But I still need shoes!

“I was sad/upset/complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet” 

photo by Ishtar

A fairly common bit of “wisdom” (pseudo-wisdom?)

It’s supposed to be a reminder to be grateful for the things you have by realizing that maybe what you have isn’t so bad.

A brief aside:

In May, I mentioned a site where another person with Bipolar had a list of the “worst things to say” to people with mental health issues.

Number 2 on the list was

“There are a lot of people worse off than you.” 

Number 3 is

“You have so many things to be thankful for, how can you be depressed?”

To me, these are intimately connected, partly because of the “no feet” bit of common wisdom.

I “shared” a meme on my personal FB page today that said,

“Saying someone can’t be sad because someone else may have it worse is just like saying someone can’t be happy because someone else might have it better.”

A friend responded by saying it’s about perspective, and her life is pretty good even if she doesn’t have everything she wants.

And I get that. It’s great that she feels that way.

There are always things to be grateful for, and it can help to think about those things when you’re down. I’ve talked about working on Gratitude this year; I know it’s good psychologically and spiritually.

BUT. . . .

What if. . . .

Using the shoes/feet metaphor, my feet are bleeding because I’ve been barefoot so long.

So, yes, if I see the guy with no feet, I’m grateful I have feet, BUT, my feet are in still in pain. My feet are in danger of getting infected. I’m in danger of losing my feet.

And if you keep pointing the guy with no feet out to me, it doesn’t help me heal.

I still need shoes!

Continuing to show me pictures of people with no feet and telling me to be happy about my shredded, bleeding, cold, painful feet doesn’t help me, because I still need the goddamn shoes.

Am I taking the metaphor too far?

How about some Real Life examples?

I’m am extremely grateful that when I could no longer pay rent, my friend was able to let me sleep on her floor for 4 months, so I/we didn’t end up on the street. It was amazing that she did that for us, even though it put her lease in danger and strained our friendship at times.

But I was still in a position of being evicted from our home, having no money and no job and unable to see a way out at that time. I was still in a position of having no home for my daughter and trying to keep her in her school for some sense of stability. I am still responsible for giving my child that as a childhood experience/memory.

And then there was a great conversation with my therapist.

At the time, I was taking some hard classes and hanging out and studying with this one woman. She was smart, funny, and very hard-working.

And she was in a wheelchair.

I never asked what was wrong with her; I thought it was something neuromuscular, because she had some fine motor problems as well.

I was comparing myself to her.

I was trying to think, “At least things aren’t that bad for me.”

It didn’t make me feel better.

In fact, I felt guilty about trying to feel better about someone else’s misfortune.

I was talking to my therapist, and she told me to stop, just STOP comparing my situation with other people’s.

Yes, this woman had physical disabilities, but she also had a great support system that helped her with a lot of what she needed help with. At that time, my support system wasn’t all that strong.

Our situations were totally different.

And even though her life had challenges, so did mine!

By trying to compare myself to her, I was trying to minimize my challenges, minimize or erase my problems.

I was belittling myself for not being grateful enough for not being in that chair.

I was not honoring my own life, my own problems, my own path, my own feelings.

I was suppressing my emotions.

None of that is good or helpful for me.

Going back to the original statement that spurred this post:

“Saying someone can’t be sad because someone else may have it worse is just like saying someone can’t be happy because someone else might have it better.”

The point, I think, if I’ve got one, is

Stop comparing yourself to others!

That’s it.

Just stop.

Everyone has struggles, problems, bad things in their life.

You probably don’t know what they are.

Don’t be thankful that you’re not in as bad a position as someone else is.

Try not to be envious if you think someone else’s life is better (that one is so fucking hard, I know! Still working on it. . .)

Don’t tell someone else that they have nothing to worry about because so-and-so has it worse.

There is no better/worse.

There is only different.

Don’t tell me to be thankful that I’m not. . ..whatever. . . like so-and-so over there.

Don’t point out the guy with no feet.

