I dont know about you, but I have done my share of comparing myself to others, not only in my yoga practice but in life. Whether its been intentional or not. Conscious or not. Imposing standards and expectations on myself not for my highest good but because of bullshit. Expectations of society taking up space in my mind. Expectations of others taking up residence in my being. Or even a “well intentioned” desire to make ________ (fill-in-the-blank … Mother, father, partner, child, teacher, student, neighbor, friend, random stranger, classmate, colleague, the list can truly go on and on) proud of me or see me as worthy.
I, have spent a considerable amount of time and energy focused in one way shape or form on what others think of me.
In some ways those expectations have felt helpful, like a fire igniting me to be “my best”. But I have found that even if the expectations feel well-intentioned, honorable and good…if they are leading me to seek approval, validation, worthiness and love outside of myself…if they are leading me to live a life for the joy of others, its not living.
For as long as I can remember Ive always felt this great deal of responsibility. Ive always seen myself as being a part of making things better. Being someone who wants to “do the right thing”. I worked fiercely and passionately to do more than my part and because this was all for “good reasons”I never saw anything wrong with this practice.
Except I never really realized how tightly held I have always been. I didnt have the luxury to unravel there has always been too much to care for, too much at stake. This may seem silly to some but there’s something about the lyrics from the film Frozen that rings true to me:
“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know”