“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt
My twins have some life perks being twins – but they also have some challenges. Yesterday one of their pals asked them which one of them is smarter. We had long discussions last night about how that question is both silly and complicated but mostly irrelevant because we each have our own beautiful gifts to share with the world – the gifts are unique and immeasurable as are both of my boys – unique and amazing.
In my twins‘ world – class rankings, standardized test scores, grades, height/weight and even sports team placements are very real ways to compare themselves to each other and their peers. Allowing comparison into our thoughts causes anxiety and definitely snatches the joy out of life. I struggled mightily as a mom last night – working to make sure both of my boys felt appreciated, valued, seen, and loved.
And then this morning I hit my mat. And I started comparing myself. Comparison isn’t just for kids – it’s a way of life for a lot of us – like a silent joy killer. I catch myself comparing me today to me yesterday, to my peers, and to what I think I should be capable of – to the stories I hold of myself in my mind. What the heck? I seriously love yoga – precisely because it’s hard. Because it always asks me to take a harder took – to see what’s true – to practice self-acceptance despite my mind’s natural inclination to practice self-destruction, to feed anxiety, insecurity and worry. It asks me to face challenging postures that my body feels unwilling to do – and to try them again and again – working to ignore the mental blocks in the way – the ones that come up saying “never”, “not for you”, “you’re not strong enough”. To find joy in myself, in my effort, in simply my showing up. Each day I do chip away at those challenging postures, just as I practice turning off comparisons. It does not matter what I did yesterday, what the person next to me is doing or even what I will do tomorrow. It only matters that I embrace my life and me in it – in this very moment.
My path is my path alone and it is perfect just as it is. I am wonderfully made just like this, as are my perfect boys. As are you.
By Liz Bundon
All pictures by Wanda Koch