Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for wednesdays}

Whew!!  I almost didn't make it.  My Wednesday got caught up in a whirlwind...but it has settled down a little, I have a cup of coffee in my hands and I am able to take a deep breath.

So, I start today with a question...where do you feel like you fall short?  We all have those areas that are constant reminders to us of where we don't measure up.  Where is yours?

On not so good days, mine (and I can't believe I'm confessing this) is in the area of photography.  There are thousands of photographers out there, all with blogs adorned with beautiful pictures, and as I look at them, I start to feel like I don't measure up.  In light of their work, I see my flaws (and they feel gapingly HUGE!).  In the wake of their creativity, I feel like I've never even had an original idea.  Seeing other peoples pictures of families laughing and playing makes me feel like those photographers must be super witty and fun...and in comparison, I am a complete dud.  The problem?  As I look at other photographers, I realize I compare the best of theirs with the worst of mine.

But this is not a problem that begins and ends with me, right?  As women, we compare our bodies to the airbrushed, photoshopped models in magazines.  We compare our houses - how big or small they are - with our neighbor's places.  We compare our children to the stories we read in the Christmas letters that arrive at our house, telling us about our friend's year.  Heck...we compare how large or small our kids are, when they learned to potty-train, what sort of grades they are making in school, and how well behaved they are!  Wives compare their husbands, husbands compare their wives, singles compare their situation to married life, and married folks compare their lives to singles.

The problem?  We compare our worst with what we think is something so much better.

A pastor friend of mine did a sermon years ago that stuck with me.  Actually I don't remember much about what he said except his main point...COMPARISON KILLS CONTENTMENT!  That phrase has stuck with me for over 13 years...and I even bought that old scale to sit in my house and remind me to stop comparing my life (or anything in my life) to anyone else.  Because when I compare, I become discontent with who I am, or the people I am around, or what I have.

I want to live life to the full, but when I start to compare, I become discontent and the cup becomes not only half empty, but I want to throw it away because I think it is unusable.

So what do we do?  I'm not sure I have the answer, but for me I have to recognize the areas I tend to operate in comparison mode and I choose to stay away from them.   A few months ago I stopped looking at most photography blogs and websites (except a few friends that I want to cyber-stalk every once and a while!) and focused on looking at what I (personally) really like photographing.  I also think that the practice of gratitude is helpful.  When I find myself beginning to compare something in my life with something not in my life, I try to come back to being grateful for what I have.  And in the act of being truly grateful, I find it hard to compare at the same time.

One more thought....the act of comparing myself with anyone else is a slippery slope.  The units of measure aren't equivalent and don't make sense...after all, how do you compare inches to ounces?  I should not compare myself to anyone else because I'm not supposed to be anyone else.  I'm just supposed to be me (and no one else has that same unit of measure).......Does any of that logic make sense?

So our phrase for the week is COMPARISON KILLS CONTENTMENT.  It has changed the way I see the world.  I hope it changes the way you move, and live...and breathe this week. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tara, this was so uplifting - thank you for sharing your thoughts. By the way, you are an AMAZING photographer and we wouldn't think of asking anyone else to capture our growing family. You rock!
Chris & Mareesha