When the pandemic hit Pasha and I lived in Austin.
By the time things in Texas started opening up again, we had moved to Northern California (where things wouldn’t open up for quite a while longer).
On top of that, Pasha’s mom got a breast cancer diagnosis during the pandemic.
Her diagnosis, coupled with the state of things where we lived, put us in a position where we had to be really careful and remain largely isolated.
As a society, and to various degrees individually, we continue to grapple with the long-term consequences of living through a global pandemic.
These consequences, likely to be studied for decades to come, span multiple parts of lives including marriage, transportation, education, political, social media, and even the quality of our sex. Just look at this article from the NIH.
For me personally, one of those consequences has been forgetting who I am – I feel like I lost a healthy dose of my confidence.
Perhaps you can relate?
I’d like to suggest a controversial way, to be applied judiciously, for us to remember who we are and regain some of that lost confidence
Here it is…get out in the world and compare yourself.
Practice comparing yourself in a range of places: airports, shopping malls, the DMV, on the subway, walking down the street. Wherever you go, look at others and consider how you stack up.
People are a mirror for us – we see parts of ourselves in others. This means that we see in others how we are similar, and how we are different. And there’s a gift in that…
These shades of variation can bring us clarity about who we are.
I know this suggestion flies in the face of pretty much all personal development best practices.
Which is why I’m only suggesting it in moderation, and for a short period of time.
Because the point of this exercise isn’t to compare yourself for the sake of identifying your deficiencies, or to diminish anyone else – but rather to bring focus to who you are as a result of your intentional effort.
To remind you of your hard-won differences.
To remind you of how far you’ve come.
To remind you of the areas in your life that are important to you.
To remind you of what you are grateful for.
This is an exercise that makes clear how you’ve decided to develop yourself.
It showcases what kind of life you have chosen to create.
Maybe that’s physically, intellectually, spiritually, professionally, emotionally, or relationally.
So this week, allow others to show you who you really are.
Allow them to remind you of what matters most to you.
Allow them to show you the evidence of your growth.
And then re-discover what makes you an incredible person.