“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
When I read this scripture I recognise that seasons are inevitable. Like so in our lives we will experience seasons. There will be moments better than others – full health and sickness, birth of a new child and death of a close loved one, finding love for the first time and experiencing a heartbreak. If we are aware of this, then why do we become unmotivated or stuck when the going gets tough?.
Think of a setting such as a race. Everyone is allocated their own lane. When the shotgun goes off you’re not thinking of anyone else but yourself. You take off the line with full strength in your legs, striding for the finish line. 50m down the track you believe in your ability if you keep at this pace. 60m down the line you can feel a slight ache in your legs and the person in the lane next to you is catching up. Within a matter of seconds, more people are in your peripheral view and you have 2 choices, finish the race well or give up disheartened because you compared your performance to the person next to you.
For many this is a reality you’ve experienced. Heck it happens to the best of us, me included. There have been countless times I’ve set out with a dream or a goal in mind with a zeal that people are taking noting of. Opportunities are aligning, doors are opening yet I take one glance to the person next to me (social media, my friendship group) and they are doing better in some capacity. All of a sudden I’ve forgotten what I have achieved so far and become that consumed in this one area of their life, I default to being bitter rather than better.
I have experienced first hand how suffocating and debilitating comparison can be. It pays a visit when my insecurities come knocking when I am standing naked in front of a mirror or I am in a room that I believe are filled with people much more intelligent than I am. So what do I do in those moments to get out of my own head? well, the answers didn’t come easy and I don’t think I have the formula down pat of how to stop comparing yourself but I reached a point where I wanted to take back ground in my head. This is how I re-learnt how to stay in my lane.
1. Acknowledge it’s happening: No one openly admits they’re comparing themselves to you or vice-versa. It’s embarrassing first-hand because universally we’ve ruled it as a mean girl trait. There’s no denying it can drive people to ridiculous lengths if not channeled properly. The longer we let comparison linger in our hearts, the longer we keep ourselves entangled in an entirely self-imposed form of torture. With comparison a few other nasties loyally follow suit. This includes but not limited to:
– A damaging sense of self.
– Low self esteem.
Something really changed in me when I acknowledged the constant losing feeling I felt. When I discovered it was comparison after denying it wasn’t for far too long, I was able to address what was happening honestly. Don’t let your pretentious self fool you.
2. Figure out why it’s happening: THIS IS IMPORTANT. We have to acknowledge the elephant in the room as often as possible and say it how we see it. A recent practice I have incorporated into my life when I am feeling the pits is saying what I am feeling out loud. I literally sit in front of a mirror and ask myself these questions:
– Why am I upset?
– What triggered me?
– What am I going to do about it?
It sounds ridiculous but I when I do this I have a sense of clarity and can pin point how or why I had begun unraveling in the first place. Remember, your life is yours. You can’t be exactly like the person you stalk all day long on Instagram. Sure, they may be successful, popular or pretty but do you really want to emulate someone else? everytime you compare yourself you squash your own potential and deny yourself. That’s real sad.
One day I will be on my death bed and God willing, I hope I’ll have time to reflect. I truly hope I can say “I’ve lived a full life. I am content”, rather than wallowing in my disappointment because I didn’t live life on my terms.
3. Acknowledge you can’t be everything: Every single person on planet Earth right now who has breath in their lungs has been allocated a certain degree of influence and talents, you included.
I am a Believer so speaking in faith terms, you have a calling on your life designed especially for you. That might be you’re a pastor, scientist, athlete, model, CEO, journalist, carpenter – whatever the role or title, identify your calling and give that your all.
The differences in our lives, the quirky and awkward parts of ourselves allows the world to be a diverse place. Feel the freedom that comes with being your most authentic self.
To end on a personal note, I lost my Papa on April 30. We knew his time was limited but we had no idea his life would be taken that day. I will confidently assume he died with no regrets. He genuinely lived a full life.
Adventurous but stubborn. Shy but big hearted. Genuinely content with staying in his own lane. Papa’s death really put things into perspective for me. The time to live our best lives and do the things we dream of is now. I don’t want to waste another year comparing myself and being stuck. I want to live my life, my way, just as he did so well.
So yes, comparison is some hard shit but remember you’re stronger than you think, more unique than you give yourself credit for and your lane in this race we call life, matters.
Your life is yours. Write well and edit often.
Cheering you on boo!
Blessings and love,
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