Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Don't Compare Yourself To Other People. Just Don't.


I spend a lot of time online.  At this point I am very sedentary and sometimes am even too tired to paint.  I read a lot of books and magazines but I also read a lot online.  As with the books and magazines I am interested in a wide range of things from the frivolous to the deep.  Sometimes I just enjoy images.  The internet is great for that too.  I read a lot of blogs.  And that's where I can sometimes fall into a trap, the trap of comparing myself.

 It's easy to be impressed by people who clearly have a life outside of home.  Or the people who are mostly at home but doing amazing things there.  Some people appear to be living quite fabulous lives in exciting cities.  They get out and see stuff, people, places, shops, museums, markets, parks, places I cannot go.  Some people live in beautiful rural areas and their focus is on growing their own food and preserving it, sewing or knitting or restoring furniture while raising children and chickens.  Some people have exotic wardrobes, shoe collections, hats or hairstyles.  They travel to exciting places.  They go out and greet the world in their colourful plumage.  They take on the day in a way I never can.

 Some people envy me.  Perhaps they would not if they knew the truth,  you should never envy someone who lives with a debilitating chronic illness, but we are not seeing people clearly when we look through green lenses.  When I was teaching part time, I would be gathering up my things and going home at the lunch break and  colleagues would say to me, 'Oh you are so lucky.  I wish I could work part time.'  I just smiled and said, 'Yes it's great'.  They didn't know I was going home to go to bed.  They seemed to think I was going off skiing.  Someone once said to me, 'Oh you are one of those lifestyle people.'  What does that even mean?  Apparently what he meant was I was choosing lifestyle over work.  My lifestyle is not what these people imagined it to be, but then if that is true, so it could potentially be true of the way I view others.

When I am grocery shopping and the cashier says to me, 'Do you have today off?'  I say, 'Yes I do' out loud and in my head I add, 'I have every day off.'  She doesn't know that the grocery shopping is the biggest thing I will likely do that week, that mostly I will sleep.   I will read, spend some time online, write a lot more blog posts than anyone wants to read, get myself some food and if I have more energy I will paint.  She thinks she envies me, just like my colleagues who imagined I worked part time because I had plenty of money and wanted spare time for skiing.  Because we see people and we think we know what they are about, what they have, what they do and if they are happy.  And we imagine it is better than what we have.

The flip side of those brief moments when I envy someone else her life, is that I sometimes think to myself, wow my life is so fabulous I feel a bit guilty.  I can sleep whenever I want for as long as I want.  If I am awake all night with insomnia it doesn't matter.  I can just sleep later; there is nowhere I have to be.  I can eat whenever I want.  I can eat in bed.  I can read and drink tea all day.  I have plenty of time to write and paint.  I'm single, so although I don't have a lot of money I can pretty much spend it however I like.  I found the best apartment in the whole town last year and bought it.  I am so happy here I even love the parts of it I hate. Like that funky kitchen floor.   My wonderful son lives a couple of blocks away and my very dear parents one block more.  I have a life you could envy.

But don't compare yourself.  Just don't.

                                          ***************


Today's art comes at the price of not getting my dishes cleaned up. I often have to make the choice between cooking and dishes or art. I really need to teach Sophie to wash up. The mixed media poppies are kind of a work in progress which I had set aside and forgotten.  I made art journal pages, colourful and chaotic, inspired by spring flowers and rainy days.  And I started work on a water colour sea horse painting for my young nephew.  His mum wants sea life pictures to decorate his bathroom.


10 comments:

  1. Yes, it's easy to assess the grass as greener, but we never really know, do we? After all, blogs are an edited version of a life, most of us pick out the good bits to talk about and the decent photos to show. Which is fine, but it isn't the whole truth. Real life is far more complex than that. "Comparison is the thief of joy." Very true. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have always loved that thief of joy quote. The tragic suicide of L'Wren Scott is a good example and I didn't know about it when I wrote that post, but she is a perfect example of someone others would envy for her fabulous life and yet obviously she was suffering.

