“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick
When I was new to yoga, my eyes often wandered to other yogis’ mats. At first I looked to make sure I was in the pose correctly, as most of the names were foreign, and everything felt new in my body.
Once comfortable enough to move from pose to pose without looking around, I noticed my eyes again on their mats. While holding Warrior II I got absorbed in the fancy clothing many yoginis wore – skin tight with a funny horseshoe-shaped logo, and magical as it didn’t show sweat – and felt inferior, less legit in my cotton pants and tank from Ross.
Envy screamed as they moved into headstand, handstand, or bird of paradise and the names of the poses don’t even matter, I couldn’t do most and felt like an outsider, like I was somehow lesser because my practice hadn’t progressed that far.
I was so hard on myself, so insecure, and so shy I could barely look up to meet my neighbor. One day, while holding Warrior II with my leg shaking, I heard, “take your gaze ahead, OR close your eyes and look inside.” Bingo.
The judgment of myself and others, the comparison of being lesser than or better, the feelings of being unworthy, all dropped. For just a few breaths, I was in the pose, fully and without regard to anyone else in the room. I heard my breath, felt myself getting stronger, and in that moment knew I was enough.
All I had to do was look inside. And to do that, was to shut off one of my senses.
Just as I shut my eyes in yoga to stay on my mat, in my practice and from distracting myself by looking outward, I will soon be doing with social media, namely Facebook and Instagram.
At least for a while, to take a break, to unplug and rewire myself.
Shortly over a month ago I started a “40 Days to Your Personal Transformation” program through a studio where I teach in Davis. Part of the challenge is to meditate daily, practice yoga, eat mindfully (and give up a vice to this end), and answer questions designed to peel back the layers.
Really, it’s about noticing your patterns and how they make you feel, while developing healthier, more mindful habits.
And man, do I spend too much time looking at other people’s lives through these distorted social media lenses. It’s a mindless habit that sometimes has its benefits (the messaging, or I learn about something), but for the most part, at least lately, it’s making me feel like shit. And I’m allowing it.
A reporter friend put it best a while ago – “Facebook is the ultimate personal PR.”
You can portray yourself however you want. Any social medium, to that extent, is a vehicle for self promotion and just another mask to wear.
And we do that all the time. With the masks. Pretending to be something we’re not. Playing happy when really we’re struggling and lonely. Playing successful and confident when we’re just scared shitless and have a slight case of social anxiety.
There’s no time table, and I may pop back in for work-related posts. Life isn’t black and white, it’s not all or nothing (though I sometimes can be). Life’s about self exploration and awareness. And listening to that voice within.
To hear it, I need to close my eyes. To again hear my breath, feel myself getting stronger, and realize without the validation of others, that I am enough.
I am enough. And so are you.