When comparing yourself to others becomes harmful
I fall into the trap of comparing myself to others far too often. Like, it’s almost embarrassing how often. I always tell people ‘forget about everyone else, life isn’t a race or competition’ but I can never seem to follow that advice myself.
It’s an unhealthy habit for anyone, but I feel like it’s especially awful when you’re disabled and comparing yourself to abled lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m of the belief that disabled and abled people are equal and can accomplish the same incredible things. I 1000% stand (sit) by the fact that we should all be held to the same standard and that for the most part, we’re all pretty much the same. I’m just like everyone else, disabled people are just people, etc etc.
At the same time, though, there’s no point in denying the fact that my life will never look like the life of someones without Muscular Dystrophy. Our bodies will never be the same and neither will our experiences. A lot of the opportunities my friends get will never be available to me.
Comparing myself to their life is a never-ending kick to my own face because it’s pointless. No amount of motivation will change the fact that my tummy will always be soft and stick out. I can look at their cars and drool all I want, but I still can’t drive one. I can make myself feel like crap because I still live at home but it won’t take away all of the very real reasons why that’s my best (and currently only) option.
It’s a problem because it’s not like I can use those negative feelings to feed any sort of drive to change my life. At least, not any aspects that are related to my disability. My disease is never going away, so letting my jealousy take over can be wildly harmful. It only makes me feel like garbage. About myself, my body, my job, my life.
I think that it’s sort of natural to compare yourself to the people around you from time to time. It’s easy to look at someone else and say ‘hey, I want what they have.’ But as a disabled woman, it doesn’t take long before it just sort of turns into a really gross and ableist inner monologue. Aaaand, that’s a big problem.
I really do mean it when I say that I’m proud of who I am, disability included, but it took years of work to be able to say that. The world doesn’t exactly encourage you to love your wheelchair and your bent, wonky body. The media, the government, and your neighbors are always there to remind you of how awful they think your life is. Sometimes, it’s just easier to go along with that.
But I never want to go along with that. Ever.
So, I don’t want to compare my life to anyone else’s. Not my best friends or my coworkers or the people I follow online. My life doesn’t look like theirs, but that’s okay. My life looks like it should be. It’s mine, and no one else’s to have or judge.
If I can’t move out, that’s just fine. I’ll never have to be alone on a Saturday night and afraid because I heard a creepy noise. If I never drive, I’ll never have to worry about getting a speeding ticket. Sure, my tummy might stick out. The world has been lying to us all along anyway because soft tummies are cute as heck!
Things are different for me. I’ve just got to remind myself from time to time that different doesn’t mean worse.