This past Saturday I went for a run because I have to get my booty in gear for the races I am doing this summer. I really keep signing up to scare myself into shape, and it totally works for me. But, I wasn't feeling it that morning. I did NOT want to run. I live at the bottom of a hill in a neighborhood on a ridge, so my run starts out with some awful hills, which is pretty discouraging when you already wish you were in your warm house, in your pj's, with your little family instead of purposely putting your body and lungs through pain. I got to the top of the third hill and onto the main road when I saw another runner across the street. He looked so confident and happy to be running. I noticed my slumped shoulders and drooping head and immediately felt my posture change as I tried to copy his form so that I could enjoy the rest of my run. And it totally worked! That change in posture and the happy runner made a world of difference. Thanks, dude with the dog for making my run a happy one!
There are good comparisons. It is so good to look at people around you and try to implement great things they do in your life. I know that most everyone does this already, so that's not exactly what I am preaching here. It's when we run too far with those comparisons and allow ourselves to become discouraged that things go south. I struggle with this.
I have a very dear friend who inspires me to be better and to do more every time I talk to her (which isn't often enough.) She is honest, sincere, funny, beautiful, smart, home schools her kids, exercises nearly every day, whips up cookies for neighbors, throws cool parties, blogs, has an extremely busy husband, just got a new puppy, and makes every person she talks to feel super important and loved. I always come away from talking to her thinking of 5-10 things I want to change or do better in my life. But I am coming up on Kindergarten for my oldest and I am not going to home school. I think she would hate that I've felt some guilt about that, but I have. "Am I less of a mother because I'm not homeschooling my children?" I've asked myself that question more than a few times. But the answer is NO! (Right? The answer is no? :) )
Sure, try out something in your life that you've seen someone else be successful with if you feel so inclined. Look for ways to be better in your career, in your marriage, in your friendships, as a neighbor, wife, mother (father too...first comment from a dude on the last post!) Just be sure that when you are looking around the figurative room, seeing the amazing qualities in those around you, that your eyes lock with that incredible person in the mirror. Give her props for what she does well too. And don't feel bad that you can't whip up a fabulous built-in cabinet for your home like another super talented lady you know. You can put some painted clothespins on ribbon to display your kid's art work! Hooray for you!
In short, don't let the comparisons go to the dark side and remember that you so totally rock and have a lot to offer by way of inspiration as well for those around you. THEY are looking at YOU for ways to improve themselves. Believe it, because it is true. There is not a single person I know who doesn't have at least one quality I admire. Please don't be discouraged by the talents or abilities you lack, be inspired! Don't let the fact that you are the world's slowest swimmer and are one of the last to get out of the water keep you from doing a triathlon or four. To keep comparisons good, you have to be good to yourself.
LOVED the comments from this weekend's forum. You should go back and read them if you haven't already. Elizabeth's final paragraph is right in line with this post. Oh, and Marty Overfelt is the first dude I was referring to. Thanks, Marty! I really enjoyed your thoughts.