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Podcast: Comparison is a killer

Join Josh and Kit as they discuss the question, What would I tell my younger self? From senior pictures to comparison, anxiety, and lies we all believe.

Am I accepted, am I lovable, do I measure up? Where do we go for answers to these questions?

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Josh 0:07
So one of my one of my least favorite pictures of myself is my senior picture. I don’t know if they do this anywhere, anymore anywhere. But when I was in high school, the seniors everyone would get their picture taken at the school kind of you can stand in front of this background have your picture taken. But if you were a senior, you got to pick your own place, you’d go and you get a specific picture taken. And the picture I got, I remember that, you know, I picked out the one I liked most. And that was my senior picture that went in the yearbook. When I look back on that picture today, there there are so many things that I feel for that guy for that 18 year old kid, there’s so many things I wish I could communicate to him with him about some of the things that I kind of, I almost kind of clench up inside a little like, Oh, you poor guy that you’re carrying those things back then. So kid, what what do you wear? And I’ll dive more back into him a little bit? Like when you think back on yourself when you were younger? 1819 2020s? What are some things that come to mind for you about you? ways that you’d want to interact or with someone who’s interacting with you or telling you back then?

Kit 1:31
Well, the first thing I think about is my senior picture.

Josh 1:34
Did you ever see them?

Kit 1:36
And my mother dressed me? I don’t know why I let her because I was such a rebel. I don’t know why she told me what to wear. And it was awful. And then I parted my hair down the middle. I was you know, hippie girl and have any makeup on and I was all forehead. I mean, for us. Bringing back that.

Josh 1:53
You have to bring it in, you know,

Kit 1:55
my husband will let me throw it away.

Josh 1:57
Yeah, so in the show notes, there’ll be a picture of Kit Oh, no, kid, you have to bring it in. Okay, so what would you What would you would Okay, what do you feel about her? What would you tell that?

Kit 2:06
Oh, gosh, you know, I was talking about a to a friend last night about doing this today. And I mentioned that this idea of you know, what, what I talked to my younger self about she started crying when she had this picture of her herself as a as a young teenager and she said my heart just breaks for that girl because it was so hard. And so, um, you know, I think that’s maybe part of why I love this topic. I meet with a lot of young women, I see the pain they’re in and it reminds me of the pain I was in and how much I didn’t know, you know. And so, I think, you know, one thing that just really strikes me is that I, I really believed there was something I was missing. And, and there was this hole and this emptiness. And I I set a bout trying to figure out what that would be and I ended up thinking it was it was guys, it was men, you know that if I can, if I can attach myself to someone be in a relationship that surely that would fill this hole. And it took me a long time. And I created a lot of poor choices. Before I realized that that was not truth.

Where do you think you got that? The idea that it was guys.

My mom. My mom was very codependent. My dad was very dysfunctional and abusive and an alcoholic. And she not only would not call him on it, because she was scared. But she was very codependent. And she’s to say, you know, I didn’t just love your dad, I adored him. And so she had a he was on a pedestal, and he was the answer to her issues in her mind.

Josh 3:53
So when you were little Did you mean did you see him that same way? Like she’s the answer. He’s the answer to her.

Kit 4:00
I was confused. See, I wonder why why she would think of him that way. Because he wasn’t. He wasn’t kind. He wasn’t supportive. He wasn’t around. So it was confusing to me. So I think it is interesting that I didn’t see that I didn’t think oh, there’s a good, that’s a good thing. I it was actually bad. But in my teen years, I did what my mom did, even though it didn’t make sense in some ways,

Josh 4:24
right? Yeah. And I think that that mean, I think that’s really common. repeat the mistakes that are very common parents for those who are kind of primary caregivers make. I think it’s also another I mean, another scenario we’ve heard in those situations is I’m watching my mom or I’m watching my dad do this and it doesn’t make any sense. I’m going to do the exact opposite. And they kind of rebel against that way of doing things and making all sorts of other mistakes like trying trying to get to California by not going to New York, and there’s a lot of other problems that come about that way.

Kit 4:55
Well, I think it is true that even though I I didn’t you You would think I wouldn’t choose that. But the fact was that that was familiar to me. Yeah. So we will sometimes when we grew up in dysfunction, we will choose what’s familiar, even if it’s not good for us.

Josh 5:12
Yeah. Yeah, that’s so true. And so probably, I think one of the things that comes to mind for me, when I think about that picture of myself, I think about how, like the one of the major things in mind, is this the sense of like that I had to hold myself in a certain way, I had to kind of hold myself together. Like, there was definitely I mean, it was interesting, even as we’re starting some talking about a picture, because I think there are some ways I wanted to present a picture of myself to other people that didn’t feel like the same picture of myself inside. And so I, you know, I needed my hair to look a certain way or my skin colors, and it never did. And that was a real big problem. And I needed to dress a certain way. And I never had the right money, or the right clothes for those kinds of clothes. So there’s kind of all this all this battle that I was trying to walk and live in. And I’m not saying this consumed me, it wasn’t all my time. And I think even some of the friendships and relationships I had back then were good, but and I think if if I were turned inside out, at my school or in front of my peers, I think I would have been mortified. I would have been like I you know, nobody can know this stuff. If I’m going to survive. And definitely not they can’t know if I’m going to live like if if people see what’s really going on in my heart, my mind my insecurities, my body, my sexual fantasies, etc, etc, then I’m done. And it was. So I feel a lot of compassion, a lot of sympathy for that. That guy I want to I want to almost kind of scream through the ages. Like you’re not alone. I see you. I see you. Yeah. And eventually, honestly, not I think about it. I mean, I that’s exactly what I needed. I mean, I eventually there there were people who broke through there were places where I risked turning myself inside out letting people see

Kit 6:48
we all kind of need that, don’t we? And we really do, we all need a safe place to be who we really are.

