- Amanda Cressman, N.D.
Your job is to be you!
We so often talk about stress and the effect it has on our lives. As a Naturopathic Doctor, stress is an important piece to identify in addressing the obstacles to wellness. Whether it is a physical, mental or emotional stressor...the same cascades of reaction go off in the body and we are affected.
On my intake forms, I have a question that often highlights where one source of stress comes. The question is: What is the most misunderstood aspect of you?
It's an interesting question and is often left blank. The rare individual feels understood, but the majority feel very misunderstood and this causes great stress. Some of the most common answers revolve around comparing ourselves to others and hoping to be perceived as though we have it all together like, whomever it is we think does.
The comparison game is as old as time, I imagine. We are humans who judge, compare and aspire to be like others. This can be positive, helpful and motivating...but often it tips the scales in the opposite direction where self talk is brutal, unkind and disapproving of self. Most of us have played this game or are active players. Feeling like our bodies are not as fit or healthy as that person in spin class that we ride beside, our skills at work are not as strong as our coworkers, our relationships are not as fun as that friend who is always out socializing and so on. I find the comparison game annoying and depleting but yet it's hard to not take part at times. But then I read something that helped shift it.
Joseph Campbell once said, "the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."
We each have a job and that is to be who we are. We teach children this, we actively remind them to be who they are, embrace it, love it and know it's enough. Where and when did we forget this? That throughout our lives, this is one of the most important jobs we have...to be us and stop playing the comparison game where we can come up short. In the poem Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, he reminds us of this concept, "If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."
So what is it that you could do to compare less and accept yourself more? For me, something that really helped was closing down a social media account. As wonderful as these sites are for staying connected, for me, it tipped the scales in the direction of comparison and I never felt good after browsing. Find out what it is for you and do it. Your job is to be you, no one else and the sooner we own that, the happier and less stressed out we will all be.