One teacher that I talked with made a comment about “certain” students. He was talking about kids who don’t “do” school well. They’re the kids who don’t like to sit still, are unorganized, lacking in self-discipline, or struggle with learning, just to name a few characteristics. In this same conversation, he made comparisons to other teachers. About his schedule. About their schedule. About the kids he taught.
I could relate because I had done the same thing.
Early in my career (20 years ago), after teaching for 4 years, I questioned whether or not I was “supposed to be” in education. At the time, I compared myself to other teachers in the building. I didn’t like a system where other teachers got paid more than me simply because they had been in education longer than I. I compared how hard I worked to how hard they worked, and I found it unfair that they had a higher salary that was based solely on number of years working as an educator.
So I left education for two years, owned a business with my husband, during which time I learned, thank goodness, that my calling is to be in education.
Another teacher I recently met with had a different outlook; it’s one that I embrace now.
The other teacher was talking about the students he teaches, the kids who don’t “do” school well. They’re the kids who don’t like to sit still, are unorganized, lacking in self-discipline, or struggle with learning, just to name a few characteristics. He said, “I think that this is maybe my niche. It’s where I’m supposed to be. I could ask ‘Why me?’ but I ask, ‘Why NOT me?’”
The second teacher is at the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s not comparing himself with others. He asking if he is living fully in his gifts. He is thinking about how he can do his best in the role he is in.
This point of view is what I choose for myself, too. My life is about how I can be the best I can be so that I can help others to be their best. It’s a mindset and a choice to have “Why not me?” outlook, and it’s one that anyone can have, but it will take some more practice than others.
Here are 3 ways to deal with envy and create a “Why not me?” attitude.
1. Practice gratitude. Create time to simply be thankful. Whether it’s the first thing in the morning, just before you go to bed, or even on your lunch hour or daily run, consciously list all the things you are grateful for.
2. Be aware of thoughts of comparison, and repeat a phrase or affirmation over and over until the thoughts of comparison are gone. Sample phrases are, “I am thankful for my gifts of ________ and I will use them to be the best _________ that I can be.” or “The only person I compare myself to is the me that I was yesterday. I am always getting better.”
3. Be honest with yourself about your feelings. Do the feelings of envy/comparison stem from insecurities? Are you concerned with being overlooked or taken advantage of? Are you fearful that your best isn’t enough? Once you determine the source of your desire to compare, work on facing those specific feelings.
Do you ask “Why me?” or “Why not me?”
How do you keep an attitude of “Why not me?”