Friday, January 9, 2009

I Wish...And The Evils Of Comparison

November 11, 2008

It is late and I have already tried going to bed, but sleep eludes me. The Doc said that if I write down the things that I'm thinking about as I lie in bed wishing I would fall asleep that I might just make it to La La Land. Otherwise they will just keep cycling through making me a very grumpy insomniac. I actually got out of bed last week to write a poem. Crazy. I'm 31 and nuts.

So here is what's keeping me awake at night tonight. Still a very selfish and childish reaction to testimony meeting last week. I have been really down this last few weeks and Sunday was already one of those really hard days. But the fragile since of composure that I was clinging to started sliding down a slippery slope when someone from the ward got up to bear testimony and included a public list of thank you's. Can I tell you how opposed I am to this. It doesn't matter whether it's the Grammies of the pulpit...it is always a bad idea. Thanking one person is different. If you single out one there is less chance of making someone feel left out. But when you thank several you almost assuredly leave someone out. You leave someone thinking man they mentioned everyone by me. The funny thing is that people always preface it with, "I know I'm going to leave someone out"...doesn't common since tell you to stop? Anyway, I felt totally useless and like a total failure as I had tried to make a difference and "be there". So I'm still struggling. Not because I wanted to be publicly thanked but because my efforts didn't make the list of what mattered to this person. I feel like a total teenager!!!

Problem number two. I have been in a total comparison rut lately. Isn't that what happens. You fall into a little depression and it gets only worse when you start thinking about your friends and the things you admire in them. But because you are already down your friends successes and talents make your own seem so small. Again...just a mean trick but I have been all too susceptible to recently. So here are the things I wish I could be...(not going to be a hypocrite and name names)

-the way friend A's children always look for some way to help whenever I see them in public
-friend B's total penchant for unselfishness, seriously she is always asking me how I am and if there is anything she can do for me
-the way friend C's children all love each other and get along
-the talents of friend D
-the gift of Motherhood that friend E makes seem so natural
-the way friend F is so devoted to the gospel and has made it such a focus in her family
-friend G's humor
-the relationship friend H has with her husband
-the way friend "I" can keep it all together and is always on the ball (I lost my purse twice this last week while shopping)
-the way friend J's children sit so reverently in Sacrament meeting
-how beautiful and stylish friends A-J are
-etc...etc...

Wow, so now that I've gotten all that out, I'm supposed to sleep better tonight. Somehow I doubt it.

I read a quote once that is so applicable here. It went something like this. Life isn't just a collection of beautiful pictures but the things that happen in between that get you from one postcard picture to another. This is definitely one of those "in between times".

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is probably more than you need but then since you said you were up. :) By the way I don't know about A-J but you and your family are beautiful in the ways that you can't see but make onlookers jealous...
"The many perils of comparison"

A poor man had no land and prayed to God for some land. God appeared to him and told him that all that he could cover from dawn to dusk would be his land.

The man set off the next morning without sleeping a wink. Though he had covered enough land to satisfy his needs, very soon, he began to run and run filled with a desire to own more land, more than anyone else.

By dusk he had covered a lot of land. But he fell down dead, exhausted.


Usually this is the story of most of our lives.

Desires that are real and are born out of a genuine need will have their own energy and will sustain them.

However, most of our desires are created out of jealousy and have a negative energy.

When we are not able to bear the excellence of others, we get jealous. Comparison is the seed, jealousy is the fruit.

Comparison and jealousy are actually non-existent. We create such thoughts ourselves and talk endlessly on how to overcome them.

Imagine that the room you are in is dark. Can you remove it if you wanted to?

Can you take it to another room? Of course not.

The reason is that darkness has a negative existence. It does not really exist.

If you bring light into a room, the darkness will at once cease to exist. In the same way, jealousy has a negative existence. You cannot deal with it directly. Even if you tell yourself repeatedly not to feel jealous, you cannot overcome it. If you queue up all the people in the world in an ascending order of money, where would you be?

You will be somewhere in the middle. You will not even be able to count the number of people who are on either side of you in the queue. Now, you will have to decide if you are going to look at the queue in front of you and feel jealous or look at the queue behind and feel relaxed and grateful to God.

Everything is in your hands.

We will never face failure if we live our lives competing with ourselves. Win yourself with yourself, never with others.

