Confession is good for the soul they say, so will you be my confidante? May I share with you that I often find myself watching other women to size them up? I do this everywhere I go: the zoo, church, the mall, the library, Trader Joe's, you name it. When I am in public I am usually comparing myself to the women around me.
I don't do this randomly. No, I have set areas of evaluation.
Of course they are the areas that I struggle in, the parts of my own personal report card in which I would I would grade myself with 'Needs Improvement.' And that would be on the days I am being kind. Those kind days come around more often than they used to but not as often as I'd like. On the other days it's flat F's.
And I'm not criticizing all of the time; it's more of an evaluation, an internal pecking order of sorts. I'm looking to see where I fit in. It goes something like this: she is slimmer than me - she is not but she just had a baby because she is pushing the sweetest little one in that stroller - she is beautiful and about ten years younger than me - she is so talented and look at the success she has already achieved and on and on.
I have to tell you, it's exhausting just to type that, not to mention how tiring it is to walk around all day with that monologue drilling away in my head like irritating elevator music.
So what? I compare myself to other women. What's the big deal?
Well, this is a very self-centered way to live. I am looking at other women solely through the lens of how they make me look. Pride rears its ugly head and whines, "I want to be the best." My little mental world revolves around me. This leaves very little room to give to others and I'm left a bit shriveled and pruney, like dried fruit I have very little love juicing out. I don't want to be dried fruit. I want to luscious, vibrant and warm. I want people, friends and strangers, to leave my company refreshed.
Then there's the reality that constant comparison stifles me. Very rarely do I come out on the more successful end when I am making comparisons. I am not looking around so I can find fault with the world, really. I am looking to bolster the 'can't-not' voice in my head. You know the one I'm talking about. The voice that says you can't do x because you are not enough y: the equation of failure narrated by insecurity. When I allow this voice to become to soundtrack of my days I dare not try, risk, create, speak or even be seen. Humming along with this internal tune locks me up as effectively as any set of iron bars.