Guilty or Not?

I have several projects pending but nothing new to share right now. So, I came across this post from 2018 and thought it was worth a second showing. For those of you who have already seen it, I appreciate you taking the time to read again…

Have you ever compared your success to that of your friends, neighbors, or acquaintances? I assume most of us have; I know I’m guilty.

If you compare yourself to your perception of others, then the possibility of your self-esteem deflating is great. The negative assumptions you allow to roll around in your mind can be harmful to your mental well-being. Even though the outward appearance seems perfect, it’s exactly that. ‘Seems’ is the operative word.

Is there one method of how you measure success? Essentially, it’s up to interpretation. What does success mean to you? Do you have goals that you’re working toward? What kind of person do you aspire to be? In my opinion, here’s what you shouldn’t do – don’t give dollar signs too much power in measuring success. They can be misleading. Other factors display victory, such as volunteering, honest work ethic, being a loving husband, wife, partner, parent, sister, daughter, son, or friend
The list is endless.

Think carefully how you measure success because the last thing you need is to fall into a depressed mind-set caused by comparing yourself to others. Letting those unfavorable thoughts take control of your mind will only cause clutter and make your life messy. Instead of focusing on the success of other people, focus on what makes you feel victorious. Set some goals and go for it!

Do you have any thoughts on this subject? Any experiences? 
For example, I’ll start by saying that I never attended college post high school graduation. I made the right choice at that time in my life. But for some reason over the years, I turned my lack of college degree into an unbearably heavy burden, frequently comparing myself to those who held that academic accomplishment. As a result, I often experienced my mood shifting into negativity. I allowed those pessimistic thoughts to pull me down, to second-guess my decision years ago, and to negate the fact that I was a wonderful wife to my amazing husband and a loving mother to our two awesome children. If that isn’t success, I don’t know what is!

As some of you may remember, I did a post years ago about returning to school. I was excited and had taken all the English courses (which I loved and aced!) needed for an Associates Degree. Then I began thinking, “Why am I doing this?” I thought deeply about what going back to school would entail. Sure, the diploma would look great hanging on the wall next to my husband’s and children’s. But the thought of holing up behind a closed door, doing homework for the next several years, all of a sudden didn’t appeal to me. Alternatively, I wanted to focus on my family and the interests that I was passionate about. I came to the realization that a college degree doesn’t define who I am. I’m Me with or without it. I still pursue my passion for writing without that specific validation. I didn’t quit, though. I just chose not to continue, but I am grateful for taking that big step onto a campus thirty-six years after I walked across the stage waving my high school diploma. It wasn’t easy. I had to muster up a big helping of determination and courage to be able to sit in a classroom with young students eager to face their future head-on. With this being said, I met some other adults just like me, so I soon grew comfortable in this new setting.

Everyone shows vulnerability in some manner; this admission is mine. Since this realization, I have gladly discarded the choice to “college-compare” because we’re all successful in different ways. And when I acknowledged this discernment, that heavy burden was released, too. I could breathe easier and my mind decluttered of that negativity. The clear view was stunning!

The easy road spirals downward; the challenging road stimulates your mind and nudges you to look deeply within yourself.

Be You!!!
Sending love and virtual hugs,

Lauren 💗💗💗

All photos courtesy of Google images.

35 thoughts on “Guilty or Not?

  1. Jane Sturgeon

    Lovely Lauren, I used to hold and share the same comparison. There were reasons I didn’t attend higher education and they simply aren’t relevant anymore. I ceased comparing. Comparing goes along the same energy as boxing, labelling and judgment and none of it relates to how we are. We flow on and like you, I have relished the courses I have chosen in my adult years. Huge love flowing to you and thank you for a wonderful post where you shared vulnerability. ❤ ❤ ❤

    1. Jane, what you said about the reasons for not attending are irrelevant now, that’s exactly how I feel. I also like what you said about comparing which is like boxing, labeling, and judging. So true. Thank you SO much for your lovely thoughts and I feel the love flowing. Sending much love back to you and many virtual hugs, dear friend. xoxo

      1. Jane Sturgeon

        Lovely Lauren, I always learn something new when I visit your blog and read your posts and poems. I had a flash of insight as I shared my comment with you. I ‘saw’ a lot of the stories that I carry and in truth, they are simply a defence of choices made and paths taken. I thought ‘What a weight they all are!’ Thank you for being you. Oodles of love flowing to you, always. ❤ xXx ❤ ❤

