Following on from this blog, I have come to realise that there is more to this comparison thing. In fact it, more often than I care to admit, turns into competition. I find myself competing in a game (or games) without any idea of why, but merely that I should.
Somewhere I am sure that I have mentioned that I suffer from anxiety and depression. My depression comes from years of abuse and self-abuse. I am not going to shy away from the fact that my own treatment of self has been sorely lacking and, in some cases, worse than what any other person has done to me.
However, my depression is not the type where I curl up and do nothing for hours on end. Well, at least not the most part. I am high functioning and as such fill my days to the point of exhaustion, on the days that are kind to me. This article by Ashley Wick helps to understand this a little better.
In my depressed state from having compared everything I have, am and do whilst simple walking on the street or reading the overly happy social sites, I end up in competition. I know that I can read more, craft better, have a better home, dress better, lose weight … I can just BE better if I compete with the anonymous stranger that I face. I can’t prove this “win” to anyone but myself, and still I strive.
The inevitable fact is that I end up not achieving the goal, because I don’t actually know what the goal is. I have no idea of the rules of the game, merely that I am a part of it. This, of course, cycles my depression even further and I feel like a fraud at work and at home.
If I have to dig really deeply, I know that competition was rooted in me from a very young age. There was always a: “you can do better”, “why didn’t you get the A+, an A is not good enough”, “we want this 90% average”, “why can’t you look like that” (whilst comparing me to someone 1/2 my size and way younger), “so-and-so got this, what’s wrong with you?”, and so on and so forth. I was trained to compete and I never achieved the goal that was set.
The classic example of the goal posts being moved once you were there.
I am not bitter, I realise it is part and parcel of the woman I have become. If I regret that and become bitter it will taint too much of what is good in my life currently. I am trying to find ways to break this cycle of compare and then compete. I suppose this blog is a step forward.
All of this was triggered by a simple email exchange. Someone is encroaching on what I feel is my territory. My knee-jerk reaction was to let fly and warn them off, but I waited a full 20+ hours to respond. I let my words be encouraging, and still I ended up fanning those flames of competition by stating what my intentions were. I did not manage to control myself fully. I realise that this is where I fail each time. I get half of the response right and then I participate in the competition as if to say: “Look at me, I am worthy too!!”.
So again today, I will work on my self-worth. This in itself is the core. I have no need to compare or compete. My life is totally different to those around me and even if we seem the same, we are not. One step at a time. If only it didn’t feel like I was taking 100 steps backwards.