Remind me of the good things I have, to help me think about those.

Remind me that my daughter is turning into a great human being.

Remind me that I *did* finally finish my degree.

Remind me of the times that I took risks and they panned out.

But don’t tell me to feel better because someone else has it worse.

Don’t point out the guy with no feet to try to help me feel better.

Because I still need the shoes!

Business: Networking and Social Media

There are things you are “supposed” to do to promote a business like the one I’m trying to get started here.

Part of that is to “be authentic” (pretty sure I’ve got that down – you guys see the good and the bad!).

And you’ve got to be “present” in social media on a regular basis – I’m probably a little too real there, but not really . . . pushy enough on the selling.

Having “mastermind” and/or support groups with others walking a similar path is supposed to help (when we’re not all comparing ourselves to each other!)

But there’s a problem with that sometimes.

First, I’m part of a couple of great smaller groups – my little masterminds (3 people each!) I love! One has been somewhat dormant, but when we do post stuff there, or talk, it’s good. In the beginning we had a couple of telephone conversations/meetings that really spurred us to get some stuff done.

But the somewhat larger groups. . . .

There’s supposed to be talking about what we’re doing in our businesses, yes, but asking for help, giving help and inspiration, TALKING to each other. . . .

And after a fairly short period of time, two that started out really, really well turned into advertisements for trying to sell to each other. In particular, two or three people that offer great services started spamming several groups at once.

It totally ruined the atmosphere.

So many of us stopped posting because of it.

Recently, a couple of people, including me, have tried to revive the groups in the spirit of which they were intended. And it’s failing.  I know one left in a huff because she felt she was being chastised. Others are just not even looking. Something I posted earlier today only had 3 views out of 79 people who are members.

I posted this in the group that I thought would get the most feedback. Three of these groups are somewhat nested in each other. Group 1 has 700 member, subgroup 2 has 79, subgroup 3 has 51. Everyone in subgroups 2 and 3 are in group 1 and some overlap between 2 & 3. So, I don’t want to post the same thing in all three places – that’s spammy and self-serving, even if I’m not selling anything.

And then there’s Group 4, which is totally separate, but still has a couple dozen overlapping people – so, again, I don’t want to keep posting it in different places.

But I thought more than 3 people would see it where I posted.

And they probably will, eventually. I’m probably overreacting – I do that sometimes, but I’m not the only one that thinks this happens.

Recently, another leader in the spiritual/self-help business community started another of these groups with the stated intention that it be for “authentically” connecting – which is GREAT. But there’s already over 400 people.

I’m afraid that this will start out gangbusters, and then it will die – again.

Maybe not – this woman has a large following and does good stuff, and it appears she wants to moderate the group. If there continues to be moderation, it might be good.

I think that’s the problem with the other groups – not enough moderation.

But why do we do that? We’re supposed to be supporting each other. To SOME extent that means talking about our services, but it should be so much more than that. Talking about:

  • How to find our target audience?
  • Sales techniques that don’t feel spammy, or too salesy?
  • What to do when X isn’t working?
  • Do we need support to get something going? Encouragement not to give up?
  • Help with pricing?
  • Feedback on our offerings? 
  • Testing our offerings out with each other?
Why did it turn into trying to sell to each other?
Where did the support go?
Today, during a nap, I had a dream that I really felt was about trying to build this business.
Last week, I was offered an opportunity that might end up helping me grow rapidly.
Taking advantage of the opportunity is a great risk, and I was really wishy-washy about it.
But earlier this year, saying, “Yes,” to a few things got me some well-timed help and information.
While I’m not making nearly enough money to live on, I have made moves to actually DO stuff, which I had not done in several years previous. 
This help and info got me moving – taking action – which is something I had been scared to do.
So, I spent several days consciously thinking about this opportunity.
And yesterday, I spent a great deal of time in meditation, unsure if I was making the right decision.
I still did not really reach a strong decision. 
But today, I took a nap, and I had this dream.  . . . and this is what I posted to this support group:
photo by cosmic dustbunny
As part of the dream, I was going to go skinny-dipping in this beautiful lake. As I got close to the shore, the  edge of the lake wasn’t nearly as nice as it looked from a distance, but that wasn’t going to stop me. 

