What Measures, What Matters?

BrockaHealth & WellnessLeave a Comment

It does not matter who you are, where you are, what you do, or what you are trying to do, the fact is, there will always be someone better off and someone worse off.
The truth is, we may have standards for other people but we give ourselves even bigger ones. When we don’t meet our own criteria, we feel deflated or beat ourselves up inside; and when other people fall short we are often too quick to cut them off. First impressions are involuntary, but making the effort to learn more about the situation or a person, more often than not, we find it worth the while. People are more tender than they project. In the same vein, we should speak more kindly to ourselves and be more patient with what we are trying to achieve..
So yes, I have high expectations for myself. I also expect a lot from people. Thankfully, the older I get the more I have begun to question this, where has it come from, and why do I even use this gage in the first place?!
Goal setting is paramount to living a fulfilled life or you are just ‘trucking along’ and not deliberately seeking to enrich it or feel joy from the results of accomplishment or personal growth. That is sad. By the other extreme, trying to measure up to all the stimuli or perceived success of others, is ridiculous and arbitrary.
In our sensory-overloaded society we are bombarded with the lives, images, successes and failures of every other human in our conscious sphere, whether a far off celebrity or a family/friend on a facebook page. It is an involuntary reaction to compare. Reality TV has become so popular because it shows all the similarities of screwed up, normality or just the extreme examples of abnormal behavior, which in-turn makes us feel more normal and sane.
Comparisons can be appropriate for gaging our own capabilities. Endurance sports are a great example; it may be possible for the human body, but I won’t be setting my fitness goals there. I know what I want in this part of my life. Competition can be healthy if we use it to to elevate our own skills and set higher goals. Out of all world religions, the Torah teaches Jewish people that envy can be used beneficially if it inspires one to be better.(of course, during the time it was written, I am sure being a religious scholar was the highest goal.) By seeing the success of an athlete or benefits of eating a healthier diet, we may increase our speed in running or start making leaner food choices. Our neighbor may have a beautiful yard, so we start a flower bed in our own. Good can perpetuate good. But other forms of competition stem from jealousy or potential threats (dating), or simple immaturity. The peer pressure in youth trying to fit in (wearing a style even though it is uncomfortable) or the adult ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ are the worst types of these examples. We see in our broke society people living beyond their means in constant stress and heartache trying to measure up.
The antidote for feelings of inadequacy is being true to thyself, knowing what you want and who you are. This is tough. Instead of the exhaustion that comes with trying to do more, have more, be more…the ‘more’ is already existing when we focus on ‘where have I come from and where do I want to go?’. Yes, be selfish.  Setting reasonable personal goals (call friends more often) and business goals (take a class, be on time, meet quotas) will bring one back to the self. Jealousy and envy come from feeling inadequate; the catch, comparison only increases the perceived inadequacy. Start doing what you need to do to get the results that you want in your life. When you are busy, you are not thinking; you are living and acting in the moment.
So remember, the grass is never greener. It is just different. Every one has issues under the surface being dealt with. Every person has pain and heartache and suffers loss. When we believe we aren’t measuring up, we are really not pushing ourselves to be the best that we can be. It is not selfish to focus on your business, your family and friends, your own success, your health, happiness and general well-being…this is elevating. Keep questioning where all of these measurements derive from, and remember the difference between envy and admiration. Let the best part of yourself be inspired by outside influences.
The outcome will be joy and greater satisfaction.
Then again, I don’t have the older age wisdom of ‘not giving a shit’, too. I’m hoping this phase catches up with me as well. 😉
Trying to measure up is emotionally exhausting and it keeps you from feeling authentic about what you end up turning out anyways. And often when we get to know someone, we realize how similar they are to ourselves and the unnecessary comparisons fall away. Perception never ‘knows’.
The only imperative measurement in today’s society is being able to differentiate between good and evil, definitely not better or worse.

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BrockaWhat Measures, What Matters?

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