Cardinal Rule Number Five

From Wednesday’s post “7 Cardinal Rules for Life”, today I’ll take a look at how Cardinal Rule Number 5 impacts me, and what I’m trying to do about it. To review, here is #5:
“Don’t compare your life to others, and don’t judge them; you have no idea what their journey is all about.”
These days, with the constant onslaught of images, pins, tweets, texts, selfies, FB posts, and fitspo postings, it can be difficult not to fall into the trap of comparing our lives to everyone else in the world. And this can be a slippery slope. Back in my day (shakes cane in readers’ general direction) we could pretty much only compare ourselves to those in our town, and a few people who we would see on the cover of magazines at the checkout counter. Mind you, there weren’t 15 gazillion magazines then, either. Likely Time, Newsweek, People, and a few others. But I digress.
Sometimes I look at the images in my streams and think, “wow. nice legs. I want mine to look like that!.” Then I scroll up and see that IT’S A FEMALE, BABY, YEA….no, seriously. I’ve done that. Same with arms. Yea, even though I consider myself to be in pretty decent shape, I compare my self image to images of other selves that are totally unrealistic. In a way, I suppose, that’s OK, but it is when I begin to JUDGE myself against those images that I run into trouble.
In my youth (stomps cane onto floor), I lived in a small town in central Vermont. There were several families in town who were more fortunate than we were, and I’d often compare myself to them. It must have been tough for my parents to hear things like, “Why can’t I have Izod shirts like Timmy?” or “This year for soccer I NEED new Adidas cleats, not ones from K-Mart. Don’t you want me to play better?” THESE DAYS, however, we parents can see images of kids from ALL OVER THE WORLD and what they are wearing and using and that our kids MUST HAVE otherwise we might be seen (read: judged) as bad parents. “Wow. Look at Suzy. Isn’t she wearing her brother’s cleats from last year? Why don’t her parents want her to have new things?” Little do those judging know that Suzy is wearing those cleats because her brother moved away this summer and wearing them makes her feel close to him in his absence.
I see people my age driving around in new cars that I could never afford and sometimes think, “wow, that’s a great car. what am i doing wrong in my life that I can’t afford that, too? I must really suck because I’m driving around in this POS truck. People must think I’m such a loser.”

Cardinal Rule Number Five
Countach. As a teen, THIS was my dream car.

WHO THE EFF CARES? Suppose that maybe this dude in the nice car has a nice car because he’d been saving money to put a child through school, but then found out that he can’t have children, or never was able to start a family? I wake up every day with the joys (and yes, sometimes sorrows!) that having kids brings. Even on the toughest days, I would NEVER trade it in for a fancy car.

The point I’m trying to share with you about Cardinal Rule Number Five is that while I sometimes compare my life and self to others’ and often judge them AND MYSELF against that comparison, I need to stop doing this. I could sit here and spew about how I don’t, and that I firmly believe that my life is great just the way it is, blah blah blah. In truth, though, I sometimes make unhealthy comparisons and judgments of myself and others based on superficial information.

And that needs to stop.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope it was worth your time.
Be Well, Do Good Things.
Gene

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