6. Compared to What?

 Good morning and welcome to your sixth meditation. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are talented. You have been successful before and have the capacity to continue being so. You are valuable. It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s true. There are simply too many ways to embody each of these abstract concepts for it not to be true. Yet we have a tendency to forget this and instead hold up just one version of beauty, say, as the ultimate and absolute version. And when we don’t fit into that mould nicely, it can cause us a lot of difficulty and even grief. And it doesn’t help that social media is constantly showing us highly edited and so fragmentary and unrealistic depictions of what we should supposedly aspire to be. If you’ve fallen a victim to holding yourself up to these unreasonable standards, don’t fret. We can’t help but compare ourselves to others in this way. It’s perfectly normal and we all do it. But consider that ideas of what it means to be beautiful, intelligent, talented, successful, and valuable change from age to age, from culture to culture. There is no fixed ideal for any of them. Rather notions of each of these abstract concepts can shift so much over time that they become their opposite. These changing ideologies can lead to revolutions in art, science, religion, laws, and social mores. But what does all that mean for you personally? It means that whatever quality you covet in another person could be considered base or even reprehensible in another culture. It means that whatever you think is undesirable about yourself now could in twenty years be prized as a great virtue. So be careful with judging yourself. To do so is often to stifle those very qualities in you that make you beautiful and smart, and so on, in your own unique way. There is a wonderful story of a famous singer who is said to have deliberately accentuated all of the qualities of his singing that his critics decried and thereby founded a new vocal style that others now imitate. So perhaps it’s time you began viewing as strengths what you perceive to be your weaknesses. Of course this does not mean you should quit trying to be better. On the contrary, appreciating and loving all that you are only positions you favourably to realize all that you can be.

So be proud of your type of beauty. Cherish your unique brand of intelligence. Relish your talents. Delight in your successes. And acknowledge your value. You embody all of these qualities in your own way, which makes them all the more special. Keep it up. You’re doing great. Have a wonderful day!

Do your best to quieten your covetousness, and instead try to see what you perceive to be others’ strengths as admirable and inspirational so that they fill you with a will to be better rather than with a regret for what you believe you lack.

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