Woke up this morning thinking, “Never thought I’d be the type of person to have a massive pile of books by their bed”.
I could never understand why people would do that to themselves. To me a pile of books used to represent unattainable knowledge and maturity, which was extremely frustrating and caused me to feel like a failure. And why would you wanna put all that right where you are trying to rest!?!
As a child I struggled with reading and resisted it even after I was diagnosed with Anisometropia. My two eyes had different muscle strengths and they found if hard to work together to focus on things up close. Which meant I found it hard to read.
I’d sometimes get headaches as it was tiring and took much more effort for me than others to focus. If I was reading out loud I used to try and just make up the story, guess what was happening, only to be asked, “is that what it says”? Fortunately I had an amazing mother who read us so many bedtime stories that I didn’t miss out on the enlightenment and wonder a good book can provide. Also most fortunately my problem was curable and I wore corrective glasses for a while to even out my eyes’ strength. I have not had to wear glasses since, have 20/20 vision and, if I have the time, can devour a sizeable book in a few days.
But as a child by the time my eyesight was fixed I was behind, and perhaps the bigger impact on me was the beliefs that had developed in my own heart and mind – as well as in those around me. To this day I still at times have to focus to correct these misconceptions.
I was labelled as lazy and avoidant of the perseverance and discipline needed (which I experienced as discomfort) in order to learn. I also grew up with parents and siblings that excelled in academia (of which I am so grateful and owe much to) but I just couldn’t compete with a younger sister who at 8 years old who was reading “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela. So I never bothered.
Thanks to some great fantasy writers, who hooked me with their tales of adventure and magic, I got into reading books in my early teens. I used to read for hours in secret at night and hide the books under my pillow. As an adult I have broaden the scope of my reading to include may other topics that fascinate me and still won’t force myself to read anything that hasn’t captured my interest on the first page or two. Now people are likely to think of me as an avid reader and complement me on my self education. This catches me by surprise every time. I think “No, not me”.
As I did when I awoke this morning to find a stack of books by my bed – a part of my past self wondered how I could have slept so well last night!
People always say, “don’t compare yourself to others”, but the truth is we always do. We discern and judge according to what we know, to what we can see and have experienced. It is a form of measurement.
I say go ahead! Compare yourself – measure away! HOWEVER we need to pay close attention to the conclusions we draw. On ourselves and others. Being mindful about the things we chose to believe as a result.
1. a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.
2. a firmly held belief or opinionOxford Dictionary
Our problem is conviction not comparison.
What we chose to believe about observations we make and the experiences we’ve had makes all the difference.
Don’t take yourself out of the running just because you can’t run like someone else. We all have different stories, experiences and abilities. Run like you are built to run. Find your own stride and motivation. Excel your own way!
One day you may wake up and surprise yourself with the full life you have been living this whole time.