I got undressed and started to go into the water. I expected it to be cool, but it was colder than I expected. Still not going to stop me, though. 

I start wading out. The rocks under the shallow water go from being smooth to pointy, cutting into my feet, and the water still isn’t deep enough to actually swim. But I keep going.

The water is about knee deep when I come to a drop off, where the lake suddenly gets a lot deeper. Suddenly, the water isn’t clear any more – it’s dark, almost black. Something moves under the water, and I can’t see what it was.

Now, I am suddenly fearful. If the water is this cold in the shallows, it MUST be even colder in the deep part. And I can’t see what’s in the water. What if there are dangerous animals? I really WANT to go swimming but I’m so scared, I freeze and just stand there for a minute, and then turn back. I’m mad at myself for turning back, but tell myself I will go get someone to come in with me, it wouldn’t be so scary then.

The dream morphed into something else then, in the way of dreams, but damn, if that and the disappointment I felt when waking up isn’t a CLEAR message to keep going, I don’t know what would be.

So, it’s scary, I don’t know where it leads, what’s under the water or where to go next, but damn if I don’t need to jump in and see.




So, I think I need to take the opportunity – if it’s still on the table.

The Jealousy: I Haz It

Right now, I’m fighting the Green-Eyed Monster on several fronts.

Writing

I think I’m a fairly decent writer.

However, I know a guy that can evoke emotion much more strongly than I do in his writing, seemingly effortlessly. I get more out there for others to read, and I proofread more, but he can blow me away with a turn of phrase or a strong emotion.

And my friend D. She writes these long, informative, researched and really good posts three times a week. She’s only been blogging since November last year, and she has only 20 or so fewer posts than I have, and she already gets more hits per post on her blog, has more readers.

I know how she does it. She’s consistent and she advertises it and sends messages and stuff to places and people where/who she thinks will be interested in her individual posts. (Although as I’m updating this for publication, I note she hasn’t posted in a month. I know she’s had some personal things going on, and hasn’t had the energy to write lately).

That is more than I do. I tend to only pimp posts I’m proud of, like the Compliments post and now the Intuition vs. Fear post.

But I could do more. And I’m starting to, now. But I feel as though I’ve been spinning my wheels staying in one spot too long.

I’m also jealous that she *always* has a point, and some research and/or quotes.

I *want* my posts to be more like that, but I tend to . . . whine about my life.

Health & Fitness

For awhile last year, I was doing really, really well. I was lifting on a schedule, counting calories, not only losing “weight” but reshaping my body, dropping body fat. There were so many great people that I connected to on My Fitness Pal that were doing the same things I was doing. And their results were way more dramatic than mine. 
I fell off the wagon, and I stopped connecting to those people. I stopped writing on my fitness blog.
Now when I get emails from the fitness inspiration people I signed up with, I feel guilty and just delete them without even reading them. 
To make matters worse, I’ve gained most of the weight back. Because I’m not lifting, my belly has grown again. I feel sluggish. I hate it. 
It seems like a lot of the blogs I read have this women who are in good shape. I mean, have you seen how hot Marie Forleo is?
Even those that aren’t slender, they’re all talking about eating organic, making green smoothies, going vegetarian or paleo, juicing, hitting the farmer’s markets. . . . and I’m just trying to keep food on the table which means a lot of rice, beans, potatoes (cheap and filling and lasts a long time). . . . 

