I had this really long and drawn out post about my intentions for the New Year, but then I decided I should rethink that process and cut straight to the point.
In 2014 my intention is to stop comparing myself to others.
Let me be clear that I thought I was already doing a good job at this, until recently, when I almost gave up my whole career as a yoga teacher. That’s right, this Fall I became disgruntled and frustrated with the yoga industry that I started polishing up my resume convinced it was time for me to get a “real job.” Even participating in my 500 hour teacher training did little to pull me out of what I was feeling. It became very clear that I was loosing my footing on what was important to me as a yoga teacher and student.
I won’t go through the long process (unless you want to hear that and in that case it might be time for my book), but I will say that when I stopped to examine why I was feeling the way I was feeling it all boiled down to comparison. Without knowing it, I was comparing myself to all of my peers in my community and in the digital world and it was making me second guess everything I had so fervently believed in.
My comparison to others was stealing my joy.
I truly believe there is a yoga practice and teacher for everyone. Like attracts like. So you serve the students that appear and be unconcerned by those that choose other teachers. I have never believed that standing on your hands is a prerequisite for being a good yoga teacher, but in these past few months I let my ego lead the way and started believing that was true. Sometimes you have to get all jumbled up to get sorted out.
On second thought, maybe my intention should be to stop caring so much about what others think about me.
When you think about it, they go hand in hand. I wouldn’t feel the need to compare if didn’t worry so much what others thought about me and my ability to teach yoga.
It sounds easy enough, but there’s a lot of work to be done. My first action step in this process is to step away from social media on regular basis and spend more time on my practice, relationships with friends and family and writing. It’s so easy to get consumed by what appears before your very eyes and we are inundated with so much unwanted messaging these days. One of my friends got rid of her Facebook account so she can manage the information she receives, rather than having it flying at her. I think she’s on to something. I didn’t have much access during teacher training or during the holidays and it was quite lovely. I already make a point to hop off the computer at night and on the weekend. Why not do so more throughout the day?
Further, my teacher Dharma says that instead of comparing yourself to someone else you should see them as yourself. For example, if someone is doing an asana that you are still working on, then you think “look, that is me. Look what a good job I am doing!” Instead of the ego driven “why can’t I do that? I’ll never be able to do that. I must not be that good” This reminds me of the Four Keys to Happiness from the Yoga Sutras and one of my favorites too. We are all made of the same eternal consciousness, so everything we experience is already experienced by all. What you can or cannot do is based on conditions from your karmas (previous actions). So you do your best, but know that everything is perfect just as it is. When you get down to the nitty gritty, it doesn’t really matter what you can or cannot do physically, but what’s happening on the inside that matters most.
What are your intentions for 2014? Do often find that you compare yourself to others and how do you move through it?