I can’t tell you how often it is that I believe that I have finally learned the deepest lessons of my life, and that they will no longer come back around and hit me in the back of the head. But, life as a human doesn’t quite work that way. We learn, we put it into practice, we get back into the routine of our lives, and then, we become complacent and forget for awhile. Then, we feel surprised when we have to learn the lesson yet again.
I don’t give myself a hard time about this anymore, but I am always surprised when certain life lessons reemerge. Today, the lesson that was taunting me yet again was my insistence on comparing myself to other people. Now, this is an old, familiar tune for me. I have done it my whole life around my body, actively comparing myself to other women, and sometimes men, in terms of how much larger, or smaller, their bodies are from mine. I have done it with knowledge, how much smarter someone seems to be than I am. And today, I was comparing myself to other women in the country that offer hugs to strangers in their corner of the universe.
At first glance, I think, that is amazing; their are other like minded people in the world who are doing what it is that has brought me fulfillment and connection, and they are sharing their light and love in the world. What could be wrong with that? Then, my insecurity kicks in, because one of the women is a writer whose books have been on the New York Times bestseller list; she has a podcast with hundreds of listeners and amazing guests (like Brene’ Brown). The other woman I just encountered on social media this week, and when she posts about her hugging events, dozens of people comment and hundreds of persons like her posts. In an instant, I feel inadequate and small.
After comforting my bruised ego and remembering the reason that I do what I do with free hugs, I feel a bit better. But, then I remember why learning this lesson again is so important, and why it is essential for me to pay attention to it every time that it comes up. When I compare myself to others, the initial thought and feeling process that comes from it is “I am not enough”. Of course, I know most of the time that is the farthest thing from the truth, and that I am always doing my best. But, when I am actively comparing who I am in the world to who someone else is, beyond being a terrible comparison due to our own individual, unique qualities; when I compare myself to someone, I simply have to criticize, put down, or find fault or cast judgment or either myself, or on them. And, the judgment is usually pretty harsh.
Gratefully, I catch this pretty quickly when I am going down the rabbit hole of self loathing. And, I have also gotten pretty savvy at forgiving myself for going there in my mind and my heart. But, it can be a dangerous reminder of what I need to keep doing; that I need to keep shining my own light; being my self; letting others do the same. I need to keep loving, growing, evolving, waking up, dreaming, and being as big as I care to be in this world. And, celebrate and join hands with other beautiful humans who are doing the same thing.
I don’t have to learn all of the lessons overnight; and many of them have to be repeated pretty regularly for me to let them sink in. But, I am so grateful that I see the opportunity in them, each time, and how much closer they keep bringing me to truly loving myself.