Okay folks, let’s be honest. We have all compared ourselves to others at one point or another. The reason the phrase “I’ll have what she’s having” (from that fabulous movie When Harry Met Sally) resonates with so many…is that it is not ONLY about what Meg Ryan was acting out!! HA!
We compare and contrast ourselves with others around lots of things. We often do this to gauge how we are doing based on what we see others doing. In fact, when I have heard individuals piously say they never compare themselves to others, I surmise it is because they think they are already superior or winning against the party to whom they are supposedly not comparing.
The irony is that when we compare ourselves to anyone or anything – it is NEVER a win. Yet, for some reason, we want to quantify, position, and posture; for example: he makes X amount of money. She has X title and X span of control at X corporation. THEN we try to fit into this story line and often rationalize how they got there, and we didn’t OR why we are where we are – as if what we have done (or are doing) is not good enough.
Good enough, by whose measure? In life, we are always moving, improving, and learning. So, when Plaid for Women asked us to write on “Intentional Living’ – this was/is right up my alley. I believe who we are today is a direct result of the choices we have made previously. We are always inventing and re-inventing AND aligning our intentions with how we wish to contribute in the world. The very cool part about life is that NOTHING is stagnate or finite. Ever. We can choose and re-choose; direct and re-direct…AND we are always growing and improving. That is a constant. So, when we catch ourselves comparing ourselves to another, we need to stop and ask ourselves…how am I doing? Not in comparison to anyone but ourselves. What have I learned this year? What am I doing to continue to grow and learn? In other words, what am I doing to keep upping my own game so that I continue to be the best I can be…period…NOT compared to X, Y or Z.
This is what matters.
My parents have told me this all my life, and yet this is a lesson I continue to learn. We know rationally that comparing ourselves with someone else is an inaccurate and irrelevant measuring stick. Yet, sometimes we find ourselves looking over our shoulders and saying, “what if?” or “now what?” This does not serve us. Think about how illogical this is. For example, I am an introvert and I love being by myself and find tremendous joy in writing in solitude on Sunday afternoons. This is where I get my energy. So, when/if I compare myself to someone that loves to be around others as the way they get energized…it just doesn’t fit for me. See what I mean? This is true for every aspect of our lives…marriage versus single, children versus no children, corporate executive versus musician, material wealth versus content with what life has provided, etc. etc.!!
In life, we all come into this world with different gifts, purposes, and life’s journey. We have key lessons and intentions which we must learn and live – just us. Thus, this work is on us…how well we do this is really our only metric. The other wrappings are just trappings, creature comforts, and the metaphoric clothes we wear…they are not the end game.
So – sure, we all have the tendency to look to the right and to the left to gauge our progress. What I am suggesting is that we look within for the real direction. Set OUR intentions. Move confidently forward. Contribute in the way that is authentic to you. How we are doing with our own lives is the real business.