My life looks nothing like I thought it would. I struggle with that sometimes.
I don’t know where we learn that our lives are “supposed” to look a certain way. I don’t know why we think we need to take a measuring stick to other’s lives and see where ours measures up. I don’t know why we get so lost in the comparison game.
Blame it on social media, society, movies, friends, family, whatever it is, it’s there…this feeling that maybe I’m not quite where I’m supposed to be, or those people over there really have it figured out. Sometimes I feel like there’s a benchmark to meet. I look ahead and see everyone keeping up with the expectations and I’m just a little bit behind, always playing catch up.
I’ve had to let go of how I think my life should look. “Should” can be a dangerous word for me. It usually means I’m motivated by guilt or shame and those aren’t the healthiest motivators.
I’ve had to let go of my measuring stick. I can’t look at life like a race or a competition where people are either ahead or behind me. Instead of choosing to see a line of people ahead of me and me trying to play catch up, I see people around me. Each in their own place, each with their own life, not ahead or behind me, but beside me. All in different places, all on different journeys, with not one being right and another wrong, but just being.
Because where I am is not where you are and that’s okay. It’s a beautiful thing actually. Everyone is on their own journey. Everyone is just living their story and like Shauna Niequist says, “With people, you can either connect or compare, but you can’t do both.” I can look at what others are doing, I can wonder what I need to do to get where I think I should be, or I can just let go and connect where I am and with those who I am lucky enough to be surrounded by.
So I’m choosing to let go of the shoulds in my life. I’m choosing to let go of the measuring sticks and the side-to-side glances calculating who I’m ahead of or behind. I’m choosing to connect instead of compare. I’m choosing to see people where they actually are. I’m choosing to look down instead of around, focusing on my journey and where I am rather than where I thought I should be.
With these choices I’ve found there’s a whole lot of freedom to be had.