I woke up this morning with a thought about a certain obstacle that can slow us down in the walk of life…a puddle called comparison. In this world of material-seeking perfection, comparison can be an easy stumbling block to happiness. But I’m here to tell you it can be overcome with grace and style.
As a mom of a big family and daily survivor of this crazy economy, I can tell you that it’s a fine line to walk to stay focused on goals without falling face first in some puddles. I always preach to my kids “be grateful for what you have and don’t compare yourself to others” when they complain that so-and-so has this or that. Of course we all want our children to grow up secure, confident, and content with their blessings.
But what about us?
Between pinterest, magazines, blogs, TV, and all the other media we have in our faces, we are bombarded daily with the expectation and yearning to have the BEST. Think about it – how many times a week do you compare yourself to someone else and feel like you’re not doing something right? Maybe it’s the best job we’re after, the perfectly designed house (ahem), the right clothes, the right car, the right number of children, the perfect amount of travel. Or maybe you look at yourself in the mirror and wish that one particular feature on your face or body was slightly different – because then you would be happy with the way you looked.
Don’t get me wrong, I love pretty things, and certainly enjoy setting goals, but it gets to be a dangerous game when comparison creeps into the picture. It can be so easy to start assigning deadlines on yourself such as, “I should have _______ by now.” Or another thought: “What is wrong with me, I’m sitting here doing ______ while so-and-so is off doing ________.”
You can drive yourself into the ground and end up feeling like you simply don’t have enough…or you’re not good enough…or that your personal timeline is faulty because you don’t have x,y, or z by a certain age in your life. The puddle can get so deep that you don’t even know how to get yourself out.
How to correct these thoughts and feel empowered in your life:
1. First, get your head on straight. This is an important step in regrouping your thoughts. Do this breathing exercise for a solid 60 seconds: inhale as much as you can through your nose and hold that breath for 10 seconds – then push out all the air slowly with your mouth until there is literally nothing left in your lungs – it will feel strange. Do this exercise for one whole minute. May sound silly, but this is an excellent tool to regroup whenever you’re in a situation where you feel anxious. Consistent deep breaths re-oxygenate your brain, which in turn calms you down so you can think clearly.
2. Stop and list three fabulous things in your life. Believe me, they are there. It doesn’t matter how simple these things are – you might have to start small. The idea is to recognize what gifts surround you. I guarantee you’ll list at least 10 once you make it to number three.
3. Repeat, think, and write: “I am surrounded with favor. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am blessed.” If you truly own these thoughts, I promise that you will feel different. You might have to repeat this multiple times a day, and that’s totally okay.
4. Do one nice thing for someone else. It can be anything – bringing a co-worker their favorite drink with to work one day with a paper umbrella and ribbon tied around it for laughs, mailing a random note to a faraway friend or relative telling them they’re loved, surprising your kids with colorful balloons floating above the dinner table in the middle of the week. Anything. The purpose is to share goodness and love with another – it is healing on so many levels.
. . . .
It’s funny, I wasn’t sure if this was a post I should share…I starting thinking about it over the madness of packing kid lunches. Then after the kids were out the door…the thought remained with me one sip of coffee after another. Still debating, I opened up my daily devotional for today’s thought, and the answer hit me right in between the eyes with the last sentence. Ba-bammmm.
“I can read the emptiness of your thoughts when they wander away from Me. I offer you rest for your soul, as well as refreshment for your mind and body. If you feel any deficiency, you need to refocus your attention on Me. This is how you trust Me in the moments of your life.”
Oh ya. The trust thing. Cold busted.
Since I am the worst bible-reader ever, I love this little devotional because it is an easy, quick read and has a surprise message every day. It’s really saved me from myself a few times. It was a gift from my beautiful friend, Leslie, who has read her own copy for years. I’ll be honest, at first the title kind of freaked me out because it sounded extreme – like I should be walking around in a skirt covering my ankles and in a constant state of prayer. Not me (sorry God). But it offers a very gentle and comforting message day after day. If you’re not a big reader, I think they have it as a download on itunes over here.
Cheers to recognizing our blessings and knowing that we are ALL in our right place.