Until not so long ago, my life had been a constant exercise of comparison and judgement.
One of the stories I told myself was that I had to achieve to please. To be worthy I had to be awesome, at everything, all the time and one way I judged my value or success was to compare myself to others.
I thought I was ‘made that way’, that this constant need to prove myself was a built-in character trait.
More recently I’ve decided I was trained to seek approval, and that many of us are.
At school we are sized up, compared, judged and labelled according to a standard rule. We are rewarded with praise and awards when we meet or exceed those standards. Those labels and judgments then follow us into adulthood – we are either a high achiever, smart and successful, or not.
As a journalist, I was only as good as my last story, so every day in the newsroom you’re trying to out-do every other journo as well what you did yesterday. You’re judged daily by readers, leaders, editors and your colleagues. It’s just the nature of the game, but it reinforces the need to achieve in order to feel successful.
As adults, we start judging our worth and success according to more shifting standards set by … who? Advertising? Marketing?
And that is how we get caught up in judging the value of our life.
It’s a good life when we meet a standard set by academic achievement, TV advertising, and bank balances. It’s a bad life otherwise, and when it doesn’t meet the standard we buy into the emotions of a perceived failure. That our life is no good, or not as good as it should be.
We judge our life by our circumstances. But life is actually you.
Your circumstances are just a moment in time. A surrounding. There is always going to be someone better off than you based on circumstances, and someone worse off.
Despite your circumstances, you can choose to see life as a miracle and wonder, or as a hassle and struggle.
It’s not our experiences that make our life – that’s just ‘stuff’. And we don’t need all that stuff to define our lives in any way.
You don’t have to buy into the drama happening around you. You can choose to just be a witness, not a player.
Life is energy. Life is miraculous. Life is a gift. Life is simply the fact of being. We can switch off from the stories we tell ourselves about our circumstances, and instead choose to celebrate our unique, fleeting place on Earth.
[quote style=”boxed”]Forget about your life situation and pay attention to your life. Your life situation exists in time. Your life is now. Your life situation is mind-stuff. Your life is real. ~ Eckhart Tolle [/quote]