      2. Jane, I can’t tell you how much your words mean to me. Life puts us in circumstances where we often need to be on the defensive, or maybe we walk right into those situations willingly. Free will and free choice, right? At any rate, they are heavy burdens and it’s enlightening to shed them. Thanks again for your encouraging words that start my day in the brightest way. I have a hunch we could chat forever. 🙂 I send lots of love back to you and wish you a wonderful day. I’m truly grateful to know you. 💖💖💖

      3. Jane Sturgeon

        Lovely Lauren, it is a joy to be connected to you. Yes, free will and free choice and what a pickle we can get into sometimes. I hope all is well with you all. Much love flowing to you, always. ❤ Xxxx ❤ ❤

  2. I think we all compare ourselves to others. People usually talk about their positive achievements, but that rarely gives a true perspective of what things are really like for them, so it’s no wonder other people’s lives seem better than ours.

  3. Comparison is deep-rooted in human minds and is evoked by people around us – parents, friends, neighbors, competitors… the seeds are sown through various competitive games and contests. Slowly we learn to steer away from this word and find our own peace but it comes with time and experience. 🙂

  4. A psychological term is ‘Comparison Other.’ That is the one who we look to and determine if we are better or worse off than them. A very deceiving practice for sure.You are right, Lauren. Be you.

    1. Thanks for your insight, John. On the flip side, if comparing inspires in a positive way, I would say that’s okay. But if it works in the opposite manner, it can be detrimental and dangerous. The best practice is not to compare at all just to be safe. 🙂

  5. As I have gotten older, I find myself comparing myself to others less and less… but I can’t claim that I never do it. Even though we might be happy with ourselves and our lives there is always someone out there we can find who is “better” or whose opinion (voiced or not) seems to matter more than our own.

    1. I feel the same way, Janis. As we get older, we tend to feel more comfortable in our skin. Yet, we may find ourselves in a situation where comparing could rise to the surface again. There is no age boundary for comparing ourselves to others. You said it well. Thanks for chiming in!

  6. I love this, Lauren 🙂 I stayed home with my children for 20 years, therefore foregoing a career. I definitely don’t regret it, but comparing ourselves to others who took different paths can sometimes lead to negativie feelings.

    1. Thanks, Barbara, and I’m comforted that your focus was your children, too, just like mine. I didn’t think of a career back then, except for singing, but I changed my mind anyway. I don’t regret my decision, either, and if we find that we’re comparing, we need to be aware and change our way of thinking to a more positive thought. 🙂

  7. I loved this post Lauren, I don’t recall seeing it before so thanks for re-sharing. As you may know now after reading my book Conflicted Hearts, I worked hard building myself a self-esteem, from a young age. I can honestly say I’ve never been jealous or envious of anything or anyone, thus never compare myself to others. The grass is never greener – it may appear greener, but everyone pays their dues at some point. Hugs ❤ xx

    1. Thanks, Debby! I’m glad you liked this post and message. Yes, I remember your story well since it’s still so fresh and I’m grateful you never experienced comparing. It’s not a fun headspace to be in and I’m happy to have bid that mindset good riddance. I like your words: everyone pays their dues at some point. So true. Appearances don’t tell the whole story. Thanks for chiming in, my friend. 🧡🌻

  8. Thank you for the reshare Lauren… its never easy to gather your strength and go back into a classroom full of younger students.. I know how that feels… At 45 I embarked on taking a Massage therapy course in college with my daughter who wanted some company… I thought it would be easy.. Little did I know the course work of the anatomy involved or the weekly exams, that led to the final exam….
    But I was so proud of my diploma, even though I never put it to work.. lol…

    So Well done Lauren… for striving to achieve and make that first step to do so… That is all it sometimes takes.. That first step…
    Thanks for sharing this again my friend…. And never feel guilty… 🙂
    love and Hugs ❤

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Sue, and I’m glad you could understand, too. And yes, usually it’s all about that first step which can seem as daunting as climbing the highest peak. 🙂 Those feelings of guilt and being tempted to compare have since been long gone. It’s called growth which is what we experience at all ages. Big hugs and lots of love to you, too. 💓💓💓

      1. Keep taking those growth steps…. We may all have to step up and out of our comfort zones shortly in order to be able to grow and not controlled.. Wishing you well and thank you for your lovely friendship Lauren.. ❤ ❤

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