It’s very easy to compare our insides with other’s outsides. This means to evaluate how we feel inside with swirls of insecurity, shame or fear overwhelming our inner dwelling while looking at others. Seeing them and the way they look, behave, and the stream of details we know about them building into a story about their life. We seem to always come out on the short end of the stick when we do this.
This process seems to happen very quickly and much of the time without acknowledgment. As we live inside our own skin, we experience our version of beliefs about the world, perceptions of ourselves and feelings about who we are. Then we look at others around us and compare. It’s easy to give others a grand story, concluding they have it easier with more money, support or better looks. Then it’s happened. You have become lesser than in a matter of moments.
The funny thing is that we all do this. So the person you are thinking has it so much better is most likely thinking the same of you. We don’t walk around with a sign depicting our difficulties in life. We go out into the world and interact with one another doing the best we can in the moment regardless of our woes. Some of us are better at it than others, but the point is, what is being seen on the outside is not the whole story.
We all have stuff we deal with in life. Each and every one of us has some sort of plight in life. It’s not fair to compare your struggles with your perceptions of another’s. What seems insignificant to you about another’s difficulties may be crippling to them and vise versa. When we experience fear for example, it manifests in very different forms depending on the individual. But it’s still fear.
Everyone has junk, old baggage, childhood wounds, a recent loss, insecurities or a current problem that has yet to be resolved. We are all fighting the good fight and we are all more alike than we are different. Resist the urge to compare and instead acknowledge and validate how you are feeling. Give yourself what you need in the moment and maybe even give a smile to someone you see. They may really need it today.
Bridgette DeBoer M.A., is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, marriage and family therapist. She can be reached at 450-6632.