      Delete
  2. I totally feel you. It is so easy to think that people live these fabulous lives, but most of the things we see online are the happier things. There are times when people will do blog posts about sad things, or mediocre things, but most of the time it tends to be good. Also, there are people who make boring things seem more fun, because they are creative and happy with these little things in their life. For instance, outfit photos. You might not be doing anything super awesome that day, but hey, at least you look awesome! Good post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL-I was thinking this morning that there is no way I can be a fashion/style blogger because not only are my outfits not awesome enough, I don't have that many. I would be done blogging in about two months after showing all my clothes. Fortunately I never run out of things to say. ;-)

      Delete
  3. That is why what really matters is your inner life... Sharing outfits, personally to me, is only a point of connection - a potential connection with another beautiful, interesting, inspiring, kind soul... just like you are! When I look at the photographs you chose to post, read your texts, I feel with all the fibers of my soul that you live a beautiful life. I am not into "fabulous, glamorous". I don't care. Those are all "pretecking to be" (my daughter's expression when she was little). Masks. What I care is being genuine to yourself, living free, living without masks. We obviously cannot at this stage of our world be completely open with absolutely everyone. I tried just because that's how I am - open, sincere, naive. I was burned to ashes by people I trusted and loved. Not because they are bad people, I don't believe in that. But because they are not ready for this kind of connection, too many fears... I am not even sure if I will ever learn. I am just this hopeless naive idealistic dreamer... I too sometimes compare myself with others, I think we all do. But I love being me! I don't want to be anybody else. Nobody at all. At the same time, I absolutely enjoy admiring people - I just get a kick out of it. I love being in love! I get disappointed at times, but that's OK too. I envy people who are so bold and confident and super creative, and live like they have no fears. At the same time, I know exactly what it takes, and I know that there are people who see all this boldness in me. And I am just a little human girl, like my daughter said when she was 4... We are all those things - little human girls with fears, limitations, sorrows, and at the same we are these beautiful talented big souls. I see it in you very much. You are a big soul. And even the fact that you wrote this post so openly, so fearlessly, tells me that. With love, N

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that-pretecking to be! I am like you. I tend to be very open, a bit naive perhaps or maybe just that because I am so honest and open myself I think everyone will be. I've been burned too by people who had issues that really didn't have anything to do with me. I was just in the way.
      You say the most lovely things. I am so thrilled to have met you because we seem like kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables would say. <3

      Delete
  4. it's definitely an easy trap to fall in to. we try to keep it fairly real on our blog, but i'm also not going to post just how many hours of law & order i can watch in a night or what my room sometimes looks like during a hormonal week. what i'm saying is mostly people just post the good things. yet it's still easy to fall into the comparing trap!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your blog because it feels very real. Also because the two of you are so cute! Watch out-I think a post on what my life looks like when I am having a hormonal week is very likely to happen!! ;-)

      Delete
  5. I get caught in the fabulous lives of bloggers, way too often than I'd liked to :D All those vacations, nice jobs, big houses, fancy restaurants...And then there's me- home alone, nonexistent social life and no job :D Sometimes I feel like a complete outsider. But as you said, it's silly to compare yourself with others. Every life has its ups and downs, if you don't like your life, change it, if you like it, then be happy and shut up :D That's my attitude, most of the time, at least :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That attitude will work sometimes in some places for some people. We can't change everything about our lives, so we might be stuck with some things we don't like. We usually have control over our attitude, thoughts, reactions and responses and sometimes that is enough for positive change. You radiate a really lovely energy. I suspect people like to be around you. I don't know your situation but could you possible do a little bit of volunteer work? It would get you out and around people and might even open a door to a job. Helping others or contributing to society in some way is often a very powerful thing for our own emotional well being and it seems to me that you could bring sunshine into the lives of others just by being yourself.

      Delete

I love visitors and I love comments. I will try my best to respond to everyone! Thanks for stopping by.