I don’t know if it’s a “girl” thing or what, but if my memory serves me right, I started out life comparing myself with the girls around me.
I couldn’t have been more than 5 when I noticed that when we colored at our babysitter’s house, my little sister Chelsea and I picked different pictures to color.
Chelsea always chose the pictures with lots of details…she was a better colorer than I was, so she could color pictures with complicated Barbies and still stay in the lines…
I never chose the complicated pictures. I always chose to color other kinds of pictures…ones with big spaces that made it easy for me to keep the crayon between the lines.
It sounds silly now, but I always felt bad about my coloring skills because of that. I guess I felt like if she was better at coloring than me, it somehow made ME inferior.
The next thing I remember was maybe a year later…
It was my birthday, and we went to pick up my friend, Tamara Jenkins, for a sleepover. My birthday is in the summer, so we were both wearing shorts and the car must have been full of other stuff or people because Tamara and I shared the front seat. I remember looking at her legs squished against my legs and seeing that her legs were smaller than mine…so I flexed my legs all the way from her house to my house to make them look closer to the same size.
Then I remember when I was 8…
My friends and I were waiting outside our 3rd grade classroom for school to start. One of our friends had just gotten her ears pierced, and the rest of us had to chime in and show how cool we were, which we proved by how early in life we’d had our ears pierced. I led the group in coolness, since I’d had mine pierced on my 6th birthday – 2 entire years earlier. I was feeling pretty awesome with all of my pierced-ear experience and wisdom, when Lindsay Fisher walked up and got in line. She figured out what we were talking about and promptly shared that she’d had her ears pierced when she was a newborn. My pride deflated as she took my place on the cool list.
Looking back, those things all seem ridiculous…I mean how much does it really matter that Chelsea and I picked different kinds of pictures to color or that Tamara Jenkins’ legs were 1 millimeter smaller than mine or that I got my ears pierced 6 years later than Lindsay Fisher? The things is that while I’ve stopped asking people when they got their ears pierced, I haven’t stopped comparing myself…and more importantly letting myself feel inferior when someone seems to be better than me at this or that.
…and you do it a little too, don’t you? I’m not the only one who finds myself saying things like…..
“I wish I were….” ”I should be….” ”I could be….” ”I am definitely NOT…”
…artistic like Melody.
….musical like Kathy.
……organized like Kim.
…outgoing like Betsy.
…interested in healthy living like Malary.
…unfailingly kind and soft-spoken like Jen.
…enthusiastic like Hilarie
…thoughtful like Lynda.
…brave like Christy.
…good at throwing parties like Chelsea.
I’m sure you and I are a lot alike…the women around us are incredibly talented…they are kind and loving and seem to be wonderful at everything they do. And what I’m almost embarrassed to say is that I’m only just realizing that their awesomeness doesn’t take away from mine….Instead it adds to mine…if I let it. Same goes for you.
See….instead of coloring detailed pictures, now Chelsea cooks. She makes the most delicious and beautiful food. And until I realized otherwise, in the very back of my mind I felt like I should enjoy it as much as she does. Thing is, I don’t enjoy it. I cook because people in my family have to eat…she cooks because she has a real passion for it…that probably has something to do with the reason she is so good at.
We all have something, don’t we? Someone’s always better than us at SOMETHING, and for some reason in the back of our minds instead of just LETTING that person be better, we believe that if they’re better, we’re somehow worse. But that’s not the truth…think about it….what would there be to appreciate and admire and aspire to if we could all do the same things? Sometimes though, we let the goodness in other people make us forget about the goodness in ourselves.
We could let HER (you know who she is…the one we want to be more like) and HER talents make us feel guilty…and make us feel down on ourselves and make us forget all the things we’re good at. But I think I figured out a better way.
Instead of feeling guilty and letting ourselves believe that somehow goodness in others equals badness in us and that success for someone else means failure for us, what if instead, we let everyone around us be as good as they can be, and then after that let’s be HAPPY for them, which in turn makes US happy!
I’ve decided that instead of feeling that weird feeling (you know the one, right…that guilty-ish, bad feeling….I can’t figure out where it comes from). Instead of THAT feeling, I want to feel HAPPY for the people who are close to me. And when I show up at a potluck with a bag of chips and my sister shows up to the same potluck with something I’d pay a lot of money to eat at a restaurant, I’m not going to feel bad about my bag of chips…because I DON’T EVEN LIKE COOKING!!! hahaha…
I’ll tell you what I’m going to do…..I’m going to be HAPPY for Malary because she is so good at taking care of her body by eating right and exercising, which is something I haven’t 100% figured out yet. And I’m going to be okay with that. I’m going to be HAPPY for Kathy because she is so good at everything musical, which I’d REALLY like to be…and I think I could be, but she’s put in the time and the hours and she’s earned it. I’m going to be HAPPY for Maria and Jen for being loyal and true and good to the very tips of their souls, and meanwhile keep working hard to be more like them.
I am going to be HAPPY for every single person in my life who is better than me at something and HAPPY for myself because there are things that I’m good at too. I can only think of one thing that would make this whole experience better, and that is if YOU would come along with me. Will you?? What are some of the things you are ready to be happy about instead of feeling guilty about?! I bet you didn’t even realize those things were making you feel that weird feeling, but now that you have and you can teach that weird feeling the TRUTH, all kinds of JOY are in store for you!!!!!