Returning to the UK after a time in Canada comes with mixed emotions and perspectives. Most homes in Canada come with beautifully flower beds, manicurely mowed lawns, and a bit of postcard magic. Our place in the UK has none of this. Therefore, during the first walk in the garden after returning, I found myself comparing our garden to thoses in Canada. Ours looked dumpy, unkept, and tired. None of the characteristics we are going for.
I felt shame.
And then I realised what was going on. I was comparing our gardens to the ones I’d seen in Canada. I wasn’t comparing our garden, our property, to what it looked like 2.5 years ago when we moved in. When I did this, I remembered how far we’ve come. I was comparing our garden to others and seeing what we have not done, rather than comparing myself to where we have come from.
This happens all the time. We focus on others or how far we have to go rather than how far we have come. When we focus on our lack and others, we often feel depressed, shame, and other negative thoughts. And when we do this and find ourselves in this state, it is easy to give up. ‘I am never going to be like them.’ ‘What’s the point of trying?’ And so on.
However, when we focus on how far we have come, we are much more positive. We see change. We see the things we have learned. And we tend to be inspired to keep going. ‘Look at how far we’ve come!’
We can choose where we focus, where we look. Social media companies and many organisations want us to focus on our lack. They want us to feel shame, so they can sell us their ‘cure’ (aka product). However, we can choose to focus elsewhere. And we can encourage our friends and commuities to do so too.
The choice is up to us.