I had a conversation with my husband the other day on our way home from Anchorage. He likes to go several mph over the speed limit. I tend to stay closer to the speed limit and not worry too much about the traffic. When people start passing him, he speeds up. I observed that it was interesting how people tended to do that. He said he felt like he was getting behind. We weren’t going any slower than before. We were going to arrive at home at the same time as we would have anyway. We were not being impeded by anyone else’s speed. How often do we see others and compare ourselves to them in some way, their perfect life, perfect children, perfect job, perfect meal, etc. And somehow we feel like that makes us lesser or we feel we are falling behind in some way.
We are all on a journey, no one is on the same journey, however, everyone’s destination is the same in mortality. I believe in life after death, but even removing that from the cenario for a moment, none of us is getting out of here alive. We go through unique challenge, that really aren’t as unique as we may think. How often does it seem, that we see someone else’s success and think that somehow it diminishes our success or worth? As we go along in life, along with everyone else, we have the choice. Do we stop our progress to envy someone else’s, do we step on and over others to get to the top of the mountain first, the mountain that in the end really won’t matter, or do we reach down and help those around us up? Helping someone else, lifting someone else’s burden doesn’t set us back. It most often gives us the strength to keep going ourselves, and when we help others and then find ourselves in need of help, someone will be there to lift us up.
I love to exercise as you may have read previously, and one comment that is common through the exercise world is, “You are only in competition with yourself.” We need to see, feel, and internalize that. The only person you can change is you. The only person you can control is you. Comparison of ourselves with others is bondage. When we look at others through the perfect snippets of someone’s life we can’t help but be discouraged. However, when we look inside, see the good in ourselves, and are grateful for that good, how ever much or little we see, we can build on that, we can make ourselves better, build ourselves into who we want to be, it’s up to us individually to do so. And once we’ve begun doing that, we can help someone else do a little better, be a little better,which will continue to change us for the better.
I love this quote by Mother Teresa. I received this quote several years ago and it changed my perspective on life:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may just never be enough; Give the world the best you have anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it’s all between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.
We are unique individuals created by God, all on a journey back to Him. To get there we need to be kind and lift where we can. We are all His children and He loves each individual, all of us. Putting life after death back in the equation, we all are headed back to Him. And, in the end, “it’s all between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway.”