stash them away? Do we go to even greater lengths to shield ourselves and the world from them? Or, do we decide that we are grown up now? That we can face those things that felt overwhelming in the past? That we can get the help we need in order to deal with and work through those things that kept us cut off from ourselves? We are each a whole person. We can pretend that we aren’t, but the pretending will only last so long. Today, I will take steps to own and claim all of me. And I will work to figure out what to do with those parts of me who were hidden or disowned. I will gather them to me and start with simple, non-judging, acknowledgment.