I have written about this before but I found myself stuck in a comparison trap again this week and just have to say (again)…it’s the absolute worst.
Let’s imagine together that jealousy is a dark room where no light seeps through the doorframe. There are no windows. There are obstacles everywhere…containers of various sizes, full of comparison, that bruise your shins as you stumble around trying to find the light switch. A room that you can’t get out of until you turn on the light and examine the contents of the boxes.
Two mornings ago I sat in pondering why I was feeling icky and became really aware of the fact that I was sitting in this figurative dark room.
As I groped along the wall to try to find the light, I felt lost. Why am I feeling this way again? Why do I get stuck in this room so easily? Comparison giving way to jealousy giving way to anger at the person who I’m jealous of giving way to anger at myself for being in the comparison trap again.
As I sat in that contemplative silence, journal in my lap, I started writing and the writing flipped on the light.
The contents of the room were not very pretty. It was not just jealousy of and comparison to one person that was plaguing me this Wednesday morning. I realized that I was comparing myself to many people in my life. Many people that I, in fact, love with all my heart.
The inventory of my comparison containers was as follows: 1. a person who was making a life/job change into something that would provide new opportunities; 2. a fellow blogger who has more followers and sometimes “writes better” than I do; 3. friends who get to explore their curiosities and passions with “less pressure” because they have a spouse to back them up if something fails; 4. friends who get to move into houses instead of apartments; 5. people who have other people to plan their birthday parties…
I’ll stop. I think I’ve made my point. My jealousy room needed a little spring cleaning. Now that the light was on and the contents of the rooms had been examined, it was time to get to work. (And by work, I mean opening up my eyes to the good that always surrounds me.)
1. I had a phone call scheduled with a dear friend and mentor (who I had realized was in one of the aforementioned containers, by the way) who asked me if any of these people were doing any of these things AT me. Was this person getting a new job AT you? Was that person moving into a house AT you?
No. None of the things in my comparison containers had anything to do with me.
2. Another friend happened to mention to me that she was feeling intimidated to start blogging because she’s been reading mine. I laughed and told her what was in my own comparison box.
3 & 4. A friend texted me to see how I was doing and I was honest about feeling a little stuck in a funk and she assured me that I was not alone in knowing what that feels like. This is a person who is going to be living in a house and also has a spouse. (At some point…maybe when I turn 40…I will remember that I am not the only person that funky moods happen to. I will take the lie of everyone else being happy all the time-which I KNOW is ridiculous because I know a lot of people-out of the comparison containers once and for all.)
5. I asked someone (who had weeks earlier volunteered, by the way) to help me with birthday plans. She, of course, said yes.
To put a cherry on top of the whole spring cleaning event (mixed metaphor), I got to FaceTime with my nephew and his family. His 2 year old screamed from off camera…THANK YOU FOR MY STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE!…which I bought her for Christmas. His 4 year old got to cracking himself up so hard that we were all giggling together. Man, those kids have a lot of joy. They’re such a gift. People should be jealous. (Just kidding.) Moments like that only exist in the light, though, and I’ll take a bright clean room filled with giggles over a dark cluttered space any time.