Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Comparison

I have heard a lot of people saying "At least it's not..." and enter your own disaster of choice here. And there is a point to that. I understand that. However, right now, to me, a comment like that - as simple as it is - is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

To me saying something like that implies that your own experience is not important - that it is but a trifle and does not matter. Being a person who spent years (and I do mean years) minimizing her experience, and comparing her life to others, that comment today makes me very sad and angry. Why? Because even if you are a person who has had opportunity or has not faced a major disaster (as perceived by the popular culture - TMZ gossip not withstanding here)why do your experiences - which helped make the person you are - have any less value than someone who has had hardship? The answer is - for me - they don't.

I had a friend that had a major series of strokes. Her doctors told her mother she would never hold a job again - never be independent. Ha - she proved the doctors wrong. How can my life and what I have experienced ever compare to something such as she experienced? It can't. I can only respect and admire what she has accomplished

However, does the fact that I have never come back from a sever disease mean that my accomplishments are any less important? No. I have faced my own challenges. I have come back from an eating disorder and depression. I face a stigma since my illnesses were mental (some would carry it so far as to say that I chose those paths for attention. I didn't need to go there to get attention!). I have come back from minimizing my existence and dealing with severe depression and now am enjoying life in fulfilling ways I never imagined. That, to me, is something to be proud of.

I am working on no longer comparing my life to the lives of others. It gets me nowhere really. What I prefer to do is to look at people I know and observe things that I like about them, and figure out how I can emulate those traits and attributes to enrich my life. I am grateful to all my TNT family for showing me about loving and living life - even though they didn't know I was learning from them. I admire my entrepreneur friends that throw caution to the wind and go for their dreams - I am working on getting there some day! I love reading about the travels of my friends and family, even if I am green with envy. I am planning my own trips and experiences, and may add some of yours to my list! I am listening to people as they tell their experiences as there is insight which adds to mine, and I just enjoy hearing what other people experience - it's completely different from my life.

And so I can not directly compare my life to the life of anyone else. But we can relate experiences and realize the basic feelings of being human. And we can appreciate each other for what we are. We both have value, and our experiences have value. And we can use our experiences to guide us on future endeavors.

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