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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's all we can do

One thing that I have learned in my almost 35 years on earth is that there is a real danger in comparing yourself to others. If you get caught up on who’s skinnier, has more money, has the same amount of money for doing less work, and so on, you can really harm yourself and damage personal and professional relationships.

I just don’t do it. I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s productive, and I avoid that type of thinking like it’s the plague.

However, when it’s all around you, it’s hard to not let it drag you in. I have a co-worker who constantly compares herself to others and worries about what they have versus what she has, etc. I don’t even know how much vacation time I have, so I surely don’t worry about who else has vacation time or how or when they are using it. The only time I care is if someone is about to embark on an adventure and I need something before they go. Otherwise, it’s not my business.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time or perhaps have known me for a while know that learning how to mind your own business and not worry about what others have or what they are doing has been a very painful lesson for me to learn. It’s something that’s made me stronger and smarter and a lesson I think everyone probably learns with age, so I’m glad I learned it sooner than later, I guess. It still took a lot of tears and self-loathing to get to a point in my life where I realized that the only person I can control is myself, and no one else really matters on that journey.

Comparing myself to others and never stacking up probably didn’t help me with the disordered eating that plagued me in the past. And still, our society wants you to compare yourself to others when it comes to weight and physical appearance, and that’s frightening. So many people are engaging in unhealthy activities because they want to look like the unrealistic, airbrushed beauties they see in magazines. I think dating is frustrating to me because guys seem to be totally caught up in these unrealistic images.

I just don’t want to go back there and engage in that kind of thinking. I know how much money I make, I know how much work I do. If I looked it up, I would know how much vacation time I have. I just want to come to work and do my job and not worry about my coworkers. I don’t want to get eaten up with worry about who makes more and who went to the doctor without getting docked from their sick time. Frankly, I’m way too busy to let that eat me up for half the day.

And, as far as looks, I’m not 12. I don’t need to compare myself to others like I’m in junior high. Yeah, there are a lot of people out there thinner than me. But, try as I might, I’m not ever going to be rail thin or a size 2. My body just isn’t made that way. And you know what? For a lot of people, they're just airbrushed to look that way. And, as a friend once said, never underestimate the power of Spanx. However, I did realize yesterday that it’s a tad bit hypocritical for someone who is not a healthy weight (although somehow, I pass my yearly physicals with flying colors) to work in the health care industry. I do need to set an example, so I am going to have to lose some weight.

But that’s not me comparing myself to others. That’s me working hard to be the best that I can professionally and personally.

After all, that’s all we can really do.

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