While I’m well into my adult years I sometimes have this nagging feeling of being a child inside still. This is not the good childlike kind, it’s the “I don’t have my life together, while everybody else does.” kind. Have you ever had such moments?
As we recently discussed this notion here at Immersion Coaching and agreed that we all knew these sentiments I asked myself afterwards why we all feel like that at one time or another.
There seems to be this unspoken expectation that once you’ve become a “real” adult, approximately in your mid-twenties, you have to have it together at all times otherwise you’re considered childish, which of course is unacceptable. As if not having it together equals not being successful.
I talked to a friend about it. From where I see her she is a wonderful caring mother to three adorable children under 6 years of age, a loving wife and a very creative person. As we discussed the matter she told me she realized how thoughts such as these have the potential to ruin her experience of having children. She said: “I am aware that in order to enjoy my kids I need to slow down, get on my knees and “just roll a ball around for an hour” with them, but ideas such as “Everybody else is doing everything; successful career, extravagant vacations, gorgeous home, loving family, great car, …” can really mess with my head, pull me out of this beautiful moment and make me anxious to get things done instead.” She then stated this interesting observation: “I often think this is a modern problem. I just cannot see a farmer’s wife 150 years ago having this very same struggle.”
I can see this statement to be true. I recognize that a big part of this struggle stems from comparing ourselves with others. Never before in the history of mankind has it been easier and more permanent than now as social media is a vivid part of most people’s lives. It has multiplied the notion of keeping it up with the Joneses.
The unfortunate thing is we compare our internal happenings with other people’s external image and then try to hold it together for the sake of ours.
When you go to the farmers’ market would you ever decide which apple looks delicious enough to buy by comparing it to the lemon that lies next to it? No, because you are aware of the fact that they were never meant to have the same properties.
The same is true for us humans. We were made equal, yet not the same. Whether we have got it together or not is not measured by comparison with others but by living what we wish for.