Every minute of comparison with others is a waste of time in the path of progress. A great problem in the rat race is that even if you win you are only a rat. To stop comparisons, you need to be aware of your own worth; you need to realise your uniqueness without being proud. Meditation leads you into that awareness of who you are and what your potential is.

You will then soar beyond comparison; for you are freed from jealousy."

The Roberts' Report said...

We've all been there. And I absolutely HATE the thank yous and then the long winded story about nothing!!

For some reason after reading this blog I feel like singing...Count Your Many Blessings! Go figure!

Oh and I too have had to write down many a lists so I could fall asleep.

Nicole said...

Jenny-

Ok, so the rest of us are saying I wish my kids were as photogenic as Jenny's. I wish I were as fun as Jenny. I wish my "friends" included me in joy school like Jenny's :) I wish I had as many totaly awesome friends as Jenny. I wish I was as totaly awesome as Jenny. I wish I were as talented and creative as Jenny. I wish that when I knew someone was down on luck, I thought to send a four leaf clover like Jenny. I wish that my siblings/friends looked forward to hand-me-downs from me that are completely more beautiful than anything they had, I wish I could decorate as well as Jenny. From the outside- not having been there for the Thankamony- let me remind you of the Sunday you blessed Katie. It was your last day in the ward and I think about 10 people stood up and had a memorial service for you- crying about how they didn't know how they would survive without your being there. Remember how our family always talked about "can't wait to see Janice's Christmas gift gets here- because we know it will be so pretty." That's how my kids are about everything you send-because they are the best. I am amzaed that you never sit out a weekend- if the weather is good, you always have an INCREDIBLE trip planned. When you showed up to help Jon and I move into our Anahaim place, you even brought lunch- I would NEVER have thought of that. You are probably the most generous person I know. You are definately the most creative and fun. I am almost positive that freind's A-J have MANY qualities they admire in you. I know that sister N does.

The Seaquist Family said...

Not funny, but your post hit home with me. I just told Derek about the same thing...miss you much. You made Washington the best place ever. When I think of coming back, I always have to remind myself that the odds of you being there are slim to none, considering the odds of us coming back are probably slim. By the way, Christian reminded me of the fun Halloween party he got to go to last year at Chase and Emily's house. Pretty good memory. It obviously made a lasting impression! THanks for too many things....and know you are not alone.

Heather said...

Ditto to what Mary said. You most definitely are not alone. Even while reading your list of friends, I'm imagining (though I shouldn't be) who you are talking about and thinking, I wish I was more like that person too! It's so easy to compare our weaknesses to other's strengths. And from personal experience I know that no matter what you see on the outside, that person could be going through their own valley of death and just be really good at hiding it.
One more thing that I've learned...several years ago while trying to "work through" negative and powerful feelings, what I ended up doing is just solidifying those thoughts in my head and making them easier to go to in the future. How I wish I could go back to that time to stop those thoughts from expanding. I fight with them to this day and it has given me a personal testimony of the hymn "I Need Thee Every Hour".
So I guess what this comes down to is this. Trials stink. They just do. But if it means we become more dependent on the Lord and pull together more to help each other then what a blessing they are. I know this is all so cliche when you are in the midst of it but please know that you are loved and admired by not only myself but countless others.

Sarah said...

I think I'm friend K. Why'd you leave me out? =)
Just kidding.
You're wonderful, and the sun will rise again. When it does, you'll appreciate it even more. And you'll always be there, at the ready, helping others. Because that is simply the kind of person you are.

Honeycombs said...

Well, I am pretty sure that I won't say the right thing here...but I think you are wonderful!

sixlayerdip said...

Awww Jen, you are too hard on yourself! You are WAY COOL! Plus, I just got the same camera as you...doesn't that prove that you're cool! :) You are a budding photographer and give me hope that one day I will know a bit more! The FIG dinner wouldn't have been the success it was without you! You know that's true!! I mean that is a plain fact! You do SO much good. And I'm very glad that we are getting to know each other better!!

Anonymous said...

Jenny,
Wow what a heartfelt post, and was so good to hear what your friends wrote back. You have a way of touching people. You don't need others to valadate you, you are totally awesome. Your energy dazzles me. You have tons of talent and you know it. And you are loved.
Love
Mom

Jamie C. said...

I meant what I said when I said that you are the most thoughtful friend out there. Always looking for a chance to serve and make others feel good and wanting the best for your friends. It's an amazing trait. Everyone has their "in between" times, some are just great at hiding them. But everyone goes through them, I'm sure more than we all think!