Josh 6:54
Yeah, I’d also say like, stop doing your hair like that. You don’t need that much gel. I want to hear more from you. But I also want to go back, somebody said that you said about the pain that people that young people are carrying, like, I heard a guy speaking once about parents of teenagers. And he said, always assume so this just a kind of a side note for parents. He said, always assume at the end of the day that whatever your kid is dealing with, it’s harder than what you’re dealing with. And when I think back to like, just what life is like in the teen years, and who’s dictating what and what we think about ourselves and the gymnastics in my brain and heart and body. I’ve started to kind of remind myself, tell myself that as my kids are coming home and being a little grumpy or edgy, or weepy or whatever, and I go, you know what I remember, like, I’m gonna have a little more compassion. That’s really

Kit 7:47
good, Josh, because I think back on my teens who aren’t teens anymore, and I, I think, gosh, I could have had more compassion for what I understand now that they were going through more than I did, then you know, when you’re, yeah, so that’s great.

Josh 8:00
What else you when you think about that, maybe maybe not even the same age, but like, what, you know, do you think back your new younger self, what are some of the things that you would tell yourself or that maybe even you’d want to tell or communicate to some of the young women you’re working with now or walking with now?

Kit 8:13
You know, I think there’s this idea of, you know, self consciousness, like you were mentioning, you know, this idea that, you know, living inside my head and, and ruminating and comparing and, you know, like, comparison is a killer. And I wish, you know, that I had known how much damage that did to me. And, of course, now with Facebook and Instagram, it’s, it’s, it’s crazy, because you, you’re comparing your real life to someone else’s. Facebook, Instagram life. And, you know, my husband always says, you know, if you’re going to compare up, you got to compare down, you know, so you were always just comparing how we’re less than, you know, and, and it’s, it’s a, it’s creates a tremendous amount of anxiety. And so I would say to my younger self, as much as you can read comparison of from your mind, like, you know, pay attention to what’s true about your life and pay attention to what’s true in other people’s real life, and don’t get carried away with fantasizing that they have everything you don’t,

Josh 9:34
I think I mean, I obviously like I think comparison is huge. I want to try to tease this out a little bit, because I think for me there, there was something about like, where else am I gonna go with the questions that I have about who I am and questions about my worth? Yeah, I think comparison feels like the default place to go like, well, I don’t know how valuable I am. I don’t know if I’m lovable. I don’t know if I’m going to be accepted. Suddenly look around at the people who seem that way to me or seem to have a lot of friends. Drew seemed to have a lot of likes on Facebook. And that will that’s the place I’m going to go to try to find that. So if not there, if not to comparison, then how does someone and I’m not looking for a Sunday school answer here, like, practically speaking, like, where do we go that with those questions? Yeah.

Kit 10:17
And friendships are really important. You know, again, we don’t trust a lot. We don’t trust each other a lot, sometimes when we’re teenagers, but when we get into our 20s, you know, choosing friendships, well, choosing people that you can be real with, choosing people you actually trust and look up to in terms of how they’re living their life and find a safe place, you know, find a safe place. Some parents, you know, I wish that I had talked more to my mom, I wish my kids have talked more to me, it didn’t feel safe, but it actually was,

Josh 10:51
yeah, yeah, I think for me, my, for me, my parents, on one level, and and I’m really grateful for, for who they have been in my life and continued to be, but I think on one level I didn’t trust like they didn’t sound like they really were living in the same world I was. And I think that was where I was missing some of the trust. What I didn’t realize then was that in so many ways, they actually were and they had, it just I didn’t have the the eyes to see it my world was that they were living in a bigger world than I was. Yeah. And it sounded like a different world. But it actually encompassed my world in some ways. And this

Kit 11:26
is a little bit different than what I would tell my younger self. But one of the things I did with my children, was I actually sat down with them and told them some of my story, when they were teenagers, to the extent that it was appropriate, because I wanted them to feel safe talking to me, I didn’t want them to think that I had always been this person, you know that I had made mistakes. And that I would understand if they were tempted to make mistakes. Yeah. So maybe that’s a little bit of a word to parents, you know, don’t be scared of talking to your kids about some of that, because it actually I think, opens up communication allows them to maybe find a safe place with you to talk. And if it’s not you, then a teacher, both my kids had other older women that were younger than me that they talked to one was a teacher one was a different mentor. You know, that’s always a great thing.

