Excerpt from "Give YourSelf Permission to Live Your Life" by Priya Rana Kapoor
Chapter Ten : Give YourSelf Permission to Have Healthy Relationships.
Often, we look at the people around us and think that they have it better than we do or that they've been given more advantages in the form of privileges and luxuries than we have. We might have feelings of envy, which can be damaging, undermining, and insidious and can only function to make us feel bad about ourselves in the long run.
When my former husband and I first met, he gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received; I have never forgotten it, and I am often grateful to him for his wise words.
"Priya, " he said, "don't compare your insides with everyone else's outsides. "
I think that we've all found ourselves comparing what we know about our lives to what we think is going on with the lives of others. Often we look at their outsides and assume everything is great without considering that there just might be a whole other layer of thoughts, insecurities, hopes, fears, shortcomings, health issues, pain, abuse, wishes, or desires that they don't share with everyone else. When we compare ourselves to all of their glitz, it's easy to see ourselves as coming up short. We look at celebrities or business tycoons, school friends or relatives and think that they've achieved so much more than we have.
"She has got it all, " we think. "She must be so happy!"
But what's really happening?
I suspect most people looking from the outside would have considered my family circumstances pretty much perfect, but, as I've already shared, the apparent fairy tale was quite inconsistent with the chaos we experienced behind closed doors. I rather begrudgingly felt that there were times when people thought, "Oh, the Kapoors have it all! Mum is young and glamorous; Dad is so sophisticated and handsome. Their children are lucky to be growing up in such a cosmopolitan, exciting environment!" In some respects we did have an adventurous life, but it was difficult.
Maybe your successful boss at work does sit in his fancy corner office all day long and go home at the end of a productive working day to his good-looking, happy wife and children, but perhaps he really wants to be doing something else entirely. Maybe he has high blood pressure from working long hours, constant fights with his wife, and exhausting kids who run riot all evening. Who really knows?
It's important that we see that we can only truly understand ourselves and that we need to focus on bettering our own lives rather than fixating on others'. With this understanding comes the recognition that, ultimately, we can only learn how to be really happy when we learn how to take personal responsibility for how we live and what we have control over.
The simple fact is that we just do not know what is going on in most other people's lives. The only person you will ever know completely, inside and out, is yourself.
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