The Twin Cities is hosting the Senior Games and for a whole slew of reasons, I love that people who are 70 are taking up swimming for the first time, or someone who is 65 is re-engaging their love for softball. The Senior Games? Redefining aging one event at time. This is 3rd chapter living at its best.
This inspires me to be in the Senior Games one day. Maybe I'll resurrect my high jumping efforts. While two of my brothers were state competing high jumpers, I was afraid to leave the ground. I was terrified of actually jumping . . . which is a fairly integral part of the HIGH jump! So I'd run up . . . and run away.
My personal victory was the day I came home and told my mom, "I jumped! I didn't stop! I actually jumped!"
I didn't compare myself to the girls who were real high jump contenders. I compared in lots of other destructive ways (and would never claim to currently have whipped this) but because I knew I didn't have a prayer of winning, I gave myself permission to lower the bar . . . literally. Brené Brown quotes her friend, Laura Williams in the Daring Way™ curriculum, "Comparison is the thief of happiness." So true! So true! This is so true because it is speaks to where lots of us live and the space where lots of us struggle for our authenticity.
Which takes me to Jesus' injunction not to judge. "Judge not lest you be judged." Growing up I thought judging (or at least not admitting to judging or harshly judging myself for judging) was about making sure I was being nice - this kept society humming along. Being nice made Jesus happy. I also thought that if I was nice enough there would be nothing about me that would be judgment worthy.
But I missed this whole bigger point - to stop at keeping society humming along would be like to walk into the Louvre and only visit the gift shop. When I'm judging, I lose access to joy, to connection, to empathy, to all the things that Jesus taught and freely gave. When scarcity drives me to compare, I struggle to be truly present to the one I'm judging and there is a wall between us. I struggle to show up - and I imagine you do to.
It's like running up and . . . running away.
So, here's a gift from Brené's research that can actually help us get back on our emotional feet - we judge around areas/issues that we feel vulnerable to be judged in ourselves . . . and we will find someone who we think is doing worse than we are. With this critical awareness, judgment can alert us to where we are hurting and where we need support from others and compassion for ourselves.
The support and compassion so next time we run up . . . and jump!