I refer to myself as a late bloomer. I had children very young and with a man with whom I spent a lot of time and energy trying to turn into something he was not. Furthermore I was keeping two other humans alive in addition to myself and I just didn’t have a lot of extra focus left over to encourage myself to bloom. I don’t blame the man and I certainly don’t blame myself; there are just too many benefits to the choices I made back then. While comparing oneself to others can have negative connotations, doing so has actually helped me better myself through the years. I’d meet someone I admired, compare myself to them and develop a list of wants, goals if you were; and, as the realizations arose, I began to make plans. My point is, comparing myself to others at that time helped me focus on what I wanted and who I wanted to be, they were my muse, my inspiration.
Once I began to actualize my fullest-for-the-times potential, that habit of comparison that had served me so abundantly in the past began to very slowly and subtly hurt me; the thing is, we all have our shining star moments, everyone gets a turn. And I’d make note of someone else’s shining moment (or not so shining moment) and I’d flip flop between feeling inferior or feeling superior. And once again wasting my energy (see above, the man) on feelings and a certain thought process that didn’t motivate me, didn’t inspire me and really just fostered an ongoing angst. From that angst arose feelings of jealousy, insecurity, anger and most of all and oddly enough, fear. Mostly I wasn’t aware of these feelings, overall I just wasn’t happy.
“Why do I feel like this, right now, what am I reacting to?” The more I asked myself this the more I became aware of the nature of my discontent. I became aware that I needed to stop. Stop comparing myself to other people. I had already established a strong sense of who I wanted to be and who I already was and how I wanted to represent myself to the world and my moral compass as well was established. Why was I still comparing myself to others? Fortunately at that point in my life I had already done a lot of “inside work” and was aware of how the control I had/have of my thoughts and subsequently my feelings. So I began….
At first it wasn’t easy, old habits can die hard but I began the transformation with baby steps. Forcing myself to cheer others on when it was clear they were having a shining moment felt phony in the beginning but eventually (quite rapidly actually) it became genuine. And it felt good. Really good. The better it felt the easier it was. So the angst and the discontent and jealousy decreased (along with all of the other icky emotions). Oh but what about those times when the comparisons I had been making found people coming up short? Oddly enough, that habit was a more difficult one to let go of. I still struggle with it. Who hasn’t had a laugh at the foibles of our fellow humans? But I know it’s not good for me so I make that great effort, I mean really, who do I think I am? Now, unless I feel I can help in some way and there is somewhat of an invitation to do so (circumstance dictated of course) or unless I am directly affected, I just don’t think about it. I don’t talk about it. Well I try not to. And if I catch myself doing it I stop, forgive myself and move on.
I’m in competition with no one. Since I let go of the need to be “better than” and allowed myself to just be me I feel better. I don’t have to ask myself, “Why do I feel like this, right now, what am I reacting to?” nearly as often. And of course there are days when, just like everyone else, I shine and days when I don’t. And that’s ok. Because I’m ok. And so are you.