Sometimes I get sidetracked. It’s easy to lose a minute–or hour–scrolling through beautiful social media lives instead of digging into my own messy life. Especially when it involves painting. I’ll find 99 reasons to avoid finishing my painting projects. True story: My friend lives in a house that is 10 times the size of mine, and she is painting all her trim. More freaking trim than you can imagine. She is Wonder Woman, but I could finish painting the trim in a short period of time if I just stopped avoiding painting the damn trim.
Sometimes while scrolling, I get caught up in comparison. Wow, not a neck wrinkle on that one. Jeeze, she looks incredible. Another vacation? Nice. And of course: How is everyone else’s pool water so stinking clear???
Side note: Since I posted about that? Our pool water has been A M A Z I N G. Knock on wood.
But you know what I mean. I don’t begrudge people good fortune. I’m genuinely happy for people. I just beat mySELF up:
Wow, not a neck wrinkle on that one. Maybe if you hadn’t smoked for 20 years…
Jeeze, she looks incredible. Well drink a shake or pick up a weight once in awhile…
Another vacation? Get a job…like one that pays you regularly…
My inner critic cuts deep and hits below the belt. She’s a nasty, awful, dirty fighter; good grief. Sometimes, I’m in no mood for her and just immediately say, “All right, fuck off.” But too often, I let her words break me down a little bit before I can shut her up.
Here’s the thing: I love my life. I don’t want to switch places with anyone even if they do have a smooth neck or a flat stomach or a fatter bank account. So when that inner critic starts to beat me up, I remind myself how grateful I am for my imperfect body and wonderfully happy life.
My friends–who are batshit crazy like me–and I have adopted a mantra to help us stay focused: Stay in your lane.
It started out as a way to jokingly invite people out of our business, but we quickly realized it applied to us as well. Because when something irritates you about someone else, you definitely need to dig deep and see what button it’s pushing in you and why.
So…I’m writing a book. Someone else just got a book deal. Do I let myself feel discouraged and stop writing? Nope, I stay in my lane. A bunch of friends got together and didn’t invite you. That’s okay. Stay in your lane. Someone else’s kid is way ahead of your kid in sports or academics or whatever. No worries. Your kid will find his or her thing. Stay. In. Your. Lane. Your friend’s husband got her a fabulous anniversary gift. That’s so incredible for her. Stay in YOUR lane.
There is a limitless amount of goodness in this world. The universe wants to bless us, we just need to accept it. Someone else getting something great doesn’t mean there’s less for you. And when you mess up, it’s okay. Tell your inner critic to fuck off and just move on. You don’t wake up one day and have it all together. As Glennon Doyle says, “Just do the next right thing one thing at a time.”
So tell me if you try this and how it works for you. Sometimes, as my girlfriend reminded me last week, we’re all over the road. It’s okay, don’t swerve, just gently adjust and get back in your lane. Focus on your path and your passengers. It’s a much more peaceful journey.