Comparison Despair – A Holiday Gift

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  – Theodore Roosevelt


Thanksgiving was hard this year. Holidays are like that for me sometimes. Generally, I am fine and get through them when I focus on what I am thankful for and stick to the present moment. Some years are easier than others – this one was rough.  I found myself floundering in comparison despair (I don’t know who coined this phrase, but it’s awesome). I spent way too much time on Facebook taking in all the amazing family and friend photo shares. At first it felt great to witness everyone’s good cheer, then a small knot in my stomach began to form…and then…. I pulled out all the stops and threw a full blown pity party in the town of  “My life is not enough” – population 1.

Once I figured out what was going on and that all my ancient core wound stuff was getting poked, I knew I had a choice – I could shut it all down, get curious and go within –  write, paint or sing. Or, I could wallow – poke at the old wounds and beat myself up for doing so. I won’t lie, for awhile I wallowed. Then, the wallowing became old and tiresome. I realized what I really wanted to do was investigate what was going on inside.

Lately I can tell that things are shifting in me because I no longer want to stay stuck in the old stuff. That doesn’t mean old triggers, losses and pain magically disappear, it means that I recognize when they are happening and have a choice about what happens next. Life is full of ups and downs, sorrow and joy and the spaces in between. My Thanksgiving really wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t like what I could see on social media or commercials. For Christmas, I may take a social media vacation and leave myself notes on the fridge about how my life is  my very own and it won’t look like anyone else’s. Until then, I will deck my halls and be jolly in a way that works for me and know that my way is my own… and just fine.  


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2 Responses to Comparison Despair – A Holiday Gift

  1. Jenny
    Jenny December 2, 2015 at 1:55 am #

    Isn’t it funny how wallowing in old stories feels like the default (and familiar) …and then suddenly one day the light bulb goes off and we realize we have a choice? I had a similar experience on Sunday night–Something triggered me and the first thing I did was reach for the wine bottle… and then WAIT! It dawned on me that I wanted to sit with my feelings first and get curious about the discomfort I was feeling. Woah. Big steps. And yet small. But not. Thanks for sharing, Studio Sister, and reminding us about the power of choice in the midst of pattern.

    • Stephanie Gray
      Stephanie Gray December 2, 2015 at 9:41 am #

      True! That place where I wallow does feel familiar and is so often been my default/autopilot mode. And yet I find when I do get curious, although it can be uncomfortable, there’s much more dimension in the feeling place. Big steps to be sure. Thanks Jen!

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