Welcome to Following the Whispers blog
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.
“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf
“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Telling the truth Tuesday - Comparison is an act of vengeance against yourself
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to look different. I had dark, curly hair and freckles while the Beach Boys were singing about blonde surfer gurls. I'm only 5'3 1/2" tall and wanted to be at least 5' 7".
If my hair was long, I'd see a girl with short hair and want that, or vice versa.
I've written about this subject extensively, including an essay (never published) called "I'll Never Be Miss America," and one essay called "Old Lady Arms," which was published (you can read this one in the articles/esssay tab on this blog). But despite the awareness and acceptance of this character trait (a much nicer word than flaw, don't you think?), I still have moments when I envy another woman for her appearance. It's not about wanting to look younger. At least I don't think it is. The funny thing is, the women I tend to envy take a great deal of care with their appearance. They put product on their hair, blow dry it, put more product on. They wear makeup. They spend tons of money on clothes. These are things I haven't been willing to make myself do. I only wear makeup if I'm going somewhere special or performing. I almost never blow dry my hair--it's naturally curly and I just fluff with my fingers and I'm done. And spending a fortune on one outfit. That just seems ridiculous to me.
When I used to attend 12-step meetings (I am not an alcoholic or addict, but I knew plenty), the slogans helped me navigate my way in the world in a much healthier way than I'd learned growing up. Sayings like: one day at a time, keep the focus on yourself, and be gentle with yourself, gave me moments of serenity. But the one slogan that speaks volumes to me now is: comparison is an act of vengeance against yourself.
Think about it. If you are comparing yourself to others and falling short, in your own opinion, than you are saying you are less than someone else. If, on the other hand, you compare yourself favorably to someone else, you are saying you are more or better than someone else. Either way, you are judging them or you.
I have done a lot over the years change my insides. A few years ago, I took steps to change the outside. I am maintaining a 49-pound weight loss. I wear clothing that shows my slimmer figure and I feel good about how I look (most of the time), even if I don't do anything to enhance it. I stopped dyeing my hair - it's now white. So why do I still torture myself with negative comparisons?
The good news is I don't stay in that place very long. I notice it immediately and am learning to laugh at myself. But I would like to get to the point where I no longer even go there. Where I can look at another woman and say, "Isn't she beautiful?" and not wish I was her.
Bottom line: I don't really want to be anyone else anymore. Being me is just fine. It's just these little momentary lapses, slipping back into old thought patterns. What about you?
Your turn. Fess up. Are you ever jealous? How do you deal with it?