Comparing Yourself to Others Never Ends Well

Spending the week in Shangri-La was rejuvenating. The view from every deck and window, including the window next to the toilet

looking to the right off of the deck

in my bathroom, overlooked marsh lined channels leading out to the ocean where fishing boats dotted the water early each morning. The house was comfortably elegant with dark wood wainscoting, hard wood floors, comfy furniture and an eclectic smattering of master pieces hung with distinction next to Debbie’s quirky sense of decorating humor. This included schools of fish, made of different metals, clay, and wood, swimming mostly in the same direction, except for a few free thinking swimmers going the opposite way, arranged on two adjoining walls in a bathroom, jars of wonderful old marbles, interesting woven baskets holding porcupine quills, clay sculptures with imaginative faces…you get the idea. When I wasn’t admiring the view, or lost in conversation with my dear friends, I was amused by the subtle humor tucked into little nooks just waiting to be noticed.

 

And to the left toward the ocean

Spending the week in Shangri-La also had a dark side, and mine showed up big time. I began comparing my life circumstances to that of my friends. I tormented myself with, “Where did I go wrong? What if I had gone to a better college?  Maybe followed a different career path.”

 

Then I moved into what I call Cinderella questions. These have to do with a man rescuing me. “Should I have married a rich man, someone who could have provided paradise?” And if so, “How come I didn’t?” My answers were not pretty. My inferiority was in full bloom. She straight-out informed me that I could never have landed a rich man. I am not good enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. (I’ll end here if you don’t mind; this is depressing.)

 

I thought about my middle class family of origin and how I learned limits. How not to expect more than there was. How to be happy with what you had. These are lessons I respect but as I wandered the rooms of this magnificent home, I began to challenge them. What if I expected more? Wanted more? What if being dissatisfied led me to more? Would this be my house?

 

The onslaught of questions left me uncertain of me. I was knocked off my center. However I knew, from past encounters with my darkness, that these shadow sightings are often a good thing…in the end. I trusted if I could stay present to myself long enough, listened to my self judgements until they were hoarse and was honest about this predatory side of me, I would land back on my feet with a greater love and trust for myself. (At least that is what I told myself.)

 

This was risky business-listening to me compare myself to others. I noticed how comparing myself never ends well. When I compare myself to people who have more I feel less than and when I compare myself to people who have less I feel guilty. It is a lose/lose proposition.

 

Returning home to my no longer newlywed husband I find myself feeling satisfied as I look around my surroundings. I feel at home in our space. I love our 7’ x 9’ deck overlooking enough trees that one might think it is woods, but it’s not. I like the simplicity. I welcome the familiarity. And I adore the man I picked, and would pick all over again.

 

So perhaps in the end it is all good. Both Shangri-La and middle class are wonderful gifts to be fully enjoyed.

 

It is comparing yourself to others that limits what you can love, mainly in yourself.

Did You Know?

…That an adult elephant does not know it can easily pull the stake it is chained to out of the ground because as a baby elephant it tried and couldn’t?

 

…That fish put in a bathtub, while their small bowl is being cleaned, will swim in the same size area as their bowl?

 

…That a baseball player for the Oakland A’s, well known for not being able to make it to second base, overran, then scrambled back to first base on his knees not realizing he had hit a home run?

 

My point you ask? Continue reading

It’s the F*@#ing Flame… my last honeymoon story…promise

(On August 26th, in the Mexican town of Teotihuacan, the flame for the 2011 Pan American Games was lit and the runner began its route through Mexico.)

 

We decided to spend a day in Puerta Vallarta before we flew back home. We met a couple on the plane to Mexico that made us promise to, at the very least, take a day trip into PV because it is so beautiful. Old PV, not Nueva PV where all the oversized resorts live. They were adamant. It sounded like a good idea. They gave us the name of the time share/hotel they stay in, some places to shop and a great restaurant for dinner. We were convinced and folded it into our plans.

 

Since there was no shopping in PLT I was looking forward to do some shopping. I was also ready to leave our eco resort survivalist meets paradise location. I was also ready to speak English. My brain was tired from trying to speak Spanish, trying to understand Spanish and acting like I understood Spanish when I had no idea what was being said. I  was ready for a bit of civilization. Continue reading

A Honeymoon with a Mental Health Diagnosis

We arrived on Saturday to Playas Las Tortugas. Tom moved right into his comfort zone. I didn’t. While he read and wrote, I sat and stared. I couldn’t settle within myself. I didn’t recognize myself or much else in this unfamiliar place. I knew we were clearly not in Kansas anymore.

 

On Monday Tom read to me, from the AAA Mexico tour book, a description of what can happen to travelers visiting new cultures. It is called Cultural Immersion and Displacement. This was a new construct for me. As he read I realized I was experiencing both. Continue reading