If we start to talk about fairness, it usually leads straight to discussions about the ugly, damaged side of the ‘fairness’ family tree: Comparison.
I think they’re twins.
I blogged a bit ago about the crap in the middle of my lifestyle-change journey. A sense of unfairness was one of the issues that I said I used to fight often.
I would go to bed, stalk the seasonal candy aisle at the store or leave a food-centric event feeling like things were unfair. (In the grand scheme of the world my whining is beyond minor. I know that.)
But I would then replay over and over in my head what I had chosen to eat and what not to eat (for weight loss and blood sugar control) and what others COULD eat. I would feel like things just weren’t fair as they were eating pie/cake/pizza/anything chocolate seemingly consequence-free. (And yes… I realize that this is ME judging people for their choices. I get the hypocrisy. But even that stark realization never seemed to stop the ‘fairness’ bus from taking a few laps around my brain…)
Turns out that a mindset of ‘unfairness’ does not serve anyone well in a fight for a new lifestyle.
Instead of tackling the real habit/issue/problem and finding a way to change things, my mind was fully engaged in futilely figuring out why it was not fair, how to make it fair, how to justify things. (With side trips to the land of ‘short cuts’, ‘cheats’ and ‘substitutions’.)
This thinking was getting me nowhere.
Actually it was getting me somewhere.
It was getting me upset and disgruntled and unhappy and just a little pissy. (Just a little.)
It’s also pouty, whiny and self-defeating thinking. I realized that it usually translated into the negative crap that falls out of my mouth when I talk about how I see myself…
And I was wicked-sharp, lightening-fast and brutal with my comparisons.
When I took the time to tear apart my thinking on fairness/comparison and my resulting behaviors, the only conclusion I could land on was there was no good to come from that line of thinking.
PLUS, most of us can agree that it is NOT fun to be around someone who feels (and talks) like life is not fair or constantly compares what they are/have/do…
So, I decided 3.5 years ago to work on a few things. The UGLY, hard, sad things that just had to be fixed if I was ever going to have a shot at reclaiming my health. I would have to work on things that weren’t helping me, bad habits, self-defeating behaviors.
Turns out my issues with food was just ONE of the big things that I would have to work on. I thought it would be the only issue. Solve that issue and I was golden.
Comparing myself with others emerged as a BIG, nasty issue. It emerged as one of the top three issues I would have to face and work on. (#1? Fixing my relationship with food. #3? Stopping the on-going war of self-hate on my body and abilities.)
What are my personal, core issues involved with comparing and thinking about fairness? I’m still working on identifying all of them. But, what I have figured out so far is that I tend to compare and feel like things are unfair when I am low on self-confidence, battling for self-control, embarrassed, exhausted or fighting jealousy.
And comparison… Lord. It’s evil stuff.
- She is thinner. (She runs faster, she can do more, she has a better body…)
- He can eat whatever he wants with no worries.
- They are losing weight faster than I am.
- He was blessed with good genes.
- She doesn’t even have to work to be thin.
- They don’t have to watch EVERY bite they eat.
- Why is no one else suffering or hungry or sad or angry?
- They aren’t struggling with a disease (diabetes) on top of dieting.
- (Fill in the blank…)
I still fall into the trap of comparisons and feeling like fairness is in short supply now and again. Ok… Ok… I still fall into the trap of comparison more often than I would like. (Who doesn’t?! Seriously. I don’t even have to ask – I know that I am NOT alone on this one…)
But the important thing NOW is that I’m more likely and willing to catch myself and stop.
I want to be happy with just being me.
I want to be comfortable in my own skin.
I want to love what I have, not long for what I don’t have…
I want to focus on what I can do, what I get to do, what I have worked for.
I remind myself that I have ONE LIFE to live, NO ONE ELSE gets to live this exact life…
Comparison usually fades to overwhelming gratitude and thoughts of unfairness will eventually give way to wholehearted appreciation for the embarrassment of riches I have in my life…
I love my life. I feel like I am just starting to really live it. And there is really no comparison for that…
Comparison is the thief of joy. ― Theodore Roosevelt
This week? When you feel tempted to compare things and you are putting yourself on the bad/odd/short side of that comparison?
Try thinking about all you have and can do that someone else would covet or desires or desperately wishes for…
Or think about how much others appreciate you just being who YOU are and that you are in their life…
Talk to yourself just like you would a loved and trusted friend.
Just do it.
Let me know what happens.