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“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I often quote this statement by Theodore Roosevelt when I find myself mired in this odd intrapersonal conflict within our own minds.

It seems that we all-too-often find ourselves questioning our value, our abilities, our intelligence, our worthiness, our belongingness, our accomplishments, and the list goes on . . . perhaps the better question might be: “Why do we continue to do this to ourselves when it is only based upon our perceptions of what we think someone else is like, what he or she has done, or is in the process of doing.”

This incessant comparison becomes a litany of things that we repeat to ourselves in the self-imposed belief we are incapable of doing (should/not do) and/or (could/not do). Perhaps even worse is that we witness others reiterating the same or similar doubts to our own. 

Comparison and competition have become an integral part of our individualist society but what if we would simply allow ourselves to see ourselves as others see us in comparison to how we think others see us while simultaneously assuming the worst regarding our (perceived) inadequacies, weaknesses, mistakes, omissions, etc.

Reflecting upon what we think are “negatives,” actually presents us with opportunities to learn more about ourselves through our own eyes and not the eyes of others.

On those “down” days, “park” your cell phone in an out-of-reach location, and turn off your computer. Step outside and allow yourself to experience how you are inextricably linked with Nature as well as to gaze skyward to envision your role as a Citizen of the Universe. 

The sixties was a time known for “tree-huggers,” and that practice continues today through humans deliberately making sensory contact with trees and plants.

As another example which originated in the Japanese culture which is known as Shinrin-Yoku, and translated as “forest-bathing,” continues to be popular today across many cultures.

The practice of Shinrin-Yoku involves immersing or surrounding oneself in an area that is very densely tree and plant populated to become engulfed by a sensory and haptic experience. 

Dr. Mary Ann Markey