“Comparison is an act of violence against yourself.” ~Iyanla Vanzant
Well, here’s me writing another post I need to hear. It goes hand-in-hand with a post I did on why I stopped looking at the numbers.
Show of hands: How many people have ever compared themselves to someone else and come up lacking? If you answered yes:
HOW’D THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
- Bottom line: it probably didn’t make you feel good.
HERE’S HOW IT MADE ME FEEL:
- I’m not enough as I am.
- I should just give up.
- Life is a competition instead of a collaboration.
- Life is less about the journey & more about the end result.
- It fueled perfectionism (& that’s a whole other blog post).
- It paralyzed me & stopped me from moving forward.
Here’s the truth: there’s most likely, at some point in your life, going to be someone prettier, richer, smarter, more successful, more popular, and/or someone with better stats that you. And even if you’re the very best there is in the world at what you do, at some point, someone will knock you out of the #1 spot.
The trick is how to be content where you are with exactly what you have. So how do you do that? Gratitude helps. So does recognizing all the things you have to offer. And keeping busy, working toward your own goals, does too.
HERE’S A SIMPLE SUGGESTION THAT HELPED ME:
- Write a daily gratitude list.
- Write a daily list of things you do well.
- Keep it handy when you start comparing.
AND HERE’S ANOTHER (courtesy of my first grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson):
Keep your eyes on your own paper.
What that means to me:
- Do your own work & be your own self.
- Keep the focus on what you need to do to move forward in your own life.
- DO at least one thing every day that moves you toward the life you want.
- Believe that you will achieve your goal.
There’s enough violence in the world; don’t add to it by inflicting it on yourself.
So have you caught yourself comparing your life with someone else’s? If so, what did you do to stop yourself? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.
“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford
So this post goes along with one I wrote on doing versus trying. I’ll do my best not to make this a snooze because there’s some science. I think it’s incredibly important, though ~ it changed the way I approach my life ~ which is why I’m writing about it.
A few years back, I was lucky enough to hear a neurologist speak. She’d been studying the brain for 30+ years and talked about the importance of words and how the language you use and the thoughts you have can impact the actions you take and the success you have in your life.
One thing she discussed was belief: in yourself, in your dreams, in your gifts and talents, in the future you want to have. According to my layman’s understanding, believing you can do a thing actually creates a biochemical reaction in the brain. It’s both a chemical and an electrical reaction at the cellular level. That reaction drives the mental processes that actually create behavior and motivation.
WHY THIS MATTERS
All that to say: if you believe you can do something, you are physiologically changing the odds greatly in your favor that you’ll accomplish your goal. The reverse is also true: if you believe you can’t, you’re creating negative chemical changes in your brain that will hinder you.
It’s a matter, she argued, of controlling your thought life. You, and only you, have the ability to accept or reject your thoughts. She went on to say that you must pay attention to what thoughts you’re letting take root because whatever they are ~ believe or don’t believe, positive or negative ~ they’re going to grow.
AND THE POINT IS . . .
So, the next time you catch yourself thinking or telling yourself that you can’t do something, you don’t believe you have it in you, you won’t be able to achieve that, make a conscious choice to reject those thoughts/words. Replace them with thoughts & words that build up your belief in yourself instead.
Do you think it matters if you believe? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.
“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” ~ Mohandas Gandhi
So in last week’s post about stepping out in faith (find it here), I told you about how I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was five years old. Here’s my earliest memory of writing: crafting a story in the first grade & having it be selected by the teacher to be read to the Kindergarten class. I don’t even remember what it was about. But I do remember thinking that writing stories was all I wanted to do. I also told you how I wasn’t doing it. What I didn’t touch on was how it made me feel. All those years when I wasn’t doing what I knew I was supposed to be doing I felt off, not at home inside myself, basically living a lie.
I started having health problems. I had knots in the muscles of my back. I had stomach cramps that medication wouldn’t make go away. I had chest pains that no testing could explain. I never equated what was going on with my body to what was going on in my mind ~ the battle between what I wanted to do versus what I told myself was the sensible thing that I should do. Odd, yes, that it never occurred to me but true. As if somehow my body & mind weren’t connected. When I finally quit my full-time job & took off after my dream, those health problems faded away.
I’m here to tell you that living out of alignment with your beliefs can be detrimental to you not only mentally but physically, too. I’ve been a licensed massage therapist for over a decade. I started doing it because it was a job that had flexible hours & had nothing to do with writing (since I found that writing professionally all day made me less eager ~ read: it felt like work ~ to write fiction in my free time). I stayed with massage, though, because I enjoyed helping people.
YOUR BODY KNOWS THE TRUTH
What I’ve learned after working on hundreds of clients over the years is that people hold emotions in their bodies. They’d say: “I’m fine, really.” But then I’d work on them and find huge knotted muscles and fibrous bands and tender points that made them wince with the slightest pressure. Why? Because they really weren’t fine. Look, your body doesn’t lie. That bears repeating: Your. Body. Doesn’t. Lie. So you should listen to it.
Here’s an eye-opening book I came across that hits that point home: Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss. In it, she talks about how every single thing in your life ~ what’s going on around you, the choices you make, the relationships you have, all your beliefs, every attitude and opinion you have ~ impacts your physiology. I know this probably sounds like New Age, crazy stuff. I used to think that, too. And then I saw my own health change as a result of finally choosing to do what I wanted.
SO WHY AM I TELLING YOU ALL THIS?
Because I believe if you’re not pursuing your dream in some way, if you believe in something and you’re not living it, if you’re hiding your gifts & talents, if you’re making excuses because you’re afraid, eventually that’s going to catch up with you. Maybe not this week or even this year, but at some point down the road it will. If your body is trying to tell you something ~ get out of this job, go take a class, write that poem, paint that picture ~ you should listen to it. That bears repeating: You. Should. Listen. To. It. Your body, more than your mind, will tell you if you’re living what you believe.
So do you live what you believe? If not, why not? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.
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