What would have happened had I been able to buy that place from my ex-beau? I’d probably still be at my previous job, where I felt quite unchallenged, but the pay and benefits were decent. I’d probably have had to move from the condo where I was living—alone, for just the second time in my life…I enjoyed my solitude and it helped me to regain a measure of, for lack of a better word, sanity—to some basement apartment where I could afford the rent to be able to afford the mortgage and pay off my ex. I probably wouldn’t be getting out there that much, given the drive and the run-up in gasoline prices.
All this stemmed, in part, from a comparison. From wanting something similar to what someone else had, rather than exploring what was exactly right for me in the moment and understanding that safety and security come mostly from within and mostly don’t depend on what’s external to us.
In our culture, it’s hard not to get caught up in the future. People are short-term future-oriented, but not long-term. I was thinking short-term, too, in this case. If I’d been long-term future-oriented, I probably would have taken a leave of absence from my job to go WWOOFing or to get an internship on a farm somewhere, to know, exactly, the hefty amount of work involved and to make a better decision. Right now, I’d probably have more of a cushion and some of the freedom to pursuit my heart’s calling(s) that go along with that freedom.
If it’s unwise to make such comparisons, then are there some comparisons that are wise to make?
I believe there are.
One is to gauge where we are and where we’ve been. This is maybe the most useful comparison to make so long as we do it without self-judgment and self-recriminations. Am I healthier today? How do I feel now compared to, say, five years ago? If the answer is yes, you feel it in your heart. You may feel a sense of peace, a lightness or lightheartedness, of appreciation for what life offers, for your own particular experience of the world, no matter the shade of the experience, dark or light.
If the answer is no, then you need to decide where to work. I suppose feeling good about oneself comes primarily from spending a lot of time alone with oneself, to know whatever it might be that you need to know: I’m good. I’m a good person. I’m attractive in my own way. I have enough. I appreciate the life I’ve been given. I allow the highest good for me to come forth.
It’s important that we do this for our sanity, for our health. Comparing ourselves with others, we will always fall short. Always. If we persist in making such comparisons and if we persist in allowing these to drive us, we find ourselves on the far side of the human function curve where the gap between our actual ability—whatever it may concern—and our intended performance begins to expand and we, as the Institute of HeartMath points out, neglect our need for rest, create more inner turmoil, and eventually head into a state of depletion.
I have seldom been satisfied with anything that I have achieved. I feel sad as I consider this now, because my lack of satisfaction has certainly made my life less joyous than it could be. Even one of my mentors used to say, “You’re only as good as what you write next.”
Reading that back now, it seems silly to me. And, yet, I know quite well where it comes from. In future posts, I’ll explore how to turn around the conflict that stems from the head’s “It needs to be this way,” and the heart’s pursuit of living moment to moment.