Comparison – Eyes On My Own Lane
As Mother’s Day approaches, I get a little tense. The cultural messages are strong. There should be flowers, breakfast in bed, heart jewelry, pampering, and some sort of glossy life-overlay, including smiles and rested eyeballs. Reality is a bit more complex. Some people have lost mothers or children. Some never knew them at all. Even for those like me, a mother with a mother, there can be difficult feelings.
Holidays like Mother’s Day are a good time to re-center my focus on my values. Our consumerism culture spotlights perfectionism. In the age of social media, when it is so easy to filter our projections, we all Facebook our Sunday best. In no time at all we take our eyes off our own lives to see what everyone else is doing (and doing better!) as we compare our ordinary to everyone else’s highlights reel.
Comparison can lead to envy, resentment, and disconnection. One way I protect myself from comparison is to take time away from social media sites. If I do check in, I stay in my mentions and filtered lists. It is one thing to talk to close friends and family, and know what they’re up to. It’s another thing to see post after post after post during holidays, which can be emotionally taxing.
There is no shame in experiencing the difficult emotions that can occur with comparison. Everyone looks around, then back at themselves, and sometimes feels a little “ugh.” Thankfully, gratitude is a practice that can bring us all peace. When I stay in my own lane, with my eyes focused only on those nearest and dearest, I can find contentment and joy, settled mindfully into my everyday moments.