I have raised five beautiful children and been involved in communities with many other children and young adults where I was a mentor, role model and friend. I have always been the one to hold this conversation with the young ones: there is no comparison. It seems that many people spend a good amount of their time and days comparing themselves to others. They compare their looks, their knowledge, their beliefs, their values, their possessions, and their faults among other things. I am puzzled by this activity as I only see it as a terrible loss of time. Comparison gets you nowhere. We are all meant to be unique and have our own personal special qualities, so why would we want to compare? To see the contrast perhaps? Usually what I find in these conversations is that the comparison often leads to disappointment in self. Or worse it leads to negative judgment of the other. Not what I consider a good use of one’s time.
Instead I propose that we compare ourselves to ourselves. How have I changed since yesterday, last month, or two years ago? How have I let go what does not serve me? How have I moved on to face my challenges? How have I grown in my strengths? These are worthy comparisons. These put one’s time to good use.
In these conversations, when this point is made, if it makes its way through some of the drama of the moment, the pain that is being held on to, or the old patterns of behavior…I see a twinkle in the eye. I see a relaxation of the brow and the corners of the mouth begin to create a small smile. What a better and more powerful place to be. Our journey has many pieces that are beyond our control and we learn to trust that what is happening is happening for a reason. But how we react to the happenings is fully within our control.
I recently shared an image with a client. Emotions do not rule us, they simply flow through us. Imagine a wave rolling onto the shore. It builds momentum, just like an emotion, it increases with speed and intensity. We can brace ourselves to receive the wave, firmly standing there or use our judgment and if we feel the wave is too big to withstand we can back up a bit, move to a safer place before we get pulled under. So is the case with our emotions. We can ground ourselves firmly and prepare for them to roll in or we can step aside, retreat a bit and put distance between the emotion and ourselves to prepare our reaction. Pause and space helps. It gives us the opportunity to allow the wave of emotion to flow through us and then beyond. We can be in control and not need to spin comparisons to cling to.A comparison does not make a good life raft!
Blessings ~ Lisa
©COPYRIGHT 2013 Lisa Meade