Have you ever noticed that when you hear someone use the motivational phrase ‘Hey there, friend – never give up!’ it’s always being said by someone who’s already made it?
You think to yourself,
‘Yeah, well that’s easy for YOU to say – You already have what I’m still searching for!
Yep. I’ve done it. I’ve looked at other people and wondered, what am I doing wrong?
In other words, why do I feel so inadequate? Am I not smart enough? Talented enough? Determined enough?
Once that thought grabs hold, it can take me on quite a ride; while on this pity-train I might take a slight detour and begin thinking things like, ‘I already work nonstop; I make lots of sacrifices and do what I can and I still can’t catch a break. Maybe I should just quit.’
When practicing yoga, one of the many lessons we are taught is to accept ourselves for who we are right now; to live in the moment. So important is this lesson that it inspired this watercolor painting:
I’m obviously aware of this lesson; after all, it was me who used the quote in the painting! So, it should be clear to me that by living in the present moment I not compare myself to others, right? I’m not walking their path and should therefore pay attention to my own. But still, those thoughts seep into the cracks of one’s mind on occasion and sometimes it’s hard to keep them out.
Quitting is always an option. Sometimes it would be easier if it weren’t. I mean, if you didn’t have the option to just quit, you’d keep plugging along, right? There would be no reason for self doubt to take up that valuable space in your head.
Lucky for us, life is full of options; I’ve had my share of moments where I’ve wanted to call it quits:
I’m quitting my diet. It’s too hard to lose/maintain this weight.
This idea of being a successful artist is ridiculous. Screw it.
It doesn’t matter how hard I try; there will always be someone who’s better than I.
That last one is a doozie because it’s 100% true. There will always be someone who, in my mind, is better (and it’s very likely that with my mouse and the flick of my wrist I can take you directly to their webpage and try to prove it to you, too.) What I am beginning to realize however, is this: if I did give up the thing(s) I strive for, what would I be left with? Would I miss it or would I be glad to be rid of it? There is nothing wrong in quitting something that no longer serves me any purpose – that’s called growth; but giving up on a dream based on the life experiences of others is very sad, indeed.
What I truly desire is to live my life while taking pride in the fact that there is no one else in the world like me. Practicing this belief would mean that there would be no one to compare myself with, therefore I’d never know where I should be. I’d just – Be. It would allow me the freedom of enjoying the small triumphs instead of wasting those moments by using them as stepping stones to get me ever closer to the next best thing.
This is the only life I have. I don’t want to squander it by standing off to the side while watching someone else live theirs.
Do you find yourself comparing your life with others? How do you keep that green little monster called Envy in check?