Monday, December 5, 2011

Distracted by Comparison

Compare yourself to you becoming your best self

We all get distracted. Sometimes, a colorful bird will fly on to my window feeder and I will forget what I am doing. But sometimes, my distractions are planned like yesterday when I was watching an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras. My 18 year old daughter, Fatima came into my room and said “What are you doing? You don’t even watch TV but you’ve found the worst thing on it.” I sheepishly admitted that it made me feel like I wasn’t such a bad mother. She laughed and hugged me. “Someone needs some loving.” She said laughing. “Turn off the TV and I’ll tell you all about my day and you can act like you’re my mom.” She said.

Now I should tell you, that my daughter Fatima makes me laugh so hard that I actually snort. When I turned 50, she had all of her classmates sign a birthday card with “old people” jokes and remarks. Inside of the card was her handmade coupon for a hover round. I was glad when she pulled me away from what some would call a “guilty pleasure.”

We often distract ourselves with things and people that we think will somehow make us feel better about ourselves. I was using Toddler’s and Tiara’s to feel less guilty about traveling so much for work, while raising my 5 adopted children. Now, the fact that I have guilt about going to work to make a living for my children is ridiculous, but I don’t know any mother who does not feel this same guilt. As a matter of fact, when I talk to my friends who work in the home, (because all women work) they feel the exact same way.

Still we seek out things to compare ourselves to which we define as “way worse” than we are so we can feel better about ourselves.

Why not find those things that would in fact make us better? Why not take a course, learn a language, volunteer and give of our time and talent?

When we compare ourselves to others to feel better (“I’m fat, but she’s much fatter,”) we will only make ourselves feel worse. Ultimately, the short lived comparison high wares off and we are faced with a self that feels worse off than we were before we started the comparison. Why? Because what we do to others we do to ourselves. Right after you laugh or put down the person who is fatter than you, you see someone smaller and then you feel bad all over again.

Our culture is great at the distraction game. Distracting “news” items are in your face almost everywhere you go; the bank, a restaurant and even the doctor’s office.  At every turn there is a reality show, one more outlandish than the next. When we get lost in these deliberate distractions, we give up the time and energy that we need to truly better ourselves.

·         What distraction do you indulge in?

·         How much time do you give the distraction?

·         What could you do instead? (Make a list of other things you’d like to learn or do.)

·         How do you compare yourself to others?

·         What is at the core of this comparison? (In other words how do you really feel about yourself?)

·         Forgive and let go of the negativity you hold and replace it with the truth.

We all need to take time to just do nothing, but when we fill our nothing time with things that are detrimental to our pyscho-social self, we are causing harm to our well-being. Fill your life and time with as much reality as possible, make it your own.

Be more you, more often.

Bertice Berry PhD

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