One of the highlights of my day is following The Daily Corgi and Batpig & Me on Facebook. No matter what’s happened during my day, those two pages can bring a smile to my face as I unite with fellow dog lovers and celebrate the tiny pawprints that have walked across our hearts. There are some pretty cute pics- sure to bring a smile to even the Grinch’s face!
Being the mom of a corgi myself, I’m especially excited to see the birthday pics of corgis, in particular, the senior corgis. It gives me hope that my little guy will live a long, healthy, happy life every time I see one of them. I always like their birthday photos and cheer them on!
A few months ago, my little fur child started showing some signs of aging. And my worst fears started to come to light. I whisked him away to the vet, where luckily we were able to find some medication that has made a huge difference for both of us (but for him especially). As I nervously sat in the vet’s office that day, all of those birthday photos of corgis who were 14, 15, and even one who was 19 floated across my mind. They looked so happy and healthy, so vibrant and beautiful. Why couldn’t my corgi be like that? Why was he having problems walking and standing? Why was my dog experiencing this, and why did the others have a fantastic life?
It was a question I tried not to think about. But I did. It’s too painful to think about losing anyone that we love.
So a few weeks ago, I’m proud to say that my Toby turned 13. It was a wonderful day (and yes, in our home, we celebrate everyone’s birthdays, no matter how many legs they walk with). All week long, I had thought about sharing a birthday picture of Toby with The Daily Corgi. And that morning, as I got ready for the festivities, I decided that I was going to do it. I didn’t know quite why, but I knew it was important to do for some reason.
So I did. I shared this one. And at the last glance, it had over 700 likes. As people commented and shared their wishes for Toby on his special day, it brought me immense comfort. I was also hit by a thought:
All of the other corgis who celebrated those big birthdays also have their own issues. Just because I couldn’t see their issues in the photo, didn’t mean they didn’t have them. Toby looks beautiful and happy and energetic in this pic, as do they. But I know, as a mama behind the scenes, that it’s harder for him to walk when the weather changes.
For some reason, I thought because all of the other dogs looked so happy and vibrant in their photos, well into their senior years, that they must be problem free.
That’s when it hit me: just because you don’t see the problems, it doesn’t mean they are problem free.
Now why do I mention this on a stress blog? Because one of the most common things I see in my work with clients is the belief that everyone else has it better, just because you don’t see their problems hidden away.
It’s easy to ride through a lovely neighborhood admiring the houses. It’s easy to see perfectly manicured yards and welcoming porches and think, “They must be the happiest family.” But maybe you don’t realize that the spacious home allows the husband and wife enough space to live separate lives.
It’s easy to look at someone in a dream job you secretly covet, and think, “She must be so confident and knowledgeable. She’s DONE it!” But what you don’t know is the pressure on her to keep succeeding and surpassing goals, the pain she struggles with because of the discipline it took to get her there, and how lonely she feels.
The view “at the top” (whatever you perceive to be “the top”) is different than what you imagine.
So just how do you cope with your thoughts that everyone else has it better? Here are four things for you to remember:
1. Nobody’s perfect. Neither is their life. The view from the outside is just that. It’s not the reality, nor is it the inside view.
2. Life is hard for everyone at one point or another. Just because you’re seeing them celebrate the rainbow at the end of their thunderstorm, doesn’t mean the storm skipped over them. “It rains on the just and the unjust.”
3. Life isn’t fair. Some of the most kind, compassionate people I have ever met have known some of the biggest heart aches life can offer. Even when you put in the hard work or make disciplined decisions, sometimes, things outside of your control can impact the outcome. It’s not a reflection on you, and it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. It just means that life isn’t fair (and that’s certainly not an easy thing to deal with).
4. Surround yourself by others who build you up, not those who tear you and others down. While sometimes you can’t always control who you are around, you can have a say-so in those you spend your free time around and those to whom you heed their advice. Put things into action from those who have your best interests at heart (not their best interests).
Life is different than what you imagined as a kid or even a few months ago. That doesn’t mean it’s all bad, though. The sooner you embrace that, the less stress you’ll feel.
I’d love to hear your ideas on how to deal with life when it’s different than what you imagine. Share your thoughts in the comments below, and feel free to share this with someone who you think would find this helpful!