Harried, bedraggled, already late for work, you do your best to be patient as your kids scramble out of the car juggling school backpacks and soccer gear, when your youngest pipes up “Where’s my lunch?” Oh, shoot. In the fridge, that’s where his lunch is. You root in your purse, grab some bills and shove them at your child, “Sorry, Sweetie. Here’s some lunch money. Gotta go. I love you.” As you maneuver your way out of the cramped school drop-off area, you glance over to a sleek SUV, driven by an equally sleek Mom.
You grind your teeth. How does she do it? She has 3 kids, just like you, but unlike you, she’s unflustered, her car is immaculate, she’s immaculate—hair, makeup, everything perfect and in place, you could kill her. Or yourself.
You go to work. Your manager walks into your workspace, collects your latest effort, sweeps a critical eye over your habitual mess: “It’d be nice if you got your projects in some semblance of order.” “I get the work done!” you announce defensively. “Yes, I know. Think of how much better you’d do if you could find things more easily, like Lynn,” your manager says, smiling to ever-neat Lynn as she leaves. Lynn smiles at you. Pertly. You’d love to stick your tongue out at her, but she’d probably just smile at that too.
You feel less than, defeated, diminished. Your sense of self is pathetic.
Before you succumb to a full-on pity party, how about a reality check? The reality is that you are a fine human being, with your own set of talents and skills. The reality is that the only thing defeating you is your comparison of yourself to others. And frankly, comparing ourselves to others is damning every time. It doesn’t matter whether you come out smelling sweet or smelling icky, comparison can only hurt. It either hurts you with “I’m not good enough,” which is the choice you’ve made here, or it hurts the other with “They’re not good enough,” which has led to great pain, personally and societally.
Focus on those of your talents, skills and behaviors that you are proud of. Buff those up, shine them to a high gloss, use them well.
There’s a reason we’re all unique: life is much more fun that way. It is the accumulated diversity of talents that has made this world the rich, complex and wondrous place that it is—for all of us.
Be you! There’s no one quite like you.
Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. Visit www.noellenelson.com, http://anotefromdrnoelle.blogspot.com.