Where is one place each and every one of us will find ourselves in someday?
You guessed it. The dreaded comparison trap. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we can’t help but let our minds go there wondering what he/she has that we don’t. In my honest opinion, it really is one of the worst places to be where self-doubt and the question, “Am I good enough?” creeps in.
A couple of years ago, my daughter Ellie was in first grade and auditioned for a second time at her school talent show. Auditions came up pretty suddenly that she didn’t have “the” song down that she wanted to sing so she chose one that she already knew – Lost Boy by Ruth B – a beautiful song about Peter Pan that was more mellow than her previous year’s performance – Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys, but it showed Ellie’s range as a vocalist.
After hearing back from the judges she made it into the show, she continued singing this song several times a day until the talent show in April 2019. Even I knew all the words.
As we sat together at the talent show dress rehearsal, watching all the other students perform various acts in dance, magic, and music, another girl took the stage, mic’d up and as the song started to play and she started to sing, I looked at Ellie’s face. Another girl was singing the exact same song as Ellie, and I instantly knew Ellie went to this dreaded place.
She looked up at me with her eyes welling up with tears trying to hold her composure and said in a quiet voice, “Mommy, I don’t want to sing in the show anymore. Can we go now?”
There were several thoughts running through my mind at that very moment and the mama bear in me started to come out.
Why would the school not say anything and blindside both girls who clearly didn’t know they were singing the same song?
How could I encourage my daughter to show up and finish what she started while she was breaking inside?
Frick, this mama gig is tough.
I looked at my daughter, held her hand, and said these words. “Ellie, I know you two are singing the same song this year, and I’m so sorry that the school never told you, but you have your own unique voice and Ellie style. Don’t quit when you’ve come this far. You’re up in a few more acts. You can do this.”
She squeezed my hand, looked back at me, and said in a somber voice, “Okay, Mommy.”
When it was Ellie’s turn to sing, she took the microphone and the song started to play. As she sang, I could hear the whispers around the auditorium of the other students saying, “Didn’t another girl just sing this song?” “Why is she singing the same song?” “Didn’t she know?”
As the song continued and Ellie did her thing, the same students stopped talking and started listening to her on stage. One of the students came up to me after and said, “Are you her mom? She’s really good. She should be on The Voice or something,” which helped lighten the mood immensely.
At the talent show the next day, Ellie got back up on the stage and sang Lost Boy just four songs after the other girl performed it. Just like Ellie didn’t know until dress rehearsal, this girl didn’t find out until the actual talent show as she had left right after her performance. Once again, in mama fashion, my heart broke for her, too. At 7 and 8-years-old, both girls learning that they are not in competition with each other is a very tough love lesson. It’s one I wish could have waited and under different circumstances, but nevertheless, it’s an important lesson to teach our kiddos and ourselves.
A few weeks later, Ellie came to me and said she was ready to start prepping for the school’s next talent show in 2020 and kick it up a notch. Instead of just singing, she wanted to challenge herself and play the ukulele too, something she hadn’t even learned yet, but she wanted to try.
Ellie absolutely had the right attitude and making the decision to learn something new and hone her skills reminded me of this lesson, too.
We need to get over the comparison trap. We don’t have the same lives, the same priorities, the same anything. We are all unique individuals on our own unique timeline and will get there when we get there. We are only in competition with ourselves day after day. Make every single day count. Be better than you were yesterday and don’t forget to show yourself grace and kindness on the journey.
Rule of Life Lesson #110:
Closing Tip: Meet some fun attractions in west covina, makes a fun vacation time.