Friday, March 5, 2010

Compare and Contrast


In the years to come, I believe sociologists will study the changes that Facebook has brought into our lives. I've recently re-friended (not to mention word historians - since when did "friended" have a meaning) Pebbles. Because of that, I now am privy to lots of people, specifically young women, with whom she went to school. Pebbles had a pretty rough go in junior high/high school in that "Mean Girls" way. I would have expected her to harbor some sort of resentment or some sort of residual negative feelings. I was surprised to find that she has not. What also surprised me was the fact that she doesn't "keep score".

I grew up with "keeping score" - that is the constant comparison to those around, especially women, in some sort of competition. I suspect this grew out of Mom's insecurities and superficialities, but there always seemed to be the need to find someone "less than". Always this constant ranking - in order for us to feel good, someone else had to feel bad. We couldn't be happy for someone's successes, as it pointed to our own failures.

I've let a large part of this go, but never really thought about the basis for this and it's roots in morbidly low self-esteem. I've come to the understanding that there is room for all sorts of winners and that this isn't a zero sum game. We all can win; we all can experience success and one person's success doesn't mean anyone else is less-than or a failure. Yes, I can look to others to inspire me, and I certainly do, but I don't have to look to others failures to make myself feel better. All that really does is point the fingers back at me and my need for the world to tell me that I belong, rather than knowing it for myself.

I'm not doing a very good job of explaining this, but suffice it to say, that allowing myself to enjoy, I mean really en - joy, others' successes, to revel in them and celebrate them has brought much more joy into my life. Their successes do not diminish me. Your successes show me what is possible in the world. You are not the enemy; you are not my competition; you are bringers of joy; you teach and enrich me.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. This is not a zero sum game. There is room for everyone.

-Roxie

11 comments:

  1. This may be my favorite post you've ever written Roxie. So true. Making you less does NOT make me more. Making you my blog friend has infinitely made me more. Thank you.

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  2. I totally believe there is enough good for everyone. It's a better way to live then keeping score, for sure!

    Great, thoughtful post. Thanks. So glad we are Friends.

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  3. Such a great post. I am such a firm believer in being positive and looking for the positive in everything. It just feels so much better, you know?

    I love reading about successes and achievements on other blogs, too!

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  4. Food for thought here. This sheds some light on my spouses motivations. I'm so glad you're sharing your journey and discoveries - it brings many joy & enlightenment. Thanks!

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  5. You explained it perfectly and this is a beautiful post.

    Just yesterday I was talking to a guy at work about the popularity of shows like Hoarders, Intervention and Biggest Loser. He said he thinks people watch those shows because they see how bad off other people are so that gives them a feeling that they're okay because they're not THAT bad.

    I think he had a point, and I've been guilty of this my entire life. I've really been trying to let it go and not harbor a secret jealousy when I see someone else be successful at losing weight or even promotions at work. Like you, I think it stems from my own low self-esteem, and ultimately those feelings towards others who are successful are more damaging than anything.

    Great post Roxie!

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  6. You explained it perfectly and this is a beautiful post.

    Just yesterday I was talking to a guy at work about the popularity of shows like Hoarders, Intervention and Biggest Loser. He said he thinks people watch those shows because they see how bad off other people are so that gives them a feeling that they're okay because they're not THAT bad.

    I think he had a point, and I've been guilty of this my entire life. I've really been trying to let it go and not harbor a secret jealousy when I see someone else be successful at losing weight or even promotions at work. Like you, I think it stems from my own low self-esteem, and ultimately those feelings towards others who are successful are more damaging than anything.

    Great post Roxie!

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  7. I have to say that you leave the BEST comments and always pick me up with them. Kudos to your wonderful attitude, Roxie.

    P.S. I facebook friended my old nemesis, Rita - she who used to steal my Barbies and their clothes whenever we played. Apparently she turned out to be a decent person...even has built houses for Habitat for Humanity! Shocked me to discover that about her - I guess people can change and I'm glad to finally be able to let go of my childhood anger over her.

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  8. Yes! Everyone can achieve success. It's not a collective thing...it's individual. Although we need the "collective" to help support and inspire us along our way. Success is relative to the individual. The support, inspiration and empowerment is where you come in. You're doing such a great job spreading that to others!

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  9. Great post Roxie. Other peoples' badness doesn't increase my goodness. You explained this beautifully, btw. Holding grudges really gets in the way of good relationships.

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  10. I think it's also important to recognize the other end of this, that my imperfections don't make other people perfect, and that it's okay to display our humanity and thus human failings once in a while. I have the hardest time whenever I am surprised by guests at home, as I always am looking at what I haven't yet accomplished (ie, the bills are laying out, N's toys are strewn across the floor, I haven't vacuumed yet, etc)... I feel as though my guests are taking notes and making comparisons and seeing where I am lacking and they are better.

    Sometimes, I have to make myself relax and enjoy the company, rather than focusing the whole time on how I haven't done everything I wanted today...

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  11. I like this post. I didn't know that it was hurting my own self esteem to do this until I was in my twenties. Now, I struggle with it occasionally, but it is so much happier to celebrate everyone.

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We'll try this for a while.