Sometimes I just want to slap myself. Life is going along just fine and then I bump into somebody who I believe is light years ahead of where I had hoped I would be at this age and I am immediately knocked down a peg….or two. When this happens I can easily go from Happy-go-lucky-Heather to brooding girl in the blink of an eye.
As I am stumbling along on this new journey of mine and working towards a place of unwavering self-acceptance I need to teach myself how to be proud of myself for all the accomplishments up to this point. I need to remind myself that the woman sitting next to me, the one I think is so successful has her own story and I have no idea what it took for her to get here. Perhaps she was living in a cardboard box until one day she found a twenty dollar bill on the ground, treated herself to a scratch and win lottery ticket and won the big prize. Or maybe her dream meant so much to her that she ate nothing but Alpo and Ramen noodles for months while she saved every dollar just so she could get her plans into motion. It could be that she is just like me….that she too passes a woman on the street and suddenly can’t help but think that she has fallen behind in her own plans.
At the end of the day, we are all our own worst enemies. Instead of being happy with where we’ve been, we choose to see ourselves as late in the game. We focus on what has NOT happened instead of basking in the warm glow of just how much we’ve actually accomplished.
The older I get, the more I understand that it’s really a personal mind game and the one who wins, the one who gets to be happy is the woman who can choose to see it all from a glass half full place. She is the woman who understands that each of us is here to walk our own path at our own pace. When it comes right down to it there is no set syllabus that tells us where we need to be at some certain stage of our lives. So why bother spending another moment believing we are falling short when the only measuring stick is the one we are needlessly carrying.
We burden ourselves with so much negative self-talk that we leave no room for all the good news. You’re divorced by the age of thirty? So what. You’ve changed careers 26 times in the last four years? Big deal. Your bank account isn’t as fat as your next door neighbor? Why does it matter? And yet, for most of us it does, and this constant comparing ourselves to others has the ability to hold us down and keep us believing that we aren’t quite there yet, that we’re missing something…but what if it’s just not true?
When I was in my early twenties and just starting out my career in the fashion industry my father gave me what I now understand to be among some of the worst advice I had ever heard. He said, “ if you want to be successful, pick someone who is more successful than you are and do everything you can to be better than them.” That little tidbit of wisdom did nothing more than prompt me to spend years comparing myself to every woman I ever met. It lead me to feel awful about myself and made me incredibly competitive. I know my dad didn’t mean it that way, I know that he was, in his own way telling me to reach higher, but his hidden wisdom backfired. Today I understand that what he probably SHOULD have said was “just get out there, be proud of yourself and do your best.” Period, end of story.
When all is said and done, after you’ve spent years of your life comparing yourself to everyone around you, one thing is certain….at the end of the day you’ll have denied yourself the gift of seeing just how far you’ve actually come. Throughout the course of your life you will have moved SO many boulders and mountains out of your way to get here. You will have overcome obstacles that most would have run away from and yet, look at you….YOU ARE STILL STANDING Beautiful, successful YOU have walked a long and winding road just to be able to get to THIS place and you’re still not letting yourself be just a tiny bit proud? Maybe it’s not where you had hoped you would be, and if that’s the case, it’s okay; just get on some comfy shoes and keep walking. But today…. Today what matters in THIS moment is that you’re here and you have so much to be proud of, I promise you that you do!!!
Look around you lovely friend and let yourself just this once drink in a little of your own sunshine! Give yourself permission to exhale for a few minutes and offer yourself a gentle pat on the back…you deserve it….I promise you it’s true! Do not waste one more moment toiling over the rest of the journey or wrong turns you made along the way (sometimes the most exciting part of the trip is the wrong turns because you wind up stumbling on the most fantastic adventures). You’re still in it….still moving forward, and that’s what matters most! Imagine how very bored we would all be if we magically woke up one day and POOF…everything was perfect. What would we have to work towards? What would push us to keep trying? Given the choice, I choose the obstacles, the stress, the having to push and push until I feel like I can’t take one more step….because somehow I do, I leap forward and I keep going and so can you!
Take heart lovely friend….you don’t need to spend one more moment comparing yourself to another soul… Your journey belongs exclusively to you, so stop every once in a while to enjoy the scenery and quit spending so much time on what is NOT there…. You are this beautiful, always evolving, forever changing and perfectly flawed woman and no matter where you right this moment, I promise you that you are exactly where you need to be.
Wishing you the clear ability to see the beauty of just one tree today instead of comparing them to every other shrub in the forest!