I've been feeling good about the number of books I've read this year. I have a goal of 40 books and I've read 29. I'm ahead of schedule and it looks like I'll be able to meet my goal. Some of the novels on this year's list are now favorites. I love reading!
One day last week, I looked on Goodreads.com and saw that a friend of mine had met her goal of reading 80 books in 2013. By September, she had read 80 books.
All of a sudden, my 29 books was a pittance. I mean, my friend has 3 young boys, her own business, has lost a significant amount of weight (she looks FANTASTIC!) and volunteers at school and church and does things with her family and friends. AND SHE READ 80 BOOKS!
My feeling of accomplishment disappeared, and it was replaced with discouragement. I started to question how she was able to meet her goal. That is exactly 1.54 books each week. How is that even possible when you have an already busy life?
When I realized that I was tearing her down to make myself feel better, I was ashamed. I was already envious of her in her weight-loss efforts. But, she worked hard for it. She has logged into My Fitness Pal every day - for over 200 days in a row. She exercises several times per week. She works hard. And she is an amazing, strong, driven woman. She accomplishes a lot. No wonder she met her goal of reading 80 books. She is a person that accomplishes goals. She makes things happen.
Why do we compare ourselves to others? Why get out that measuring stick at all? I was happy with the number of books I had read. I was proud of it.
You know, sometimes comparing ourselves to others is not such a bad thing. We can see something in a friend's experience - something that worked for them, or made things easier and use that information in our own lives. We can see that someone accomplished something and be inspired to do better.
But often in our measuring, we come up short. And it stops us cold.
My boys are comparing all the time. One has more milk than the other. How many crackers did you get? How many kisses? How much time with Daddy? How many songs before bedtime? Over and over I tell them, "That doesn't matter. Right now, we're talking about you, not him. You don't need to worry about that."
Why can't I take my own advice? I don't need to worry about that.
It's destructive, this comparison thing; this measuring our weakness against another's strength. This life is not a competition with those around us. There is always going to be someone prettier, smarter, skinnier, richer, stronger, happier, luckier, better read than we. It doesn't make us any less amazing. It doesn't diminish what we do.
So, help a girl out. Share with me how you keep your head up. Tell me how you stay positive. Divulge your secret to avoiding the measuring stick. Give a friend a hand.