“Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy and scared. Everyone, even the people who seem to have it most together. They are much more like you than you would believe, so try not to compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” Anne Lamott
I love this advice from Anne Lamott. On my dark days, it seems like everyone else is enjoying life and is being productive, whereas I feel confused and worthless. I glance at Facebook, where people announce all of their joys and adventures, and I wonder if I am growing at all. I look at my current life — doing my routines of work, chores, exercise, errands, and so on – and I wonder, “What am I accomplishing? Am I helping other people enough?” Often, I am burdened by my doubts. I feel inferior to the adults around me.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I know, I know. The conflict is in my mind. It comes from comparing my messy insides to other people’s well-groomed, photogenic outsides. I am better off when I don’t compare.
In fairness, on brighter days, I am content. The routine and all that is ordinary simply comprise the stuff of life. I realize that I am not changing the world, but that I do help people in my community in my small but persistent ways. Hopefully, on the outside, I look put together too. Certainly, that is the side of myself that I choose to share with others.
“…Try not to compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” I believe that all of us are muddling through life doing the best that we can. Sometimes we are inspired and we share love. Other times, we are dispirited and are misguided in our actions. Always, there is hope that by caring about others and by accepting their love, we’ll be OK…and even thrive at times. Try not to compare. Find the good in others and in ourselves and nurture that quality so that it can grow. As a teacher and as an individual, that is my goal.