A couple weeks ago I was asked to babysit four of my favourite people in the entire world. After putting their little bodies into their beds and saying goodnight to these precious souls, I went looking for something to pass the time with while waiting for their mom and dad to come back home. As I sat in the quiet house, my mind started replaying all the heart-warming moments I’d just experienced. I thought about the very sweet and earnest prayers that were prayed and the loving goodnight hugs I’d received. I felt saturated with happy feelings. My thoughts then went to my own life situation and the happy feelings evaporated. Questions like, ‘why am I still single? ’ and ‘will I ever have my own children?’ began to circle around in my head. Has anyone else out there ever had such thoughts?
The problem with these thoughts is that they not only attack our self worth but they start to attack our friendships too. Our best friends become our biggest rivals. ‘What does she have that I don’t?’ and ‘If that was me, mistakes like that would never happen’ start to make an appearance in our thoughts. Comparison gives birth to competition, which becomes a killer of deep friendships.
I have by no means figured out everything there is to know about how to be content with my current lot in life but 3 things have helped me. Firstly, don’t allow those first thoughts of comparison to make a home in your friendships. Unfortunately as women, that seems to be our default setting. Last week Anita wrote a great post on insecurity and being secure in who you are. This is a great first step evicting comparisons.
My second tip is to celebrate with other people as you’d have them celebrate with you. It takes a lot of strength to congratulate someone on having something you yourself wanted. I’d love to have people congratulate me on my successes and I know that starts with me celebrating someone else first.
My last tip is to change our perspective. Instead of looking at all the things others have, take a moment to think of what you have. The truth is, there are others who are looking at your life right now and wishing they had what you do. The world rotates in seasons and sooner or later these moments will fade and a new phase of life will begin. Don’t waste this time by wishing for another.
So at the end of the day, although my questions still remain, there are other things to think about: How can we develop deep friendships free of competition? And, what stories do you have of celebrating others’ successes?