You Will Only Ever Be You

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FOMO perplexes me. Maybe it’s because I’m a pretty crappy Facebook user and frequently have no idea what my friends are up to until I see them in person. Maybe it’s because I’m so absorbed in my own work and life that I don’t give much thought to the things I’m not-doing. Maybe it’s because I’m extremely lucky and privileged and blessed. And I can say for certain that my total lack of FOMO is due in part to my introversion. I have absolutely no desire to do the things that many people want to do. I’d much rather watch Gilmore Girls for five hours and then take a walk.

However, I am just as susceptible to other forms of comparison as everyone else. I get jealous when others reach goals that I can’t seem to tackle myself. I feel like a homemaking slacker when I visit friends’ perfectly decorated homes. And I get insecure about how my body measures up. Fairly frequently.

And that’s natural. We are hard-wired to compare ourselves, our achievements, our belongings. We compare ourselves to others because we believe it will help us understand the world and where we fit into it. We compare ourselves to others because we watched our parents doing it when we were young, and mimicked the behavior until it was ingrained. We compare ourselves to others because we don’t know how NOT to.

But the fact is that no two non-cloned organisms are alike, and no two people are capable of exactly the same things. No two bodies are alike, and some bodies will never be tall or toned or curvy or balanced no matter what extremes are taken. When you compare yourself to another person, it’s not an apples to apples situation. It’s apples to unicorns. You cannot be someone else, you can only be you. You cannot look like someone else, you can only look like you. Everything about you is singular and unique and deserves to be accepted wholly and celebrated when possible. Settling into the home of your essential self can be a huge relief because it allows you to let go of some comparative tendencies. When you know that you will only ever be you, you stop trying so hard to be other people.

Just because she’s successful doesn’t mean that there’s less success available to you. Similarly, just because she’s beautiful, it doesn’t mean you aren’t, too. Other people will have different experiences, different relationships, different life paths. And some of what they have and get and are may tweak your jealousy. Everyone you meet will have a body that’s different from your own. Your body may be different, but that doesn’t make it wrong. It is yours. It is you. And it is marvelous.

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Originally posted 2014-12-18 06:59:46.

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5 Responses to “You Will Only Ever Be You”

  1. Lisa Wong

    This is so true. As much as possible, I try to channel the energy from unproductive, unhappy comparisons into productivity and contentment these days.

  2. Trystan L. Bass

    I don’t see fear of missing out as much about personal comparison as about loneliness & social isolation. Literally, missing out on being with people. You see others posting on social media about all the fun things they’re doing, the places they’re going, who they’re with, & you realize you’re not with them, you’re not there too. It can hurt because why weren’t you invited or why aren’t you out & about on your own good times w/other people?

    There’s some comparison, but I guess I don’t see it as a problem of self-esteem & being happy with who you are. I take FOMO at face value — you fear missing out on the event that could happen without you. As a big user of lots of social media, I’ve experienced it & I’ve seen it in others. But I’ve seen it offline as well. At family gatherings, someone will reference an event that everyone but X went to, & X later confides in me that he wonders why he wasn’t asked to be a part of that event & feels left out. So now, X suffers FOMO about future family events, it becomes cyclical.

  3. crtfly

    Ha! I didn’t even know there was a name for it, FOMO. Fortunately, this is NOT something I am afflicted with. I am much to busy, otherwise engaged, and perhaps selfish to even pay much attention to what’s happening in the social parts of the internet.

    I’m not very social anyway. I prefer singular pursuits or activities with a few close friends. Anything earth shattering that I really need to know about, I will.

    Besides, this life is way too short to spend precious minutes worrying about how WE THINK WE don’t measure up to others.

    Chris

  4. Katie

    Yes Sally! “Apples to Unicorns” is a vision I can keep with me forever and call to the front when I need it most.

    I’m also learning through the journey of comparison that something I am jealous of on the outside may not be so shiny and enjoyable when living it. And in the end I may not even want it when I see the whole picture.