Lately I’ve been binge-watching the TV show My 600 Pound Life.
My entire life, though at the much lower weight of (mumblemumble) has been about weight. How much I’ve gained, how much I’ve lost, who’s happy with it, who’s not, and the massive helpings of guilt surrounding it.
One of the episodes I watched was about two brothers. The younger one, weighing in at 500 pounds, felt he was still okay because he was 200 pounds less than his sibling. At either weight one’s heart can only handle the extra workload so long. Comparison can kill. Literally.
I know I’ve had a sort of weight-blindness in darker periods of my life when using food as a coping mechanism. I felt like I’d wake up one morning with 40 extra (and surprising) pounds. How and when had that happened?
I’m fascinated by the psychology of things: by our human coping mechanisms, by the ways we can lie to ourselves so convincingly in our willingness to be blind to the truth.
I’m my most handy subject of course, since me-myself-and-I spend a lot of time together. I know the strength of the desire to lie to myself, and how easily I can excuse myself from harmful things I do because of what I don’t do. I spent decades using the phrase “At Least” followed by whatever comparison made me feel better about my life. I thought I was simply looking for the best in others or looking for the bright side of my situation. BUT–I wasn’t looking at my situation or the person, I was looking at the comparison.
I was the 500 pound brother.
If I’m happy with the view I see of myself next to my 700 pound brother, nothing changes. But if I look at the view of myself only, I can see whether or not my choices and decisions are having a negative impact on my own life and those I love. I can see if I’ve limited myself by making those choices. In the same way that having weight-blindness eventually limits one’s ability to move about in the world, choosing to have emotional-blindness and not face our own pain can limit us from having fulfilling relationships and working toward our dreams.
My Favorite Mental Health Professional calls it “being awake in my life.” Being aware of my own issues, my own health, my own situation. Comparisons can kill when they’re a distraction from facing what’s True and Real. If I compare I can always find someone who weighs more or weighs less, has less money, more money, has a better relationship or a worse relationship, is more ill or less ill…you get where I’m going, right?
Comparisons can kill. Comparisons can limit. Choosing blindness to the challenging areas of our lives can also kill and limit. I can’t promise a pain-free journey to Awake, but in time you arrive at Freedom.
The bring your own beverage conversation: What part of your life do you compare to other people? How does that distract you from the true heart of your struggle? In what areas do you choose to be blind?
This is so true. I just read a book entitled, “No Perfect Moms.” One of the statements from the book with which I really connected was, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.” All of the input we get from television, Facebook, even from observing our own friends and relations skews our own view of ourselves. We forget that everyone elects to show us certain aspects of their lives, and filters out the things they wish us not to see. Yes, I need to stop the comparisons, and focus on the reality of what is inside me; even if that means digging deeper than my own twisted perception of myself, my flaws, my incompetence. I need to give myself the grace to see myself how God sees me.
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So so true! I love that statement too. And I was thinking yesterday about how much less grace I’m willing to give myself than others. Such a great point. Less than and greater than should only apply in math equations, not to people. ❤️
Great topic! My daughter was killing her self-esteem by comparing herself to classmates’ educational accomplishments. At 7th grade I pulled her out of private school to put the blinders on and homeschool her. It was easy combatting thought patterns that were already deeply imbedded, but we succeeded in defining her own sense of self accomplishment independent of where she may fall on the bell curve. She’s now a straight A college kid and has learned how to fight back when comparisons attempt to sabotage her. I think it’s a life long issue, once you nail it over one issue it pops up in another arena so you have to recognize it’s evil little head. Nice job!
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That’s so great! Having parents who so thoroughly have her back is a true blessing for your daughter! It gets harder to deal with those voices the longer they take up real estate in your brain!
What a gift to give your daughter! One that will last forever since you replaced the lies imbedded with Truth! That’s amazing. 🙂
I meant to say “it wasn’t easy”
And I didn’t intend to post 2 comments, but there we go…. lol
I loved how you said we can be so easily lie to ourselves so convincingly because of our willingness to be blind to the truth. I too have food issues stemming from childhood stress and shame, and I needed that reminder not to compare either up or down, but to own my choices xoxo
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I’m glad to hear this made sense to you, Debbie! It’s been a lifelong struggle for me and I may finally be starting to understand it in my 60s! lol