It was as if the world was a pie.
If you had a large slice, you were taking some away from me. I could hardly stand to see you succeed. I felt smaller as you grew bigger. As you excelled, I diminished. So, as to fight for my life with blowing punches, I bashed and slandered, hoping I could increase my share, but I was still small.
It’s the new home, the perfect figure, the bright student, the happy marriage, the one with all the friends, the person who can stay home with their kids, the person with a successful career. You know, the one who has it all put together.
In high school, I played volleyball. I loved it. And every summer I would go to camps – it was motivating and exciting, I could see myself improving, I would excel and felt like I was on top of the world. Then the season would come and I would crumble. Some of it may have been that in the reality of the setting, I was an average player – nothing outstanding. But the internal reason – I compared myself to those succeeding. And instead of celebrating my team’s successes I got angry. Not an explosive anger, or an anger that pushed me to better; a jealous anger that ate away at me. It played with my mind. And this anger no longer made the sport fun… It was about beating a teammate. I was competing against the people on MY SIDE!
So many times in life we feel like we are failing because others seem to be winning. We quit or paralyze ourselves from bettering because we are so wrapped up in what we are not.
Then language comes in like this to even the playing field:
“Have you heard about what’s going on in their home?”
“Im sure they are actually miserable behind that.”
and we throw a little dirt, “But have you seen the way they xyz”
“If I was him/her I would never…”
Yeah, still not going to work… Believe me, I’ve tried.
No one has to be worse for you to be better.
You are two separate beings who can both be wonderful in your own distinct, beautifully weird ways.
The more you can truly appreciate the differences between you and others and learn to love yourself despite what is happening in someone else’s world the more you get to grow. And the beautiful thing is, as we champion the strength, and courage, the talents and the achievements, the beauty and the depth of those around us; we can start coming together because we are not against each other.
I love this description Paul writes in a letter to the people of Corinth:
If the entire body were an ear, how would an ear be able to smell? God has meticulously put the body together; He placed each part in the exact place to perform the exact function He wanted. If all member were a single part, where would the body be? [i]
So we need each other – just as we are – doing us the best we can because we are made and placed how and where we are meant to be.
Maybe you are feeling like you are good at nothing. And it can be hard to see others living their passions. As I’ve worked alongside friends, I’ve noticed something… they don’t always know their gifts because they come so easy to them. They need someone like you to come alongside them and say “Do you know how special you are? Do you know how your gifts are helping others?” And guess what? You might get it right back in return and be able to see how you are working in others’ lives.
So stop trying to match others achievements. It will leave you feeling empty – ready to quit. You can celebrate their wins and still love yourself wholly. You are no smaller because of them. You can succeed without having to make someone small. So stop eating away at yourself. You are two beautiful, unique, parts of a bigger body.
Two full pies.
[i] The Voice, 1 Corinthians 12:17-19
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