Do you ever compare your insides to others’ outsides? For years I didn’t realize that was what I was doing. I learned what was causing it… For me, it was about not being spiritually centered. Anytime it happens, when it gets uncomfortable enough and I reflect, it always seems that is the reason.
The most recent example was my at 45 year class reunion. I posted a blog about it last week. Things were going along well until they started highlighting people that had accomplished incredible things professionally. As I looked back on my life, and with the help of my therapist this morning, I had some realizations that I thought were worth sharing.
When a sentence starts off with “I didn’t…” it portrays the negative. That sounds like a no-brainer, right? Until I started paying attention to what I am saying, I didn’t realize how often that is what comes out of my mouth. I had a similar experience with could, should, need to, ought to, etc., years ago. This is another version of the same behavior. The good news is that now I know what to do and can work on it
Society measures success by the things we own, do, and have accomplished. Careers, family, material possessions – you understand. I easily get sucked into that when I am not centered. I didn’t have children, own a business, have a successful marriage, etc. Years of 12 step recovery has taught me another way to measure success. I ask myself the following: Do I honor my truth on a daily basis? In other words: are what I think, say, feel, and do in alignment? Am I of service to others? At the end of each day, do I take an inventory of what I did, didn’t do, could have done better so I can improve myself tomorrow?
Part of this involves changing my perspective of what I have done. Getting off drugs is not easy. Staying in the rooms for 25 years, taking things that I used to use as excuses for who I was and using them as reasons for who I can become has not been easy. It is simple to blame myself for failed marriages. Taking myself out of violent and emotionally abusive relationships is an act of self-love, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
When I take time to re-frame my perspective, the view is quite different. As the end of my life gets closer and I reflect, will I feel good about the person I was? I’m not there, but I can’t believe it will be about the material things I owned or what I did professionally. It surely won’t be about comparing myself to who you are and what you have. For me, it will be more about deciding if I was the best Karen I could be. When I stay focused on that, there is no comparing.