Josh 12:21
Yeah, that’s great. The other thing I’d say, I want to say to my younger self would be when people around you do affirm you Do you speak into that place that wants to be worthwhile, actually receive it, don’t drop it. Like I don’t, I don’t think I realized how much I just didn’t let that stuff come in. I didn’t trust it. I did live with that lie. I think we’ve talked about it in other podcasts the lie of if anyone ever really knows all that’s going on inside, then they won’t really love me. And so when I got those words of affirmation, the words of love or the words of value, I thought, well, that they’re only saying that because they don’t know, X, Y and Z, or they’re only saying that because they’re trying to be nice, because they actually see the truth. And that that, in essence was me saying to everybody around me who is trying to love me. No thanks, I got this, I’m gonna live alone. And even though I was living with other people, I was living alone. And I didn’t know how to take those things and just let them be inside of me. And I actually I remember one of the first times I ever purposely did I kind of been learning about myself that I wasn’t letting people in. And this is post college. And I remember I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in many years. And, and she she paid me a compliment. And I remember feeling this reflex of like, Don’t trust it, don’t trust it. And then I came back to that, are you actually going to choose to live in relationship with this person? Or are you going to choose to not. And so I remember I got a phone with her. And I and I went and I went to my room and I lay down on my bed. And I just literally practiced the words that she said the affirmation that she said, and it felt so scandalous and so strange and awkward, but so good. And I felt the hunger in me for the for the word she had said and it was it was a new experience. I must have been 2324 years old at that point. But I think that was one of those places where one of the first times I’d really received an affirmation for somebody without defense without, you know, excusing it away in some bigger, small way.

Kit 14:15
That’s great. And that reminds me of like you, you were intentional about what you were thinking. And I think that’s another thing that I didn’t realize for a really long time that I I would feel things and I would just think oh, I’m feeling really depressed, I’m feeling really angry. I’m just feeling what I’m feeling. And it was a long time before I realized that what I was thinking about was creating those feelings and so how how I spent my time what I read, who I hung out with what I watched, you know, like all affected my thinking and my thinking affected my impacted my feelings, my feelings impacted my behavior and my behavior than my character. So the the, you know, the power of choose Seeing, again God has given us power to choose how we want to think about things. Yeah, that’s really a beautiful thing that I didn’t realize for a really long time.

Josh 15:10
And that’s a Dallas Willard. Yes. You know, that is how does he put it? I can’t remember in renovation the heart, but something to the effect of the power to choose our thoughts is our most basic and fundamental power, and maybe the most important thing we can do so

Kit 15:23
and I think we just we really do we really think well, I just feel this way. And we feel helpless. And we’re not

Josh 15:29
Yeah, yeah. We want to wrap up and what else like you want to you mean other burning things that we’ve brought in kit Elmer from when she was younger, and she’s here in front of you? What else would you want to tell her?

Kit 15:43
Well, and you know, maybe this is a little bit more pertinent as you get a little bit into young adulthood. But this idea of feel the freedom to slow down, you don’t have to keep the pace of everyone around you. You know, I really, I really feel like we’re, we’re caught up and we don’t even know it, and maybe even the church sometimes in ways that they don’t mean to, you know, it’s all about what you do. Just keep busy doing for God. But you know, I love what Mulholland Robert Mulholland says, you know, there’s a big difference between being in God for the world and being in the world for God. To do so, being in God, for the world, versus being in the world for God. So there’s it Right, right, really think about that. It’s really profound. And so I think that, if we really embrace that, and understand that it frees us up from a lot of buisiness a lot of I need to do this, I need to do that. And you know, that doesn’t mean that we are not to do things in God. But it’s it’s a very different experience. If we’re not just feeling this compulsion.

Unknown Speaker 16:50
Yeah, to do it. I

Josh 16:52
don’t know. Like, I don’t think about my younger self is a very busy guy. But I definitely know that in this day, the the compulsion to do and do a lot, or to be occupied, even if it’s not doing maybe sometimes just being occupied, like on our phones, or, I sorry, just hit I hit my colleagues here with honestly. So, but to be on our phones or to be watching something or reading something like it feels like it’s out of control. And I think I think we are I think I think we are becoming sick with it. I think I think we’re a sick culture. And we don’t know it, because we’re all we’re all walking around coughing the same, you know?

Kit 17:27
Yeah, and so no one Yeah, I don’t want to sound like you know, this old person who’s a boy, we used to sit for hours and do nothing. Right. Right. Right. But But you know, so, honestly, like, and again, I think this plant seeds, like, you know, we would go hiking with our kids when they were little and they just think it was awful. And now I watch them go out on purpose, you know, and so maybe it’s just allowing yourself to, you know, whatever age you are, to just experience some of the, you know, of who God is in nature and just allow that to speak to you in some ways that are new, I don’t know sit by Oh, screw just sit and relax and don’t feel like you always have to be learning something or doing something or

Josh 18:12
I’m glad I asked you the question like, what else would you say? Because the only other thing on my mind was a much more profound only on mine when my mind was like, Hey, stop eating so much pasta. Kit your awesome really appreciate this.

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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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