Compare, Compete, Confuse

“Compare, compete, confuse.” Yogi Bhajan

Have you seen all the posts on social media about resolutions for self -improvement and professional success in the New Year? There are endless programs to improve your life in every way – lose weight! Re-design your living room! Finish your book in 30 days! Be more politically active! Learn how to be a better parent or have the most perfect kid!

While intellectually I know better, I can feel triggered at times into old, critical self talk which focuses on how much more I SHOULD be doing. This comparison does not inspire healthy competition, but leads to distraction and confusion about what to focus on and dropping the ball from what REALLY inspires me.

Comparisons also happen a lot when faced with cancer and it’s aftermath. While going through treatment, you often hear about how others manage their cancer experience: Mary just “breezed right through it,” Sharon “rode her bike to chemo,” and Leslie “treated radiation like nap time.” Well, good to know but VERY different from how challenging many people find the whole experience.

After active treatment, survivors often feel they should be “over it” more quickly than is realistic and loved ones can encourage this view because they want you to go back to “normal” quickly.

Ten years after diagnosis, I want to remember a few things:

  • Go at your own pace. Treat fellow travelers on similar life paths with respect and maybe affection, but don’t let their steps knock you off your stride.
  • Be present with people when they are speaking to you. Especially your family. Nothing is more important.
  • Enjoy every chance to move your body. Don’t take this for granted.
  • Meditate every day, without judgment about how long or how perfectly.
  • The day is not wasted if you’ve found pleasure in it. Go out to dinner, see a movie, read a novel, show up at a party, appreciate the beauty of nature in your neighborhood, take a nap, play Monopoly with your kid. Laugh.

Healthy pleasures boost the immune system and make life worth living!