I've been thinking a lot lately about the groups of people I refer to as "the exceptional".
I think it is human to compare yourself to the exceptional. Not their entire lives but the parts that make them, well, exceptional.
I have a family member with whom I grew up very closely in age, grade, and friends who is now pretty loaded ($$). Which is great for them. They work very hard, etc. But how do I NOT compare myself to their wealth and abilities? Their children are very similar ages to mine, their needs are similar, and so on. On the scale of global human wealth, I am extremely fortunate. Yet... I feel this "exceptional" often in comparison to my own.
I have other family members and close friends who have more ideal bodies and more exceptional beauty. It's always been the case. My entire life, through grade school to college and now, I have somehow been drawn to the most beautiful friends; I am the funny friend (and yes, in real life, I am THAT delightful). I have felt myself compared to sisters and their beauty and thin bodies my whole life. I feel it still. On the national scale, I am average. I have no major deformity. I am incredibly blessed. But still, I occasionally notice the difference between those more exceptional and myself.
The hardest point for me, lately, is the exceptional cases of medical diagnosis. The stories people share about sudden symptoms leading to a doctor appointment and an immediate diagnosis. And guess what? These people are now running marathons. Good for them. In creeps the doubt, the loneliness and despair. Why is my diagnosis taking so long? If these people can run marathons, eat whatever they want, and don't need ten hours of sleep every night, then maybe I am actually crazy. Perhaps I have a different illness. Or maybe I am just not as mentally strong.
Other have problems and uncertainties, too; Never forget it.
I know that we (I) only choose to see the exceptional in those seemingly more fortunate than ourselves. And if we know of their problems, we savor those misfortunes more than we ought to. What I appreciate most about this hint from home is the "Never forget it" part. It's not just a reminder that everyone aches, everyone bleeds. It's more.
The only way to get over the comparison to the exceptional people is to see us as a whole and not individuals. All people have problems and uncertainties. When I think of us all on a similar plane of confusion and struggle, enlightenment and blessing, I can see that we are all balancing together. It's not an individual teeter-totter, but a massive plane where we are all trying to keep stable. It may teeter over in one well-dressed corner, but then we all shift to bring those we know and love to balance with us. The more I am concerned with who is where and why (and then feeling self-pity or selfishly rejoicing), I am the only one who loses balance.
All of us are confused and struggle; We are all trying to find enlightenment and blessings.
My diagnosis will be uniquely mine... when it comes. My body is mine; my wealth is mine. I am blessed.
Does this jumbled thought-purge make any sense? What do you do to overcome comparing yourself to "the exceptional"? Anyone talk to their reflection a la Stuart Smiley?