Shortly after my post-chemo hair started growing back (and I was finally comfortable going scarf-less), I attended a party and had an interesting, perspective building dialogue with a woman:
“I love your hair,” she said.
“Thank you,” I said. What a RELIEF, I thought.
“No, I REALLY love your hair.”
Wow, this is seriously making my night, I thought.
“I just wish that I could wear my hair short,” she said.
“You can,” I told her.
“No, I couldn’t possibly. Not a chance in h***. The grass is ALWAYS greener.”
Well, well, well. After laughing out loud and nearly spitting out my water, in as polite a way as I possibly could (ohhhh was it ever hard!), I said that in fact the grass ISN’T always greener and proceeded to tell her that my hair was as short as it was because it was growing back from chemo. Her eyes nearly popped right out of her head.
This interaction really got me thinking about our culture’s marked propensity toward making comparisons between one another. If you ask me, making comparisons is a slippery slope that leads to yuckiness. Nothing – literally nothing – good can come from comparing yourself to someone else.
The truth is that there are always going to be people who have more and/or less than you do, from health to a bank account. Where you fall on this trajectory has nothing – absolutely nothing! – to do with whom you are as a person. It is such a better use of energy to look at your own strengths and to see your true value.
I know many people who are in the habit of making comparisons. I always wonder what triggers the need for people to compare themselves to others. An awareness of this sure does help stop the viscous, unproductive cycle. Here are my gentle suggestions for breaking these habits:
- Become attentive to these comparison tendencies and then stop yourself.
- Focus on your grass. Water it. Nurture it. Enjoy it.
- Focus on what you DO have, not what you don’t have, from your health to your relationships.
- Focus on the Silver Linings in your life. They are there. Pinky promise!