Written by Sinead
“Life happens when you’re busy making other plans”
I’ve just listened to the “Calling it Out” episode on comparing and it brought up a lot of stuff which I felt like writing down.
Firstly, I noticed how different my reactions are to when I first listened. I remember in the March lockdown having a crazy recovery schedule filled with trying hard and ‘this is my podcast time’ and pressure to get all the learnings into my head. This time there was a kind of different lightness, whenever anything was mentioned that I related to my reaction wasn’t ‘there’s something else I need to work on’ it was more like ‘thank god I’m not alone with this feeling what can I do about it now’ and I felt much less judgement for myself, more compassion.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t compare myself to others. I’ve realized that my values were always very achievement based. I remember in primary school being a super high achiever and been faintly aware of having myself on a higher level than everyone else. I remember feeling guilty and making up for that by putting more pressure on myself. Then it completely switched when I got to secondary school. Suddenly I was automatically below everyone else in my mind and completely disconnected. Looking back on it I think my values and self-esteem were so based on outside factors that everything was just a bit rocky.
In secondary school I’ve noticed a kind of evolution of comparing. At first I thought everyone else belonged somewhere and I just didn’t, but looking back on it I was just making it so much harder for myself by imagining this divide that never existed and living it into existence through my fears. Looking back on younger me I feel so much compassion and if I could go back to first year I would tell her that feeling scared at new starts is scary of course but everyone is human and no-one is judging or counting mistakes! In fact my obsession with saying or doing the ‘right’ thing was just exhausting, everything I did was based off other people’s reactions and if someone didn’t react like I expected it just crushed me. The learning I’ll take from that is to value my own self and what something means for me. My energy is my energy, what I say or do actually doesn’t need to be thought about, if I just accept my own skin and live in it my energy will project itself as I am. I am and always was enough.
Even through recovery and becoming more aware of everything condition actually used recovery as another excuse for a divide and why I was different to everyone else. Now I’ve realized I’m not and there is no point waiting for full freedom to drop comparing I can just drop it now. Comparing is sneaky and will adapt. At first I thought I had no friends and that was the divide. Then I had friends who I love and feel at ease with but even then sometimes it would creep back in with the ‘you’re different, you’re not as close to them as you think.’ Now I know this is just a story and it’s time to let go.
For me, acceptance is key to letting go. On the podcast it was mentioned at the end that you know you’ve let go of comparing when you allow yourself to share in others’ joy. This was always a big one for me. Even if I was great friends with someone, if I saw them being friends with anyone else it was ‘oh they’re better friends then we are’ and suddenly I’d be on the outside again wallowing in self-pity and story telling. When I detangle myself from my complicated thinking and ask myself what would I like to think about this, my answer is something like: applying this to everything, people, art and friendship are all completely unique with their own energy. There is space in the world for all forms of them to connect. There is something there for everybody, when I let go of comparing I’ll find my place in the present. Happiness is something to be shared and I trust I’ll find mine, I already have in so many ways.
There was never a divide. When I let go of judgement the story will slowly melt and I’ll be left with myself and what was always ok from the start.
And no giving out that it took me so long to finally see this clearly, I’m grateful that I do now and I’m excited to carry my realizations off the page and into my living.