I am better than ___________________________ but not as great as _____________________________.
One of the biggest problems TJ and I have is that I always (don't use absolutes, Lindsey), I mean often compare myself to him.
For any of you that know us both, you might think that is slightly ridiculous. When talking to us both, right away you would notice that we are different and have our own personal awkward quirks. Typically I'm louder and he is more quiet. I talk more and he is content hanging out and observing. Our individual characteristics are both valuable, just different.
How can two people that are so different be compared?
Great question. Thank you for asking.
TJ and I like to do a lot of the same things. We are both creative, pretty hilarious (in my opinion), active, have a love for life and people and adventure. Obviously, this is the short list of how great we are.
A lot of the things that I feel like define me as fun, unique, and even...cool...TJ does too. Some of these things we both happened to do separately before we met. If I have to be honest, there are some things that he introduced to me. But practically everything cool we do can be attributed to me, obviously.
They are very significant things too. Things that really matter in life like surfing, snowboarding, music, random adventures, coffee, cooking, design, throwing a great party, and how to be from Southern California.
As our relationship grows, I find that TJ does everything that I introduced to him better than me. EVERYTHING. (There I go on the absolutes again, but I mean, it's true; it is everything). He snowboards faster, trys bigger jumps, rides switch and beats me down the hill. He can really sing and actually (kind of) plays the guitar. He wants to go out surfing every morning instead of staying in bed for some extra winks. TJ is better than me in the things we do together. Not to mention, he has always been more fashionable and good-looking.
I have lost my identity. No joke. I feel like I can't be defined as the strong, fun, awesome, life-of-the-party woman that I am because next to me is a strong, fun, awesome, life-of-the-party guy that seems to do it better.
When TJ gets excited about something, I don't. I want to be different, and if he beats me to being excited, than I can't be because than people around us will think that I am just doing it to be like him. Only one-person excitement allowed.
When TJ compliments my surfing, I can't accept it because I ride a long board and it is so much easier to surf on a long board than him on his shortboard. He is just trying to be nice and make me feel okay about not actually surfing.
When TJ suggests that we go on a fun day adventure and plans it, I hesitantly go along. I didn't think of it. Clearly, I am not as fun as he is.
Rather than being confident in who I am and recognizing the joy of sharing in these experiences with TJ, I have allowed comparison to literally kill me. I want so badly to be special and unique that being married to someone who actually likes to do almost all of the same things as me becomes a threat instead of something to be celebrated.
TJ isn't the only one I compare myself to. I compare myself to you too. You are better at a lot of things. You probably have more stability than me and are better looking. You are aware of your issues and are working through them so well. You have found a career you love or something to work toward that really "makes your heart sing" like my mom always says. You currently are somewhere I am not, doing things that I want to do but can't, with the world at your fingertips. It is all working out for you. I know it is. I can tell because you have the best instagram photos and actually know how to use twitter.
All I want is to be perfect and everyone else in the world is threatening that. By being who you are, I compare myself to you. You remind me of what I am not doing right and how I am missing the mark or that I can't be unique since we are both doing the exact same thing or that my creative party idea is not that creative at all. (Thank you pinterest for giving away every creative idea in the entire world. Ugh.)
I know. It is pathetic. But I also have a hunch that I am not the only one doing the comparing.
The reality is (if you so choose to believe, and it is a choice) that nobody is perfect and every person is unique. Stepping out of the comparison game is liberating. It is the exact step I need to take to actually believing the truth about me. Not defining myself by what I do, but, aw yes, who I am.
Choosing not to compare ourselves to each other takes the focus off of me and places it on you. It gives us permission to see that we are all on this broken journey together, all trying to figure it out. Together we are better versions of ourselves.
“Perfection is shallow, unreal, and fatally uninteresting.” ―Anne Lamott
You're not perfect and neither am I, so what are we trying to compare? Instead let's be truth-tellers, adventurers and supporters on this journey. Let's together see what each of us has to offer and celebrate it. Let's together see how each of us need to grow and challenge ourselves, and lovingly, gently, graciously do so. Let's together live fully and stop robbing ourselves of missing out on today by comparing what we don't have.
The last thing I want to be is shallow, unreal, and fatally uninteresting.
And as a public apology to TJ: I'm sorry for not letting you be as awesome as you are. I guess I'll just start having to be awesomer...