• noelactor


"Why can't you be like them?" That's probably my buried child's favorite negative tape sound bite. My mother frequently elicited sentiments like this to my sister and me, in relation to our cousins. It therefore stuck with me at a young age, that I was not enough for her.

It's taken quite some time to identify that unhealthy parental actions like this aren't modes of conduct I want in myself, so as not to perpetuate low self-esteem in my own kids. Of course, after a lifetime of awesome role modeling like this, there are residuals. But the advancements in my self-care regime has allowed me to counter such bad programming with the perspective, "At the least, I'm aware of it."

A great self-care pet peeve of mine early on, was hearing I was responsible for my own life choices. That there was no one out there to blame. It's taken me years to sit with this. I want to blame someone for the inadequacies and ugliness I contain. But once I finally imbibed that as a mentally sound adult, I was in charge of the rest of my life, my real work initiated. I couldn't blame Mom or Dad, or society. I couldn't blame God. And finally, when I could release emotionally, I didn't even have to blame myself. There is no blame. Only letting go of residual trauma and undeserving thoughts. And re-creating myself into my ideal model. How much more fun is that? It's like sculpting the clay of YOU from the inside out.

As to how comparison materialized in my life? I definitely was embroiled with insecurity in my teens, a desire to fit in during my twenties, a revolution against the status quo of having wholesome relationships in my thirties; and now in my forties, after a greater understanding of the scope of my issues, a drive to release any feelings that support useless collating.

Learning to not give as much attention to others has definitely freed me up. I do lapse into occasional remorse on the time lost, fretting over other's gains, appearances and seemingly simpatico lives. But experience is teaching me that we all have challenges. That pain and adversity is relative. And ironically, others may compare and praise my accomplishments. So I have learned to appreciate and celebrate others for who they are and what they've gained, with less tainted behavior. Additionally, my mother was doing her best with what she was taught.

I find joy these days in releasing my more poisonous states of being, knowing that I have time and breadth in life to do so. And that these opportunities to self-explore are gifts from my mother's generation's struggles. I try to keep in perspective that their childhood traumas weren't worked out on a therapist's couch. Or that therapy was even thought as a good or accessible option. And for that gift, I am eternally thankful.

My one resoundingly positive comparison now lies with differentiating incarnations of myself. Reflection on where I was emotionally and mentally in the past, to how much more comfortably I'm sitting within my own body and mind now, is the greatest motivation for my continued building of love for myself. So compare yourself less, and appreciate your selves more.

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