Sunday, May 27, 2012

Question 2: Comparisons

Question of the day:


This is an interesting question. At first I thought, "who don't I?" Comparing oneself to others is a basic human habit, isn't it? But an answer like that is evading the question. And I intend to actually answer, so, I must think for a minute.

Here are some general categories of people I compare myself to:

*Other bloggers. Bloggers are fascinating people. I love their humor, wit, creativity and honesty. Sometimes I can't bring myself to write anything because it seems like i just don't have anything as relevant to say. When I'm in comparison mode, I'm believing that my life just isn't as interesting or pretty. As I'm writing this now, I'm (correctly) thinking, "that's total BS". Wow. It's amazing how deluded our thoughts can be if we don't keep them in check!

*Stellar co-workers. I recently realized that I'm *a bit* of a perfectionist. At work, I gravitate toward other people who dedicate themselves to doing a good job and being effective. When we work well together, I believe it's because we possess similar strengths, skills and talents. Comparisons in this sense end up fueling better work.

 *Crappy co-workers. What bugs us in others is often a reflection of some aspect of ourselves. I used to hate it when someone would tell me that. But the truth is, NO ONE is perfect! We all have blind spots, make bad decisions, screw up and make mistakes. It's about owning and embracing all pieces of ourselves, no matter how un-pretty. On some level, my terrible boss is a reflection of me. That's a big pill to swallow.

*My family Growing up, my sister was "the pretty one" and I was "the smart one". Turns out, we're both pretty and we're both smart, and confining labels are ridiculous and crippling. I always thought my mom was "the tough one"  and my dad was "the nice one", but perceptions change with age. My mom is a woman of strength and determination. She has grit. I used to reject those traits, but now I realize what a gift they are. I strive to own them. And I often compare my use of them to hers.

*My friends I should start by saying I have awesome friends. They're unique. SPECIAL. In their own individual way, each  has depth and soul. Some possess razor sharp wit and make me laugh until I cry.  Some have wisdom beyond their years. They are dreamers, believers and creators and do-ers. They're unbelievable. We're like a garden of exotic flowers - different and beautiful in our own right.

Orchids don't wish to be anthuriums, and hibiscus don't strive to be torch ginger. While this is most often the view I take of my friends, I'd be lying if I said I don't occasionally compare how I'm stacking up.   Love. Love. Love. Love my beautiful garden of friends!

*Visionaries Some people would question how or why I would ever compare myself to Wayne Dyer or Oprah Winfrey. My reason is because it inspires me. Yesterday, I was sitting alone at Starbucks. The elderly man next to me was reading the paper. We did what people normally do - ignored each other. About 30 minutes later, we made eye contact and I made a casual remark. He responded and began talking. I listened politely for a while. It seemed like a very one-sided conversation and I considered closing it down. But I thought of my heroes, my inspirations, and wondered, what would Wayne do in this situation? I realized that Wayne would treat this man with respect and dignity. In that instant, I wanted to hear his story. I opened my heart and listened with attention. We connected. I learned about his past, his present and his future. I shook his hand and thanked him for his service to our country. He was visibly surprised and clearly delighted that a stranger bothered to listen and care. It wasn't hard, but it was intentional.  I confirmed that his presence on the planet mattered. The man and I hugged before parting ways, and I believe we are both better off for it.

Without a doubt, comparisons abound! The greatest realization I have from writing this is that comparisons can be tools of limitation or liberation, and it's up to ME to decide the form they take. 

What about you?
Who do YOU sometimes compare yourself to?  And what forms do they take in your life? 

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