|Less than Perfect (Photo: Wikipedia)|
OK, I admit it! I'm not perfect! Whew - I feel better getting that off my chest!
Sometimes I feel a lot of pressure to seem like I've got it all together. My kids are watching me. My clients are watching me. People in organizations where I hold leadership positions are watching. I know, I know ... I'm just sounding paranoid now.
But it's true! We do look up to people. And, unfortunately we play the comparison game A LOT! It's such an ugly game.
We are constantly checking - "Am I doing better than her?" Somehow we ridiculously think as long as we're doing better than someone we know, we must be doing OK.
But let's look at the logic of that. That means we're looking for others' faults. Does that build anyone up? No! It's tearing others down, so we can feel better! YUCK! No thank you! I used to do this a lot.
I'd hear some kid throwing a temper tantrum in the store and look down at my little cherubs and grin. I'd see some woman with a skirt a size too tight and smooth my pants down, feeling slimmer already. I'd see a couple visibly upset with one another and squeeze my husband's hand a little tighter, knowing we are the perfect couple.
All of those situations made me feel better about my life.
But that's not in alignment with who I am anymore. I realized comparing myself like that offers a short gain and long pain.
I quickly realized I'm not perfect, when I turn in the other direction and see a woman who's 4 dress sizes smaller than me. I hear a friend share about her kid winning some coveted award. Or I'm grumpy with my husband - well, just because I'm grumpy.
If you're going to compare down, you will inevitably compare up! This will bring home the crushing truth that - well sweetheart, you're not perfect!
So how did I break this cycle?
First off I realized it was hurting myself and it needed to stop. That's my challenge for you as you read this.
Second, I started paying attention. I'd inevitably wander in the comparison direction because it was such a habit. The minute I "caught" myself, I remembered I was changing that thought pattern.
Finally, I began to focus on what is important in life. For me, that's bringing people joy. My being critical of others (even if just in my own head), doesn't bring anyone joy.
I receive a much greater reward by letting my criticisms and comparisons go and look for ways to bring a smile on someone's face. I know that pays greater dividends for the other person and for me.
So keep an eye out, next time you see me! If your kid is screaming, I might just walk up and try to do something silly to distract the banshee.
If you look like you're having a bad day, I'll find some creative way to compliment you. And if you're having a hard day with your honey, I might just say something to break the tension and get the two of you to laugh.
Sure - I'm not perfect, but man I know I'm getting better than I used to be!
Please share any lessons you've learned about playing that comparison game or even just how you know you're not perfect.
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Be sure to pick up my free report: Stop Trying to be Perfect! 4 Easy Ways to Enjoy Your Life while you're there as well!
By Alyssa Johnson, LCSW.
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