“You make me feel bad about myself,” she said. “How am I doing that?” I asked. “You have your life together,” she said, “and mine sucks.”
I felt bad that she felt bad. I felt bad that she thought her life sucked and that somehow I had something to do with it. I didn’t know her well, so I didn’t really see that I could have much impact, but apparently I did. And, frankly, I don’t know anyone who has their life completely together.
I began to notice that she blamed others for the way her life was going, and as a result, she felt powerless and miserable and was looking for others to commiserate with. She’d talk about other people who were doing well, looking for ways to tear them down. “If I had that money, I’d be successful too,” she’d say. But you could fill in the blank, everyone else always had the edge. I started to notice that when I left our conversations, I felt down too.
Before I set out to create my own version of my best life, I was the doldrums myself. I lacked an abundance mindset, even though we lived well, I never appreciated it and always wanted more, I had an unhappy marriage, and was deeply lonely. I looked at my friends who were doing well, and wondered how they did it and how I could do it too. For a while the secret to living well eluded me.
Having a life that sucked seemed easier than all the stuff I’d probably have to do to make my life better. And yet, it felt somehow inauthentic not to work toward figuring it all out and being happy myself. The fact that other people were living well gave me the hope and inspiration that I might be able to live a better life too.
Living my best life meant I had to take the time to figure out what I really wanted and let go of the rest, take responsibility and make changes. It was scary at first. It meant making decisions and taking action. It meant staring down fear, doubt and self limiting beliefs. Sometimes it was lonely, especially at the beginning.
As I have progressed through this journey, I have tried lots of things, some worked, some didn’t, but in the end, I figured out how to live my personal version of my best life, and encourage others to take the time to figure out what their best life looks and feels like, and pursue it. No two “best lives” are alike because no two people are exactly alike. When you look at it from this perspective, comparing and competing don’t make any sense at all.
One of the things I discovered was that it isn’t really hard to actually live your best life, what’s hard is narrowing down what we really want, having confidence in our vision, believing we can and should make it happen, believing we are worthy of all things amazing, perseverance and making adjustments as we go along. Living our best life doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes, nor does it mean we won’t have difficult or challenging times. It does mean that we hang in there and make the best of what comes.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
When I hear people say that I, or someone else “make” them feel bad about themselves, I am reminded of this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. Whether we feel bad because someone is doing well and we are not, or someone has said something unkind to us, we have the choice and the power to transform feelings of inferiority into inspiration, or perhaps realize that we are not inferior; just different, and different is perfectly fine.
The things that people say and do still sting a bit, but on closer look, we don’t have to choose to allow any of it, and we can us it to make positive change in our lives rather than letting it get us down.
I still hear women say they don’t like other women because they “make” them feel bad about themselves, and it still makes me feel sad. I am sad because it’s misplaced energy that could be used constructively. I’m sad because it calls upon everyone to play small, rather than for everyone to shine in their own unique light. And most of all, because comparing one beautiful soul to another, well, its just not right.