I have a secret. I have an addiction. The fact is I compare myself to others. And I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. The sad thing is my comparisons rarely result in me feeling better off – rather with what I suppose is my somewhat pessimistic approach to life, I always seem to feel worse.
I’ve wanted to voice this affliction for a long time. Truth is I fear that you’ll all shoot me down in flames and tell me to get over myself. “There are people far worse off than you and you have no right to complain” you’ll say and of course you’d be correct.
But I do wonder if anyone else feels like I do. Do you?
Do you sometimes come home after being shown through a mum friend’s freshly renovated house and feel a little flat? Do you listen to another mum talking about their 3rd holiday for the year and feel a little disillusioned? Or do you have fleeting moments where you compare husbands, jobs, kids or even bodies?
I wouldn’t say it’s outright jealousy – just a faint touch of whimsical wishing that it was you instead of them.
I do however take heart in the fact that I don’t want to take it away from them or wish them anything but luck, love and a happy future. Thank goodness I’m not at bunny boiling stage yet but my automatic reaction is to compare and it never feels good.
A recent blog post announced that most of us need to ‘harden the f**k up’ and get on with life. Apparently we’re all becoming a nation of “wussbags and princesses”. The context was that we all feel we need to be entertained, fed and watered … all the time. The author encouraged us to tell our kids to cope with a 10 minute drive to the shops without a DVD, an iPod or a muesli bar and challenged us to do the same in our own lives. On every level, I applaud her frankness and agree with her sentiment.
So I guess while the context is different, I could take that advice. I should stop comparing, harden up and realise that my life is actually full of wonderfulness and that I’m actually quite lucky.
In the meantime though, I wonder if there are strategies I should employ in the name of self-preservation?
Perhaps I should:
- limit my visits to the ‘married for 15 years can’t keep their hands off each other’ couple
- limit my exposure to the kids who have been chosen for selective school and travel the world on sporting scholarships in the school holidays
- and change the subject when our friends who treat a week at the snow as a standard rather than an extraordinary treat bang on about it for the fifth time this month!