Last night leaving the office, I was walking outside with my coworker friend and closely followed by a brand-new coworker. Coworker friend and I were discussing the latest audio book I was listening to and the new coworker asked what we were discussing. I commented that if she hears talking coming from my monitor area, it’s likely I’m listening to an audio book. She replied that she’d rather read a physical book than listen to one, and I mentioned I do that too, that I’m in the final pages of “The Complete Works of Dostoyevsky”.
She stopped and looked at me, gave a half laugh and threw her hands in the air, saying, “You’re so much smarter than me!” The three of us had a good laugh.
I got into my car, however, and I was taken back to my teenage years when my sister used to sigh/heave/cry/yell, “You’re so much smarter than me!” But, from her it was never uttered with a laugh, half or otherwise. It was always in dismay, or jealousy, or disappointment in herself.
I couldn’t understand it then, and I still have a difficult time with it now, especially since she’s gone and I can’t ask her about it now that we’re older, and I hope, wiser. What I do know, however, is that as I get older I realize just how much we compare ourselves to others. Some of us do this far more than others. My sister? She compared herself to others a lot. Me? Not too much. We were sisters, but we were clearly two different people.
My new coworker, is fresh out of college, is young, and she is very much still finding her way in the world and how she fits in with all these coworkers who are nearly two decades older. As I sat in the car, buckling myself in, I couldn’t help but think of my past and my sister. But, before I get too bleak in my reminiscing, I’ve heard other statements beginning with, “You’re so…,” which are much happier.
“You’re so joyful!” From a former coworker, who used to walk into the office in the morning and say, “Okay, you can tone down the joy a little.”
“You’re so happy! You’re always finding something to laugh about.” From my coworker friend, because, yeah… it’s pretty easy for me to find the humor in most things.
“You’re so tall!” Now, in reality, I’m only a little above average in the height department at 5’8”, but – that one still makes me laugh.
“You’re such a good storyteller!” Technically not a you’re so, but still something I’ve heard more than once, and I think probably the most important one (to me) that I’ve heard.
But, all of these things are either out of my control (my height) or things I’ve learned. Those things out of one’s control fall into the playing of the cards one is dealt situations. For everything else, we can learn it, we can choose it, but we have to learn to choose things that lift us up and not bring us down. Sadly, none of us are immune from being brought down.
But, I choose to be joyful, and happy, and to be a storyteller – perhaps of tall tales, and I think that makes me pretty smart.
Are you guilty of comparing yourself to others?
What is a comparison you catch yourself making?