Thursday, August 2, 2007

being better

I am a very competitive person. I doubt that’s a surprise to anyone reading here because –HA- if you know me at all, you know that I can be desperately competitive. There was that one time, when we had invited some very nice friends over to play Lord of the Rings Risk, and I got so mad I actually YELLED at Friend Husband because I thought he was giving his wife preferential treatment. They didn’t come over again after that. I like to believe, in my chocolate-dipped fantasy world, that them never darkening our doorstep again had NOTIHNG to do with my outburst. Chip, being the ever-loving and supportive husband that he is, tries to agree with me here, and even inserts the ever-helpful, well, they got pregnant not long after that, so their lives didn’t quite match up to ours so much anymore… (Sometimes I even think that I had something to do with said pregnancy – like, they headed home after The Incident and were feeling particularly amorous because of all the undisclosed CHEATING that they uh, … you get the picture.)

I am competitive. And with this, part and parcel, goes this irritating comparison I do between me and EVERY OTHER PERSON ON THE PLANET. Well, I take that back: maybe not every person. But you, and you, and yes – you. I compare myself to all of you. Inevitably, I find myself lacking. I am not as funny as L; or as smart as M; or as beautiful as K; or as spiritual as W; or as good as A. I understand that this comparison stuff is ridiculous and petty, along with being pointless, childish, undermining, hurtful, and dangerous. I recognize that my comparing is rooted in insecurity. If I don’t feel like I’m “good” enough – there must be someone “better”. And there is ALWAYS someone better. A better writer, a better wife, a better citizen, a better humanitarian, a better Christian, a better friend, a better scholar.

In some of my more centered moments, I can put the comparisons to the side and realize that I’m ME and you’re YOU and they’re THEY and we’re all wonderfully individual. In those centered moments I find I’m perfectly at peace being me. I wish I could hold on to that.

There’s another component of this that is strangely motivating – that when I come across someone who just impresses the pants off of me, I can’t help to be inspired—to be better. And (I hope) not in a competitive way—but rather, in a focused and determined effort to BECOME a better person. If I’m unhappy with my vocabulary (and the frequency that the word C-R-A-P issues from my lips), why can’t I change it? Why can’t I become that person I want to be? I hope to find this happy medium – to not wallow in disgust and jealousy over the attributes another has attained; but rather, to strive for a higher state of being: to BE smarter, to BE in better shape, to yes, actually BE a better person.

I’m going to try.


stacie d said...

i love you just the way you are! and now i love you twice as much because you're growing my new little friend in your belly!

The Wife said...

My dear friend. You could never be improved upon. Well, maybe a bit when the Bean is spleening you:) but not even then. I love the way that you are who you are, you embrace the qualities that make you *you* and I would love to be able to be more like that. I think I have been resisting my own personality since I was in utero.

I also think that you are never funnier than when you get all competetive! It's awesome! :)

Bethsix said...

Hello. Here I am reading your archives, just for fun and because I think you're great. I so identify with this post. Well, except for the yelling at friends. Heh. Which makes me a better person than you. (TOTALLY KIDDING HERE.)