Money, Career, Business

This one is hard to talk about for a lot of reasons.
I’ve spent much of the last 13 years posting on a set of financial forums. I know how to manage money. But I need an income stream to do it.
And through those forums, I know people. . .  I know people that travel and live part-time in foreign countries. I know people that have the money to travel, that can take vacations, that have homes, and jobs and retirement savings, and horses, and . . .  stuff I don’t have.
And I know this one fabulous guy who deserves everything he has. He has a job that makes damn good money, that he’s really good at (if a bit overwhelmed at the moment), and he just bought a house. Not just a house, a HOUSE. One of those dream neighborhoods, in fact a neighborhood where the median income is $126,000/year – and he fits right in income-wise. This home is huge, gorgeous, lots of trees, a pool, more rooms than they need. . . He deserves it. He’s a genuinely nice guy, he totally loves his wife, he’s very involved with his kid, he works hard, has a great education. And he’ll be the first one to tell you luck had a lot to do with all of it.
But when he was house-hunting, he’d send me pics of these . . . . manors. . . and I’d look around my one-bedroom apartment (that I share with a teenager) and I’d be soooo jealous. I’m happy for him, I really am. And he is the first one to say that it amazes him that he’s arrived where he’s at. I also know that it wasn’t easy for him to get there, and the last two years before now have been pretty rough. But yeah, the green-eyed monster is definitely there.
And business-wise. . .  I’m just starting here. I know that. I’m just starting to sell readings, and I’m writing a couple of things to sell, and I’m trying to flesh out some talks I might be able to give in the future. I’m in the beginning stages.

But I’ve spent the last 6 months completely immersed in reading and listening to amazing people, mostly women, who are already doing some things I would love to do. I look at some of their stuff and say, “I could totally do that!” And I think, “Why haven’t I done this earlier?”

All of these years I’ve been un- and under-employed.  . .. I could have been doing this all along. I could have used some of these techniques for my tutoring business. . . I could have started doing readings years ago. I could have taken courses when I had the money to do it. . . .

The truth is, I wasn’t ready for this until now and I know it. But I keep thinking I could/should be so much further along.

And of course I’m jealous about being able to afford to have someone design a real website and everything. I own my domain name, but I don’t have my own host. I want to use WordPress.org because of all the fancy plug-ins, but I can’t because that costs money I don’t have.

I would so love to get deeper into some of the business courses I’m aware of, particularly Leela Somaya’s new Quantum Leap Your Business course, but I have no hope of being able to afford it.

And teaching. . .  One of the women that I did student teaching with, another math teacher, got a job at my daughter’s high school. If I hadn’t fucked up, I could have had that job, since I knew most of the staff already.

Stop whining, already!

There’s always going to be someone in a better position than I am. Even if I win the lottery tomorrow, someone else will have more than I do.
Someone will always be smarter, stronger, prettier, more consistent, better at something, etc.
That doesn’t mean I’m not good at what I’m doing. It doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t be successful – it just means I haven’t gotten there yet. 
And everything isn’t bad.
I won third place in a video contest and got access to Leela’s Diamond package. I have been able to make a few small investments in the business, and I’m slowly moving towards making it what I want it to be.
I finished one of the TPAs. I didn’t pass it, but I’ve had a conference with the dean of my education department to figure out how to fix it.
I’m on the Board of a fledgling non-profit that deals with addictions.
I was able to get my pet declared an Emotional Support Animal, and now I know that no matter where I move, even if there’s a “no pet” policy, I can have my fat cat with no deposit or pet rent because of that (and I handled that situation timely and well, which is good). 
I’m taking part in a couple of mastermind groups, which are helping me with ideas for the business.
My gorgeous, smart, talented daughter graduated high school last week, and I made a small step towards repairing a relationship with a family member last week.
Some things are moving in the right direction for me, and I need to concentrate on those things instead of comparing myself to others. 
When I started to write this post, a couple of months ago, I posted in one of the Wild Sisterhood forums asking how others deal with jealousy. Only one person responded and she is Buddhist and said that she doesn’t deal with jealousy often. 
I know everyone deals with jealousy from time to time. It just seems like we don’t like to talk about it often. 
Have you had to deal with jealousy recently? How have you dealt with it?