the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 159 Dare to NOT Compare!

Posted by themirrenlee on 07/06/2012

What is it with human beings and their overwhelming need to compare? I’m not just talking about comparing themselves with others, which is the most common habit, of course, but also comparing how they are now with how they used to be, whether it be health issues or ageing/looks … whatever they can find to make a comparison.

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about unhappy people – depression, lack of self esteem, feelings of worthlessness in terms of career/life choices, etc. It breaks my heart. Yes, depression is tough, chronic illness is a bitch, ageing endows us with limitations – but all of these things (and more) also have a positive side.

As the saying goes, “Without tests there can be no testimony”. When you have stories to tell about your life, you then have experiences to share which might help others. And let’s face it, the most difficult stories are the most interesting. Take that from someone who has lived through a LOT of difficult – and incredibly interesting – stories!

Children usually start out with a much greater sense of self than they end up with as adults. Let’s train them to avoid the comparison trap.

I’m not trying to get all Pollyannaish here (Google the movie), but the media trains us so much into a habit of being attracted to the negative that sometimes we have to stop and think if there are any upsides to what we’re going through – even if we feel like we’re the only one in the world going through it.

I have this unwavering belief that everything happens for a reason. My faith system centers around a foundation of Spiritualism (yes, reincarnation and ghosts), Wiccan (basically the energies of the Universe), and Buddhist philosophical tenets. All that may sound like a weird hodge podge, but it works for me, and indeed I’m one of the few people I know who isn’t afraid of death (I feel we just cross over), unlike so many people of more conventional religions. I figure if your faith doesn’t make you comfortable with the idea of your own mortality, then there’s something wrong there, because we all know how big a fear death is for most people.

Anyway, the comparing thing really got to me because of all the treatments I see bloggers suggesting for chronic conditions. Mine is Fibromyalgia and it’s a HUGE one for seeing how many different ideas are put forth to help control/cure it. There are so many that it overwhelms sufferers, and can make them feel inadequate if they haven’t got the time/money/energy to try the latest one.

If you stopped comparing, you’d just take your condition as you experience it, and do what feels right for you.

This doesn’t apply only to health conditions – your comparing issues might come up with someone who you think is prettier, thinner, more successful, doing what you want to be doing … whatever.

Comparisons between yourself and others is a slippery slope to never making a move without someone else’s approval. YOU are wonderful just as you are, no matter what you’re going through.

The path you’re on, the life you’re leading, the lessons you’re learning, are yours and yours alone. They have nothing to do with anyone else. As my therapists taught me: “This is your stuff, and this is my stuff.” Don’t mix them together. As the wonderful Eleanor Roosevelt said: “What people think of you is none of your business.”

So many people have so much stress in their lives, and to keep comparing themselves to others to see if they’re “keeping up” or something just adds immeasurably to that stress. Don’t do it. Just be yourself, take care of yourself, and listen very closely to yourself to figure out what you need to be as happy as you possibly can. That’s all you need to do. Let others do the same for themselves. I know it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it IS possible. Keep telling yourself, “I am a unique spiritual being having a human experience, and no one else is on my path but me.”

I’m just not comparin’ myself …

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