Please Stop Measuring!

You didn’t close your fitness ring yesterday.

“Yes, I know” I sighed, “just add it to all the other ways I didn’t measure up this week.”

I stared at my phone, the realization dawning on me that I was defending myself to a piece of plastic, metal and computer parts.  What also struck me in this “conversation” was my use of the word measure.

How often do you measure yourself during the day?  Do you measure your daily steps, calorie intake, how many likes or followers or friends you have on social media.  Maybe you measure your relationship, how you parent, your body size and shape or your professional achievements.  Do you have an endless to do list that constantly reminds you that you haven’t done enough?

I began thinking about all the ways I measure myself and noticed a definite drop in my energy and joy.  The constant comparing to where you think you should be or who/where society thinks you should be is more depleting than any other activity you do.  Sometimes when you compare or measure your accomplishments, you come out ahead and there is a little hit of energy and motivation, maybe even some celebration.  But when you fail to meet the standards set by yourself or others that influence you, there is usually despair and a drop in your energy that never fully recovers.  This compare and despair culture is very prevalent in most areas of life and contributes to a significant decline in your physical, mental and emotional health. 

Because I believe that joy is a leading factor in creating health in all areas, I decided to experiment with another way of measuring (when I felt the need to measure!).  Instead of despairing about how little I accomplished or all the ways I didn’t measure up to the outside world, I started to ask myself these questions:

  • Was I kind to myself and others?
  • Where did I find beauty?
  • When was I brave?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • Did I experience peace?
  • Was there joy?

As I get more accustomed to using these questions, I am noticing that I can stay more positive and I feel less depleted during the day.  It’s definitely a work in progress for me and when I catch myself comparing and despairing, I gently remind myself that I have a more loving way to measure and go back to my questions.  I also began to intentionally look for kindness, bravery, peaceful moments, etc. and noticed how they showed up in unexpected places during my day which helped me to experience more joy and freedom.   
What are some kinder and more compassionate ways you could measure yourself (if you need to measure yourself)?  What would your life look like when you acknowledge all the times when you were brave or kind or joyful?  What if we measured other people this way?  I think it’s worth experimenting with, what do you think?

Photo by William Warby on Unsplash

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