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Competing and Comparing

What is it about our society? That we set ourselves up for constant failure by competing and comparing ourselves to everyone and everything around us. We did it as children, waiting to be picked for the dodge ball game in gym class, or whether we were going to be invited to “the” birthday party and if we weren’t picked or invited…then what? We felt sadness, pain, ashamed, worthlessness, possibly. And sadly that pain stays with us. That feeling of being “left out” grows within us and as we become adults and have children of our own we begin to project these feelings onto them. We compare ourselves to all the other Mom’s. If you are a working Mom you compare yourself to the stay at home Mom’s, stay at home Mom’s at times wish they could be working outside the home, judging each other so as to justify the pain that you feel inside. The same feelings of sadness, worthlessness, wishing you could do better, be better etc. Criticizing ourselves for not being a better Mom, a better cook, wife, house cleaner. And then we go a step farther and compare our kids to all the other kids out there. Are they “good enough” to be on the team? Are they “good enough” to be successful in school. Are we signing them up for the right classes so they will “succeed.” And who’s definition of “success” are we defining our children by? Ours? Societies? Our parents? And what are we projecting onto our children? If you don’t make the team we are disappointed or somehow you aren’t good enough? If you don’t make certain grades we are ashamed? Are we then not teaching our kids that their self worth is attached to ACCOMPLISHMENTS? WOW! And as these accomplishments fade, then what? Who are we then? Without our job titles, financial status, community status. Who are our children without their list of accomplishments? Without the awards, the grades, the sports stories to tell. What happens then?

As I am typing this I can feel the stress, the little hamster wheel we are all running around on and have become so comfortable with these days. But where does this come from? Our need to compete and compare ourselves to those around us. Somehow we feel this makes us more complete? More worthy? More visible? We are “somebody” if we live in a certain neighborhood, drive a certain car or our child makes the team, or takes the classes we want? This I refer to as “The Matrix.” The hamster wheel if you will. The trap we all fall into.

Have we forgotten that we are perfect just as we are? Jesus tells us that the “kingdom of heaven is within.” Luke 17:20-21. If we look within ourselves for answers instead of outward by competing and comparing ourselves to others, maybe we will find the answers that can only come from within. That place where if we become quiet and turn off that “hamster wheel of life.” Turn off the voice in our head that tells us we don’t quite measure up, and stop competing with anyone but ourselves. Then and only then, we can begin to “feel” God. And maybe, just maybe, this power within has always been available to us. And by living in more alignment with it, we can begin to move towards a more joy filled life. We can help those around us find their own way, instead of comparing them to what we feel their “success” looks like. Teaching our children how to “go within” and feel their way through life, making choices based on what “feels right” for them and not society, parents, teachers, preachers, coaches, etc. Maybe a way without comparing themselves to others but going within to determine what it is they truly want! This is living their Truest Self. After all, we are only here to guide them, they don’t belong to us, they never have. They have just been placed in our care!

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