I recently read an intriguing article in the online edition of the New York Times discussing expressive writing and the benefits rewriting one’s own life story can have towards making positive and lasting changes. It was thought-provoking and inspiring. I resolved to try it.
But, me being me, I put it off. I found excuses. I didn’t want to hear what I had to say.
Then, I reread a recent blog post – one about change, about taking risks, about chasing dreams, about not wanting to be afraid. In it, I designated this year (2015) as the #yearofthebold, and I really want to adhere to that.
So. In the spirit of being bold, of taking steps for positive change, of rewriting my story…
Hi. My name is Emily, and I am a comparison-oholic. I have a problem with comparisons.
It’s an insidious problem – one that leaves me alone during the course of a normal day, but one that tends to sneak up on me at the most inopportune of moments. Such as moments when I should be feeling happy or proud or #blessed. Moments when people around me accomplish goals, or connect with other amazing people, or get involved in inspiring projects, or generally do awesome, FOMO-inducing things. I should feel thrilled. I should feel delighted. I should feel honored to call such rockstars friends. And I am.
But I also feel left behind. Like I’m lacking. Like I’m not good enough.
Because in my comparison-addicted mind, seeing the strides those I love and admire make only highlights the fact that I’m not also making similar ones. Or so it seems.
Logically, I know it’s not true. When I look at the facts (and I do, a lot), it’s clear. I have wonderful, inspirational, powerhouse friends who care for and value me. I have a loving and supportive family. I’ve had innumerable eye-opening, horizon-expanding, heart-swelling moments. I’ve been (almost) around the world, to (almost) 15 countries. I’ve completed two years in the Peace Corps, by far the most challenging and exhilarating experience of my life. I’m taking (small) steps towards a passion I’ve recently consolidated. I’ve had romantic relationships. I’ve been in love. In short, I’ve accomplished a lot, and I’ve led a life anyone would be proud to lead.
I can’t shake the demon of comparison. I can’t help feeling a twinge of jealousy when those I know land the job of their dreams or, at the very least, make tangible steps to get there. I can’t stop worrying that I’m being replaced when my best friends become close with other, “better” people. I can’t rid my mind of the “ugly-fat-not-good-enough” whispers when those around me find partners, for the long haul or for the one night. I can’t stop my spirit from sinking every time I hear what courageous, innovative projects or adventures my friends embark on that I’m not.
It’s nonsensical and unfounded, and it has nothing to do with those I care about and everything to do with the way I see myself. My eyes are broken; as with a shattered mirror, I can only see splinters of myself that never quite match up. No matter how many times people tell me otherwise – that I’m a complete, wonderful, beautiful, worthwhile human – I can’t figure out how to fix my eyes to match theirs. I’m still only seeing the slivers.
But it’s getting better. I’m getting better. I’m learning, slowly, to stem the tide of comparisons before it gets too strong – to allow myself to feel happy for others without also putting myself down. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of work to change your inner monologue, to edit your own story. But writing it out helps. Thinking critically about it helps. Making myself accountable for the steps I know I need to take helps. I’m hopeful I’ll get there sooner rather than later. It was, after all, one of my biggest resolutions for 2015, the #yearofthebold.
It can be disheartening when I slip up and slide backwards, and it hurts to know that my eyes still so easily focus on the cracks and imperfections. But I know that there’s an entire, unbroken girl behind all the shards of glass.
I catch glimpses of her sometimes.
Written and loved on by wegotcitiestovisit