– How old is she? i was often asked about my kid while strolling and playing in the park.
– Why? i would ask. The faces of inquires would get usually very puzzled.
– Hmm, to compare her with my daughter/niece/cousin’s kid…, would be usually mumbled in response.
– Do they need your comparison? would be my usual good-buy.
At school, my best friend’s mom would use two rulers to follow the marks on her daughter and my rows in the teachers notebook. I can only imagine the talks they had at home. As a result, our friendship suffered. My now ex friend has a PhD and i hope she did it for her professional fulfillment.
Comparison leads to wanting more, consuming more, spending time and effort on others ideals. We rarely spend time and effort on comparing where we are now to where we started from and analysing how much we achieved.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” said Theodore Roosevelt. I realise we cannot escape comparison fully though. Social media and glamorizing TV do not help with endless status updates, instagrams, tweets and alike. We see the surface and our brains make conclusions. It often does so from perceived weaknesses on our end.
I was raised in soviet union and even that “egalitarian” regime had a built-in competition. “Better”, “faster”, “more” were teachers and trainers favourites. In my grandmother’s village there was a competition for fastest growing trees. How can you make trees grow faster? They grow depending on their roots and need for light. They do not grow to compete with the neighboring forest.
I missed many joyful moments in life because of comparison, imposed or self-imposed. I also learned that Comparison can still be a friend when applied with care and in line with own intrinsic philosophy, values and aspirations.
I care now to make sure my kid learns to apply comparison when it benefits her growth. And it also helps me grow. The same way a tree does 🙂
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi
“Is this a new form of torture?!” screams my brain. “Would you like it to be”, my consciousness responds. “Move, go, jump, …. do something!”, my brain is relentless.
“No”, my consciousness is unimpressed.
The power of No is salvatory.
Stillness is gaining ground. Over my fingers. Over my eyes. Over my shoulders. Over my mind. Over my blood. Over my resistance. Over my fears. Over my dreams. Over my fights. Over my peace. I am all hers. We are one. An inner smile embraces my body, my heart, my soul.
Yet, the rebellion is about to restart. My brain is awake, in the awe of the power of stillness. “She is mine”, it wants to scream. But stillness is there. A super active brain is silenced by its presence. The brain, apologetically, gets into the sweetest Hello Kitty mode and surrenders to stillness. It baths in stillness. It plunges into its depth just to discover that stillness has no depth. It inhales its beauty with love and gratitude.
“I am home. We are one”.
With gratitude for inspiration “The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness” by Claudia and James Altucher.
…or two. Quick. Radical…..Let’s see where this will take me. This urge is close to anticipation of an orgasm. It builds in waves…stronger and stronger. Will I ride on the wave? Will I let it sweep me away? Will I be on the crest of the wave? Will I let it pass? I do not know. I want to know.
In the past, which I cherish, whenever I wanted a change I used to run to the hairdresser. A change of hair cut or hair colour would trap me into thinking of it as a change I wanted. Now I laugh at the thought of it. Pictures of myself keep reminding me how self deceiving I was. An urge for change rooted into most intimate thoughts will not go away with a new hair-cut or new cloths or a new partner or a new house.
As I sip my divine mochaccino (thank you barista!), I realise that there is actually no need for change. It’s my inner self which screams for freedom. Freedom from conventions, freedom from self-inflicted stereotypes, freedom from what others want me to have/want. When I am at peace with myself, there is no such urge. I am filled with creative flows, I am generous, I am happy. Have I forgotten the golden rules of inner peace? Be grateful, see the beauty in everything around me, enjoy it, even if it’s a lemon!, brief, smile, laugh, dream with eyes wide open, let the warmth of love heal my heart…
I witnessed huge changes in one of my dearest friend’s life. I know him for for over 15 years now. He embraced enormous life transforming changes over this period. I realised every change he made towards his inner self was gradual, painful at times but in a beautiful, creative way. He is now at peace. I see it in his eyes, his gestures, his smile. Will he want to radically change anything now? I looked for an answer in a coming-out video he recently made public. I do not think so. He seems in a safe harbor, filled with love. So for now, he will probably simply wave good buy to any sudden urge for change. ….And I am going to do the same.
– I had a fight with my husband, says a 62 years old happily married for 35 years.
– It’s rather pornographic at your age, don’t you think? responds her 31 years old friend.
They shared a good laugh together. Never ever the 62 year old lady has complained again about her husband, not that other targets of complaints have been totally eliminated from the list.
It’s more socially acceptable to complain. About weight, weather, your hair, your relationships, your kids, your partner. And even if someone says your family/your kid/your partner/your hair is awesone, there is a great possibility you’ll downplay it.
Why such a tendency to disparage? Is it about images propeled in our lives by romantic comedies, sitcomes or commercials or billboards? It is about what is socially acceptable now / then? Is it about prejudice and stereotype we grew up with?
Or is it may be about …loosing the connection to the true self? Disregarding blessings? Forgeting to be greatful and appreciative of what we have, whom we share our lives with then and now?
Complaining is counterproductive. It brings more of what we are complaining about (but you know that already, right?). It’s a waste of energy and time. If I could, i would invent a complaintometer. We would all be amazed by the amount of energy lost in this process.
Want to make a committment to happiness? Start with Thank you! Thank you for the rain today! Thank you to the one who invented the umbrella! Thank you, my snorring partner, – you waked me up exactly in time for my morning meditation! Thank you for my hair – it survived so many hair cuts and colouring over last decades! Gratitude brings more to be grateful about.
Thank you, Life, for giving me so many opportunities to be grateful about. And kindly reminding me that my happiness is entirely my inner business, my way and my way only:
„Oh, I’ve laughed and cried, had my fill my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, counted also music
To think like the old lad
And may I say not in a sky away,
Oh, no no no, You’re not me, I did it my way”
Nina Simone, My Way