“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” This quote is from Max Ehrmann’s 1927 poem, Desiderata.
A sure fire way of being unhappy is to compare yourself to anyone. What you’re really doing is comparing your life to someone elses highlight reel. We all compare and it’s something I’m really trying to get better at.
There is this girl I’m friends with who is drop dead gorgeous, Sweet, intelligent and funny. She got married in her late 20’s then had children all too easily. I mean it seemed like every other month she was pregnant. It took all of the restraint I had not to punch her in the vagina.
Then she and her husband moved into this new spacious house and she went to go work part time at a job she loves! Meanwhile I still work at my 9-6 job, spending 80 percent of my time printing and filing emails. I also live in a one bedroom in the valley with my husband and our retarded cat named Eugene who sleeps in our dustpan.
You see how that comparison could make someone miserable! The truth of the matter is, I don’t know the whole story with my friend’s life and I’ve projected my fantasy of what a perfect life would look like onto her just to make myself feel bad. My sponsor always says to me, “if you’re going to envy someone, you have to envy every single thing about them.”
Yes, that means you may envy someone who has a ton of cash or that career you want, but look closer. Maybe that person you’re envying has a crappy marriage, is cheating on their spouse, is a workaholic, has a drug or alcohol problem, has a disabled child or is voting for Donald Trump.
If you really want to live in the compare and despair pit then go on Facebook. Facebook is evil that way. People are posting about their exotic trips, their weddings, sonograms, fun outings and fancy events. Well, they’re not going to be posting pictures of them cutting their cuticles or having a panic attack or getting into an argument with their husband over eating too many of his Dole bananas…okay, got personal on that one, but you got the point.
But what we should be doing is sticking to our lane and not looking at the other lanes on the highway. We all progress on our own timeline and at speed we’re supposed to. Another thing my sponsor says to me is, “the only person you can compare yourself to is the person you are now to the person you were when you walked into the rooms of recovery.” If that is the case than I I’m a completely transformed human being because I am nothing like that sad, anxiety ridden mess who dragged her ass into AA.
When I think about how much I’ve changed a huge smile appears on my face. That is happiness. Happiness comes from seeing your progress, from being in the present and being grateful for everything you do have.
So, if you find yourself comparing and despairing stop and get in the present moment. Appreciate where you are NOW. You’re a unique little snowflake on your own winter’s tale.