There’s No Comparison
This Is Your Life
I was 30 years old and sitting in a counselor’s office contemplating the next chapter of my life, having recently decided to get divorced. Elaine (the counselor) commented that she had observed it often took about six years post-divorce to be ready for a serious relationship again. While on one level I was at peace and looking forward to a fresh start, on another level I had an overriding feeling that could be summed up in three words: I’m so behind.
Elaine smiled with understanding and offered these reassuring words: This is your life, no one else’s. Right in that moment, I got it. How was I behind? Was someone keeping track? Elaine was right. I could bemoan how my life looked on paper compared to someone else’s at this snapshot in time or I could look at my life with curiosity and wonder. I could respect how it was unfolding as uniquely mine, bumps and all. I chose the latter.
Eyes Straight Ahead
Olympic coaches tell their swimmers to keep their eyes straight ahead. You only lose time if you glance to the left or right to see what swimmers in the other lanes are doing. When your eyes are straight ahead you can focus on making your personal best.
Kelly, a client who coached with me last year, had a significant breakthrough once she realized how much her habit of comparing herself to others was holding her back. Here’s how she describes it:
I believe I finally got rid of the “shoulds” in my thinking, as well as comparing myself to others, and also learned that most decisions I make do not have to be permanent and final. These lessons learned have felt like a giant weight being lifted off my shoulders and I am able to relax and enjoy the process of discovering/developing my purpose and passion each day.
Think of how you love your friends, foibles and all. In fact, some of their vulnerabilities are what make them even more endearing and precious to you. The same holds true when you allow yourself to fall in love with your own life.
A Rich Tapestry
What if there were no such thing as being behind, a late bloomer, or having to play catch up? Opt out of that game and instead, see your life as a rich tapestry of unique moments, insights gained, scars earned, courageous acts, lessons learned, love given, and extraordinary gifts exchanged. There is no comparison to your life’s tapestry. It is extremely rare and one of a kind.
This Week: For any challenge you are currently experiencing —a downsizing, stressful situation at work, a breakup, illness, or anything else that could be perceived as a setback— see it as a significant part of your life’s tapestry and notice how this colors your outlook.
“I must Create a System, or be enslaved
by another Man’s;
Here's to you,