|Photo courtesy of Madison Otto|
It was raining, yet I was grateful. It was like Tony said “At least it’s not snow. I’ll take the rain.” I cracked a smile at at least being able to see the concrete of my steps as I climbed them, skipping puddles. And then I thought, “But I’d love some sunshine.”
It has been a harsh winter for us here in the middle Atlantic and north eastern states of the US. We’ve had more snow storms and well below freezing temperatures than we’ve had for years. It’s been tough and even with spring officially upon us it snowed again a few days ago. However I’d say because of how challenging the winter has been, I, my coworker Tony, and may others have gotten quite skilled at comparing weather days and learning to appreciate highs above freezing and rain as opposed to snow. We’ve become skeptical in our longing for sunshine and steady highs above freezing. As I unlocked my front door very grateful that I hadn’t spent the morning running errands dodging snow and ice, I knew that the day could have been even better with sunshine.
Sometimes we do the same thing with our lives. We compare and we find that if it could be worse then we ought to accept the current situation. We chide our longing for better because in comparison to someone or something we are better and that becomes enough. That becomes dangerous.
Don’t get me wrong. We ought to be appreciative of what we have right now. So yes, as I write this post listening to the rain play a steady beat on my window sill and leaving three dimensional polka dots on my window pane, I am grateful. However, it can become oh so easy for contentment to breed apathy, powerlessness, and serve as a deterrent to our motivation. It can be so easy in the name of contentment to find ourselves not wishing, hoping, striving for, or doing better.
I shared a few weeks back that I sought a fair and deserved job tile change and salary increase that human resources staunchly negated, reasoning that in comparison to others who do similar work in my company and even those who had been at the company longer, I was actually doing quite well and should be grateful. Well, I already knew I was doing quite well for myself hence the request. And why should I be grateful? If others chose not to value themselves and their work and seek the compensation that best reflects that, that’s really not my issue. Yet in comparing me to others my human resources office felt quite justified in pushing me to be content. Well I wasn’t.
|Photo courtesy of The Reform Project|
Even more recently trying the whole dating thing (as an aside I LOATHE dating in the greater Philadelphia area, LOATHE!!!!!!!!!!), I found myself comparing and a lot of the comparisons were “At least he doesn’t” or “Well he could be worse than…” I had to stop and remind myself if I was going down this road I was on the fast track to settling with some guy that was not really what I really wanted. I was going to take the rain when I wanted sunshine.
I could list several additional experiences where either myself or those with whom I am in relationship with whether it be personal, professional, or familial, wanted to use the strategy of comparing to make a situation seem better than it was and furthermore curb desire, want, hope, and exploration for the possibility of better. But I won’t.
What I will do however is suggest that it’s worth making a habit of resisting the temptation to compare and instead live an incomparable life. It’s worth not looking for that which is or could be perceived as worth to add to a false sense of joy and it’s worth not looking for that which is better or perceived as better to fuel self loathing and self defeating attitudes and actions. It’s worth staying focused on what you were purposed to do and need to be doing to create the abundant and full life you were meant to live. It’s worth knowing and believing that you are enough, have enough, and do enough compared to no one or nothing. It’s worth hoping that this isn’t it and what will come can be better, can be bright, yellow, radiant sunshine!
|Photo courtesy of style.mtv.com|
I realize you may read this and say that comparisons can be good and push us forward. Comparing where we were and where we want to go can get us stuck out of ruts. Comparing the healthiness of the relationship our best friend has with their boo can motivate us to leave the unhealthy relationship we have with our own. Comparing schools can help us choose the best one for our children, etc. I get it. I mean the job I have now was a result of my former supervisor comparing the level of support needed versus what was being offered and the negative impact of the gap between need and current practices. His comparison created my position and I am grateful. However, I think if we are honest, whether your had a best friend was in an awesome relationship or not, that doesn’t change the reality of your unhealthy relationship. The best school will still be the best school on it’s own merit with it’s own rates of graduation and literacy levels. The job I got didn’t negate the need.
When we create a habit of not comparing ourselves we leave room for things like joy, peace, serenity, and wholeness. We leave room for perspectives that much best reflect our lives and the persons we are and desire to become. We leave room for more gentleness, kindness, grace, and love as we work towards goals, overcoming challenges, failures, and mistakes. We leave room for our real selves, as we are, not as we are compared to out mothers, sisters, professors, neighbor’s pastors’ wives, supervisors, classmates, friends, etc. I am all about leaving room for Ahyana King.
My hope this week is that you will begin cultivating an incomparable life. That you will begin seeing yourself as the apple, and other things as the orange, strawberry, banana, kiwi, etc. My hope is that you will focus on you and all that makes you absolutely wonderful, courageous, creative, hilarious, worthy of love, and one of a kind. Yes, you are those things. So if you need to go back and read that sentence, go ahead. Be aware of the things that you want to work on, but not because it will make you better than, but because it will make you closer to who you desire to and were created to be. Here’s to an incomparable week…a week like no other! xxoo