“You’re comparing your inside to other people’s outsides”
I was talking with my colleague, Gail Shaver, when this line came up in conversation as something she had said earlier that week.
It sounds pretty obvious as one reads this, that this would be an unfair comparison, doesn’t it?
Not so obvious to live.
- gone into situations feeling really inadequate, wondering how long it will take others to find out you’re in over my head as you prepare to work with this new team…only to find out later that others thought the same about themselves.
- walked around in stores during times of dark, black grief looking at all the other people leading happy cheerful lives while swamped in pain…only to overhear a casual conversation between two friends who have bumped into the other…one sharing a recent tragedy with the other.
- looked around a room, at a party with people who are talking and visiting…and looking all “put together”…feeling like the only “loser” in the room…until in casual conversation another admits nervousness bordering on terror coming to the party. The other confesses feelings of insecurity that mirror yours…and you find out you’re not the only one in the room
- admired a “put together” family from a distance, noticing how they have it all together…and feeling kinda lumpy and unsuccessful compared to the white-picket-fence life they seem to have…and then hear a while later that the family exploded in divisiveness.
We know our insides intimately, and are often our own harshest critic. We can only see in others what others choose to let us see…and who doesn’t put their best foot forward in public?
But then the comparison, as if comparing our inside with their outside, if considered equivalent, has us feeling inadequate and inferior.
Comparison’s aren’t generally helpful at the best of times…this is one very classic reason to stay away from them.
Release yourself to be yourself…understanding that others can’t be aware of what’s going on inside of you, and you can’t be aware of what’s going on inside of them.