Greener Grasses

Trey McGuire
Oh Comparison…such a fun word. There's nothing wrong with a healthy view of where you stand, but what I personally fall victim to is overthinking how my life measures up to others. Or, looking at the so called Greener Grass on the other field.

The word compare is defined as follows: to estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

I’d be willing to bet that we ALL look around us from time to time. We look at someone else’s status, accomplishments, fortune, looks, possessions, etc...and quite frankly, we measure our worth against them. This is true especially in a world of social media (and no, I'm not advocating for, or against, social media…I tend to use it a lot). Yet, on the topic of social media, someone once said that we spend too much time measuring our reality to everyone else’s highlight reel.

Comparison has been described as the thief of joy…and I know that personally to be true. When we spend our energy focused on what others have, do, think, or say, we give away the joy found in the things that we have, do, think, and say. We hand over the power, not necessarily to that other person or entity, but specifically to...nothing. We give our own purpose away to, and for, absolutely nothing. We find ourselves trapped, especially when we compare circumstances, in a never-ending cycle of stagnation.

The other day, I found myself comparing situations with the recent hurricane that hit Louisiana. We lost power for four days, yet we didn’t have any damage. Others in our town lost trees and had damage, but they still had a home to go to eventually. While others south of us literally lost everything but their lives. While others still even lost their life. Why is that relevant? Because, to me, my family being without power was very real. We have a newborn at home, we have been rocked lately with life, we have multiple circumstances that dictate where we can stay, etc. No power is very stressful for us. So, I can sit here and think that others have it worse and I should not be stressed out about my situation, or I can deal with mine, acknowledge the stress, get the help needed, and press forward, then I can help others with theirs. You see, if I compare, I will find myself shaming myself for even being stressed about my situation compared to others situations, therefore, neglecting my feelings. So while yes, your situation, circumstance, or issue may not seemingly be as bad as someone else’s, you still need not look at other people, because when you do, you neglect you. Yes, their situation gives perspective, but your reality is what you see. And it is OKAY to look at that reality. You NEED to deal with you. Once you deal with your reality, only then can you be in a place to help others with theirs. There will ALWAYS be someone who “has it worse”, but your situation is yours, and they are not learning the lesson meant for you, YOU ARE. So, just like you can’t compare the situation, you can not compare the purpose and the influence you will make when you learn what you can from your current crisis. Where does the slippery slope of “they have it worse than me” end? Only at neglect of your current reality. So STOP!

The same can be said about anything when it comes to looking at someone else. They have this and I want that. They got this and I deserve that. They attained this and I’ve worked hard for that. Good. To that, I say celebrate them, or ignore them. When we can learn to filter comparison through celebration, then, and only then, will we truly find what we are looking for in the comparison, and that is joy. When we can be joyful for that other person who seemingly got what we should have or what we want, then are we truly showing our character and integrity. I 100% believe that learning this mindset is why it took us 10 years, plus several losses, to have our new daughter. If anyone knows me they know we struggled to have children…and I spent many a night laying in bed jealous and angry cause everyone else around me had what we desperately wanted. And while it was hard to swallow the pride, I learned that I truly valued the friendship of our friends who got pregnant, and If I didn’t want to lose that, I’d better learn that, even though there is pain, I must celebrate them, cause genuinely I was happy for them. When that began to happen, without even realizing it, the pain began to subside, and joy began to fill it. Joy for them. Joy for the things I DID have. Joy for the life I DO have. You see, when we compare, we narrow our focus onto one thing…that thing that I want or desire. And just like we usually have no clue what is going on in the background of that persons life, they have no idea what is happening in ours. So, comparing our life to their highlight reel, even though it may include something I want, is not fair to anyone…and totally robs you.

Not all comparisons are bad though. Eric, our Vice President, participated in a 24hr POW/MIA run one year. He had signed up for the 0230 shift and running 30 full minutes wouldn't be easy, but he wanted to do it. He says this about the event, "When 0255 rolled around and my relief didn't show, I started to freak out and feel sorry for myself. I then continued to run and by 0310, I was having a full fledged pity party. That's when the names of POWs that never came home being read hit me, I realized in comparison to them, I would "embrace the suck" for about 20 more minutes, go home, take a shower, and crawl into my bed. I did compare my plight with theirs and it made those last few laps seem a little more bearable."

Take it from a guy who is learning all of this, when you put your head down and grind at your own life and business, you begin to create a life that is YOURS. So, if you're comparing today, whether it’s mistakes, blessings, awards, accomplishments, hardships, or whatever…If you want to be a man or woman of integrity and character, and influence others by the life YOU live, then it’s high time you and me both quit looking at those around us and start looking in the mirror. If you need help, hit us up, I would love to go more in depth about this over coffee. DO NOT LET COMPARISON ROB YOU OF THE JOY YOU DESERVE ANYMORE.