I’m a little stuck this morning. Stuck in the muck of comparison. What is the deal with women and comparison? I have all sorts of ideas around how our culture fuels this behavior, but I’ve begun to wonder if comparison is truly the big bad wolf. Perhaps comparing ourselves, our own stories, our bodies, our racial group, our socio-economic circumstances is inevitable in a world so filled with difference. Maybe there is no actual harm in comparison and instead the damage is more reflective of what we do with the differences we discover by comparison.
In the beginning of our development we sort out who we are by looking into the face of another. As human beings we are created with eyes that cannot see our own faces. We were created to see outside ourselves. Babies learn about their own emotions by scanning the faces of their primary caregivers. This process of searching the faces of others for their response and reaction to our own presence is how we develop a sense of ourselves and eventually a sense of separateness and individuality.
So perhaps comparison is an extension of that process. Perhaps it is a natural or instincutal component of our development. But the issue seems to be that we don’t always make neutral distinctions in our comparisons. They are loaded with judgments. In our culture, we often categorize differences into hierarchies. She wore that dress BETTER than the other celebrity. She is SKINNIER than me in a world where SKINNY=BEST more often than not. Her house is BIGGER and NICER than mine. She is SMARTER, SEXIER, WEALTHIER and ultimately SUPERIOR to me. Do you see the ranking system we have going on in our own little worlds? Instead of comparison revealing the beauty of difference – that there can be so many millions of beings on this planet and that no two are exactly alike (not physically and certainly not spiritually) – we opt to peer through a more destructive hierarchical lens that only leads to negative feelings towards the self or others. [···]
Anxiety and depression are two sides of the same coin of control. Anxiety says that you must have control of everything. Depression says that you have control over nothing. Neither of these sentiments are entirely true.
Listen in to find out what we can and cannot control and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression in your own life. Follow along and download the workbook.
*We invite you to respond to these questions in your own journal or to simply take time to ponder and reflect while sipping on a great cup of coffee or tea…or maybe with a glass of red wine.
- Where do you find yourself most often in regards to your family? Anxious? Depressed?
- Can you name one thing that you could give up trying to control?
- Can you name one thing that you will make an effort to begin controlling?
- What are some obstacles to believing that God has control? What are some obstacles to believing that you have some control?
- After you give something up (either anxiety/control or depression/lack of control) there will be a space – will you fill it with kindness and self-care? How so? Specifically? No, really, write down the ways you will start introducing care for yourself.
I am not one of those people that watches the same movie over and over again, but strangely enough I have watched We Bought a Zoo about six or so times since it was released in 2011. Don’t worry – there is no need for a spoiler alert. I won’t even give you a summary of the movie because that isn’t even the point of this post. What I will tell you, however, is that there are a couple of scenes in the film where Matt Damon’s character reflects on how an individual typically only needs 20 seconds of insane courage to do something outrageous. For whatever reason, I am mustering up the 20 seconds of insane courage necessary today to begin to type the first words for this blog.
Why the need for insane courage? Because to hope can be terrifying. To unleash desire can be overwhelmingly vulnerable. To enter into our own story or to engage the stories of others is risky business. In my experience, taking the first steps (or typing the first words) are the most difficult, but once we begin to move forward momentum can carry us into a new chapter. So here I am. Here we are. Three therapists are walking into a new blog.
Feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear about when you’ve had to muster 20 seconds of insane courage.