Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

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You’ve probably been here before.  So do you think hearts heal each time they’re broken?

I think hearts lose bits and pieces.  They heal, but when they do, they’re bumpy with scar tissue and minus some muscle fibers.  The people that fall out of love with us, die on us, or move away from us – keep that tissue.  Maybe it’s in their pocket, or maybe their junk drawer, but they keep it all the same.

Life is a series of beginnings and endings, right?  Promotions mixed with chemotherapy.  Right now, my world is smeared in mascara because another boyfriend is caput.  All I want to do is go surfing but the waves are horrible.  “Flat, flat,” not even “Poor,” and the forecast doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. On the other side of the coin, my sister Nina surprised me – her call from the airport needled joy into my vein.

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Fresh from hostels and farms in Nicaragua, Nina attempted cooking while I played chaperone.  Bean doesn’t follow recipes, and just learned the difference between teaspoons and tablespoons.  I’m more G.I. Jane than Julia Child, but Nina would give Ina Garten PTSD.

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Nina’s “Plantain Chips”

“Let’s go dumpster diving tonight.”

“No.  But can I write that on the blog?”

Yes (enthusiastically).  People should know about it.”

On Friday, we got food poisoning from some fish Nina made, and spent the rest of the weekend watching her picks: “Jumanji,” “Spongebob Squarepants,” and a horror movie called “Hansel and Gretel Get Baked.”  She allowed me to choose “Django” only because she thought I said “Rango,” the animated movie starring Johnny Depp as a chameleon sheriff.  “You only like depressing movies,” she complained when she woke up and saw Jamie Foxx.

On Monday, I received another unanticipated surprise.  But unlike fun surprises, like wedding proposals or Tiffany’s jewelry, I welcomed my second surprise as much as I welcome pregnancy scares.  So here I am again, holed up in Heartbreak Hotel with Kleenex and Julia Roberts chick flicks to keep me company.  And I tell ya: as many times as it fucking happens, it still fucking hurts.

I thought about my work, about how my plans for this week fell apart, and recalled the words of Havelock Ellis.  He said, “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”  From where I sit, during these times you let go.  You let go because something is more important (spending time with Bean), or because you just can’t hold on (it hurts to even talk about him).

I didn’t post often, do Humans of San Diego, etc.  So I started comparing myself to others – to Mr. and Ms. Perfects.  “I should be writing for hours every day, no matter what, because that’s what others do.”  But I am not everybody else.  I, you, everyone, should live by their own value system.  Who cares what others are doing.

Most everyone falls victim to jealousy jaundice.  This is one of the chief reasons I hate Facebook.   The Ms. Perfects blowing up my newsfeed are practically total strangers, but via e-stalking, it appears the length of their to-do lists would get me committed.  I want to know their secret: how are you doing all this?  You’re on Adderall, right?  Do you sleep?

Their statuses are nuts, like: “15 mile run!  Great start to the day,” at 8 a.m.  They’re getting their J.D. and M.B.A., which for me, would equal an N.B.D. (nervous break down).  These Barbie-Hillary Clintons also dress perfect, work out every day, eat vegan, and are engaged.

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I’m working on it, but I’m a human, and until I get my robot parts in, I’ll occasionally compare myself to others.  In high school, it was the Clueless and flawless Cher Horowitzes; now, it’s the Arianna Huffingtons of my virtual existence.  And from time to time, even the accomplishments of my literary heroes, and the general awesomeness of Natalie Portman, make me think that I’ll never do anything worthwhile.

They seem perfect, while I, on the other hand, ate overcooked eggs and glasses of wine for dinner.  The perfects don’t seem to stumble – I stumble.  This is where you get out of your mind.

Guilt and worry are the two biggest wastes of time.  When you’re jealous of someone, generally you’re feeling guilt or worry – guilt about something you didn’t do in the past; or worry about your future.  When you feel guilt or worry, you’ve given up your present moment to the past or future.  So if you do this a lot, it’s time to burn away your worry and guilt zones.

Cut yourself some slack!  Ask yourself if this thing you’re freaking out about will matter a year from now.  Know that your worth is not dependent on external things like degrees and titles.  You, minus all the flim flam, are enough.  Deserving of great things.

Did I do everything I said I was going to do this past week?  Absolutely not, I basically went on a sabbatical.  But I did that because life punched me in the ovaries.

You shouldn’t put so much pressure on yourself, and try to think about enjoyment more than performance in your endeavors.  Today, I’m thinking “slow progress is progress,” and of the words of Pope John XXIII.  He said, “Consult not your fears, but your hopes and dreams.  Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.  Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.”  Word up, Pope John XXIII.  I’m off to watch to drown my sorrows in Two Buck Chuck and endless episodes of “Sex and the City.”

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

  1. Oh wow. You sound exactly like me, only I watch endless episodes of “Criminal Minds” rather than “Sex and the City”. I hope SD gets a swell pretty soon so you can find solstice on the water 🙂

  2. Eh. Seems like the only standard is am I happier/smarter/better off/closer-to-whatever-it-was-I-wanted-to-get-closer-to than I was yesterday.
    Plus facebook sucks, so.

    I go for music when I’m in a mood. like that.
    Or naps.
    Sorry it was a crap week. On the other hand, it means next week has to accomplish very little to be better!

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