Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ON FUN ~ Try These Shoes For A Change...

Image courtesy Philippe Jacquet @ www.photos-phil.com

At the age of 45, writer Regina Brett wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer listing 45 lessons that life had taught her thus far. As a breast cancer survivor, many of those lessons were learned the hard way. Five years later she added five more lessons rounding her list up to 50 and turned her popular list into a book called God Never Blinks. I found her list to be entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking. I thought I would go through each of her lessons learned and write about how that lesson has or has not come up in my own life, now that I am 40 and feel old enough to have finally learned something.

"Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about."
~ LESSON #13

Wow. I was totally just talking about this very lesson with my dear friend in the blogosphere, Susan from Bear Swamp Reflections. And I swear I wasn't peeking ahead at the 50 Lessons. I look at the list as I write, not far in advance. I am a firm believer in this very lesson. I think it would make a fine motto. It is very hard to live this way, but when you do, things like jealousy and feeling sorry for yourself disappear.

We never really know a person unless we have lived with them their entire lives. And even then, it is still difficult to know them completely. The only other way to know a person is to wait for them to tell you their story. And trust that what they tell you is the complete truth. When you have that information, you can better relate to what it feels like to walk around in their shoes for a moment. Only then can you see how what they've experienced relates to what you have been through yourself.

People like to hide things. We wear masks. It protects that inner core but can also give off the wrong impression. Be careful what you reveal, but be even more careful about what you hide.

The fact of the matter is, we all have struggles. Mine might be of a different nature than yours, perhaps less horrific or not as lengthy. But to judge my struggles against yours is not fair. The worst of my struggles might be just the tip of the iceberg of your world of worry. But my worst still cause the same emotions that your worst does. It is all relative. Not equal. Just relative. And no less valid. It isn't a contest of misery after all. That's one of the few things I don't want to win.

And then there are folks who seem to have it all. They have all the things that you deserve but don't receive. But before you begrudge them, think about how they led their life before you discovered them in their happy place. How do you know they didn't work their tail off to reap these rewards? What kind of sacrifices did they make? What trade-offs? Don't be jealous. Maybe they deserve it and you should be happy for them. To know that sometimes the good guy does get what he deserves. Maybe they are spoiled brats. They get what they deserve too you know. They've often got that mask on to hide their imperfect world behind the fame and fortune. Struggles you would never consider surviving through to have material things that cause more trouble than they are worth.

No. We don't know each other. I don't know where your feet have been. They might be in pricey glamorous heels now, but we all started out barefoot. The shoes we grow into and out of along the way tell our real tale. And until you can fit your feet inside of them, you have no basis of comparison. So don't worry about it. Focus on finding your own shoes that make you comfortable and recognize that everyone else is just trying to do the same thing.

12 comments:

Lin said...

I like this post, Molly. And I like to agree, but man, sometimes I'm just beastly and I judge. I do. I'm not proud of it, but I do. :(

LJ said...

I am the worst at comparing my story with others (albeit - in my head). I'm aware that I do it, and then I beat myself up over it. But this is a good reminder for me today.
(Just so you know, I haven't forgotten the angel for your tree)

Matty said...

Molly, you really have your head on straight. Not many people can see others as you do. It is so easy to judge people without knowing their footprints through life.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I love these posts, but I think this one is probably my favorite. If everyone could heed these particular words, the world would be a better place! There are people out there that judge, and it sure hurts to be on the receiving end of it. (But then, if I am taking this advice, I need to forgive them. Who knows why they are this way?)

Dave and Tami said...

Great post! I've found that often the folks who have everything materially - the one's I'm really jealous of - have the same problems, issues and worries that I do, or worse. And most of them would trade the material stuff for an answer or a cure. I agree with Sandy - the world would be a better place if everyone heeded those words. Unfortunately, they don't so all I can do is worry about my own attitude and make MY world a better place. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Turning 40 has made you very wise.

Janet said...

Someone compared my cancer to another's saying "at least your cancer wasn't that bad". Hmmm...

jehara said...

you are a very wise bumble.

Margot said...

I agree, you are a very wise Bumble. It reminds me of my mom's favorite saying to her four kids: "Judge not let ye be judged." (I think it came from the Bible.) She had no patience when we would complain about not having what other kids had. She also cut off gossip and complaints about people. It's true, we don't know what others have been through. And they don't know what I've been through. Respect for others as unique individuals is the key.

ds said...

So true. Both the lesson and your wisdom!

Izzybella said...

You ARE a wise Bumble. I have to admit this is a lesson I can use. I do have the green-eyed beastie inside of me-sometimes she's really quiet and mellow, but sometimes she's a raging pile of obnoxiousisity. I think this is my favorite of your lessons so far.

stacybuckeye said...

Love the reminder that we all start out barefoot! I prefer 3 inch heels now, but that's only cause I married a giant, so don't judge me by the size of my heels.
These posts are always wonderful, Molly. And I always leave my comment knowing I could spend all night typing about it.

Susan said...

Molls, I couldn't have said it better myself! You are a very wise bumble for your relative youth. I think it is very much human nature to judge others and compare their foibles and follies to our own "perfection". We just have to learn how to temper that with knowing that we are most definitely not perfect, in our actions or in our thoughts. Humanity can be beautiful or it can be ugly...we just have to try the best we can to fit it all together like a jigsaw puzzle, and hope we come out on a positive side.

Thank you for the back-to-back mentions!