Apples or oranges. Liberals or Republicans. Pradda or Gucci. Compare and contrast. You do it. I know you do. We all do. We all find ourselves in situations that we are comparing ourselves to others. People will tell you to not judge a book by its cover but when your at the library what do you find yourself doing? ... Exactly! When you find yourself resenting a person, yourself included, based from what you can see, what do you do? Normally my first response would be to say, "STOP IT!" But now, I have a completely different outlook on the idea of comparing ourselves. Thanks to my good friend Karen Eddingtion. Karen is a Self-Worth Analyst and a Mom Comedian, (her facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/KarenEddingtonupdates/info go like it!). She has studied, reasearched, and written a book about understanding self worth. In her years of study she has found the skill to comparing ourselves is to do so positively because, as Karen said, "That one person matters. We matter!" She goes on to explain that if we are going to compare, than to do so the right way. Karen made a checklist, pictured below, to help with this idea.
Karen asked me to put her checklist to the test for 1 week. I first had to backtrack and realized if I had these skills during my sons surgery I may have been able to avoid self shot shot arrow to the heart. I took my son to have a club foot related surgery. He was born with club feet and this has been our 3rd time trying to fix his feet. I was very worried and very sick that day. The day of the surgery I had the flu...sucks right?! So, I went to the hospital in my slippers, hair just combed to the side, no make up, and in comfy clothes. I looked like death in a hand basket and vomiting in front of the doctors only made things so so much better. :/ Jack was soon taken back surgery and my husband and I were escorted to the family waiting room.
In the waiting room there was another mom. She was beautiful. Her hair was perfect. Her clothes were trendy. She was talking about her cooking and pinterest projects. Worst of all, she was listening to her father read scriptures. Ugh. Major eye roll. Sitting, laying, there on the couch in the fetal position trying hard to keep my tea and crackers from not coming up; I became resentful of this perfect little mom. My thought were, "This must be her only child, the only explantion why she looks so good and has time for pinterest. Her child must be here for an easy surgery, why else would she be so happy?"
About an hour later the nurse came out to get the other mom. "AHA!" More thoughts to myself, "It was an easier surgery. Her child is done before mine. Yea, I have it way hardy little miss molly mormon, little mrs. perfection. Enjoy your prefect little family. I'll just lay here and suffer."
Pretty pathetic, I know. But hey to defend myself, I was sick with the flu my head wasnt all the way there.
Some more time passes and the same mom comes back to the waiting area but this time with her daughter lovingly in her arms. More petty little thoughts, "The perfect little family, with the perfect mom, comes out with her perfect daughter, in her perfect ... oh wait. Is her daughter... missing... a foot. Holy. Freaking. Crap... her foot was just amputated! HER FOOT WAS JUST AMPUTATED?!!"
Wanna know how I felt?
Kinda like that.
I felt like the worst kind of person. Sick or not, I am a bad person.
If I had Karen's checklist before this happened, this is what I could have done.
1. Find the similarity: We are both mothers. We both have children receiving surgeries. We both love our children.
2. Learn: I could have learned from this mother. She was calm and collected, reading scriptures with her family. I prob could have found peace and comfort from reading scripture as well.
3. Celebrate imperfect vs. imperfect: She is not perfect. I now know she does not have a perfect situation. She will have to teach and painfully watch her daughter struggle and triumph in life with only one foot.
4. Make it about them: If only I could have seen her as a mother who loves her child. A mother who, just like myself, is genuinely concerned for the welfare of her daughter.
Going through this humbling experience and then learning how I could have better handled the situation, has better prepared me for the next time I find my self comparing myself. Thank you Karen. Thank you for teaching my that I don't have to just stop judging the covers of books, but rather to love them all for who and what they are. The number one most important principle I took from all this was, we are all children of God. We do matter! We matter to the world. We matter to ourselves! We matter to our families! We matter to Heavenly Father! We matter! I matter!