I've got a secret. A "hidden talent," if you will.
I am really good at making myself feel less-than.
It is amazing how my internal dialogue can be spinning my inabilities and lack-of-specialness while the outside of me pretends it's not. I'm like a magician. Only, it's a really crappy trick.
But it's what I do. Not all the time, but enough. Because, I like photography but my photos never look like her's and I'll never have her talent. And I like to write but my words are never as eloquent as her's and I don't do things to nurture my writing like she does.
It is a constant comparison of who "they" are and who I'm not. How wonderful and special "they" are and how un-wonderful and un-special I am. Of course, it has nothing to do with any of the "they"s or "them"s and everything to do with me.
But I am the master of comparisons. Because, I'm not as skinny as she is and I feed my kids non-organic macaroni and cheese and she never would and My photos will never look like hers and I'm not as funny/organized/happy/[insert verb here] as she is -- which of course implies that I am a less-than person.
Sometimes I can shake these negatives thoughts. Sometimes I am really good at talking myself down and reminding myself that I am special, that I am enough, that I am more-than. But those sneaky words... they still make occasional appearances in my psyche. Cutting me down. Making me feel like everyone around me is super-special-extra-ordinary and I am just b-l-a-h.
The question is: why do I do this? Where does this come from? It does not make me feel better, or work harder, or act nicer. It does not make me a better person. It makes me crabby and irritable and jealous. The more I compare myself to others (and who I perceive them to be), the more unhappy I am.
Why do we continually do things to ourselves when we know they make us unhappy?
I wish I had some deep and meaningful way to answer this. I don't. I just know that this is why I have great friends that I can complain and cry and laugh and be silly with. This is why I have a wonderfully supportive family. This is why I talk to a therapist. This is why I pray.
To remind myself, especially when I really need it, that if there's something special about all of us (and there is) then there's something special about me. To remind myself that it's normal to compare myself, but that doesn't mean it's right. To remind myself that I am enough, right here and right now.