Is comparison keeping you financially stressed?

Sometimes we see others who seem to have it all…we somehow feel inadequate in comparison and think we need to try to compete.

Let me tell you a short little story:

I have a friend who seemed to have it all. Great looking guy with a great personality, great beautiful wife, 2 healthy happy smart good-looking children, even the cute dog. They lived in a gorgeous house, drove expensive cars, took amazing trips and had a lot of fun adventures with family and friends. They worked lots but played even more.

Sounds like the dream life right? I mean, as a friend I knew they had their difficulties but we all do so it seemed they had it all and were living the dream life. I was so very happy for them because they are wonderful people, but…there’s always that little thing…butting in…isn’t there?

Comparison. I wanted what they enjoy too. I didn’t wish for them to have less, I just wanted to have such wonderful fun, friends, adventures, gorgeous brand new built together home and relationship too.

When the facade all fell apart I wasn’t surprised about the relationship ending. It was sad, but I knew they had struggled for many years.

When the facade fell apart I was surprised how much stress and strain they had been under. No wonder they had such difficulties.

The house got remortgaged every 5 years and they actually borrowed more each time to afford the trips and adventurous lifestyle. Every year the debt was increasing monumentally. The parade of new cars, new toys, exotic trips, new addition to the house, and the shopping seemed to show their success, not their decline of relationship and finances. The need to spend and distract themselves from the truth got even worse as time passed.

They needed those glamorous trips to get along and have something to look forward to. They needed those trips and nights out with friends to have something in common, to distract them from the unbearable financial strains. They needed to have fancy cars, house projects, the instant gratification of shopping, all in order to fill the voids within themselves and their relationships. They seemed beautiful and perfect, but their life only looked that way so they could avoid the ugly truths inside their unhappiness. They treated each other well, but it still fell apart under the strain.

I realized their life wasn’t much different from mine. I could fill my closet with pretty stuff, but if I didn’t like myself, the clothing couldn’t fix the problem. If I wasn’t worried about the debt load, I could shop and have all of the stuff they did too. The fancy car and house would be fun to show off until some new car came out and I had to buy again in order to get that same attention and feeling. Did I want my relationships to have that hollow comparison mentality? Did I want to have adventures with my loved ones because we couldn’t really love without the pretending and distractions?

Would that make me a better person? When the facade fell, would I be able to handle it? Would I live every day afraid someone would discover the truth and the real me? Would I have to work harder every day to pretend to be someone else for people who didn’t and couldn’t love me anyway because they would never know the real me?

It is great to have goals. Striving for success is good. It is great to have adventures. New clothes can be enjoyable and lift you up. Having role models and seeing what lights up your soul for a lifestyle is important.

Remember though… You are enough just as you are.

Yes, it is true: YOU ARE ENOUGH JUST AS YOU ARE.

If you don’t learn to love yourself, all the trinkets and finery, all the flattery and pretending will only make you temporarily feel happy. Afterwards you may feel like a fraud or try to hide from that emptiness within….Shopping again for the quick fix to push away what is really bothering you.

That is why it never lasts long. That is why you never feel content. You are stressed out chasing the next shiny object, comfort food, work til you drop project, whatever distracts you or gives you positive quick attention. Hoping your attempts and those shiny objects may cover up the ugly truth and shame.

You can never run from your problems, they are always waiting for you when you turn out the lights or look in the mirror. Learn to befriend those quiet moments of contemplation. Learn to see your past does not own you. Learn to see you are loveable without all of the bells and whistles. Learn how to love yourself anyway.

Don’t spend the money you don’t have to be the person who really isn’t you anyways. That person always needs something new. That person is always hiding or pretending.

Life is so much easier, simpler and happier when you live a life more in tune with who you are and who you really want to be. Then, when those great adventures happen and that new goal is reached, you can truly enjoy it and live in the moment. You can live a life worth living without trying to keep up with the Jones’s and worrying if today is the day your credit will be denied.

Tracey, GYST2020

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