John Doe, the cause of unrealistic self expectaions

Lately, I have heard the complaint, “I can’t do it as good as John Doe,  so I won’t do it at all”.  Or, “why can’t you be like John Doe?”  More questions that I cannot stand, and people who really know me, know never to ask me: “John Doe can do it, so why can’t you?” or, “John Doe is in a worse position, so stop stressing!”.  As I am writing this, I am starting to really despise this John Doe.

I believe that whether you call it spiritual, or science, there is a reason why we all have different skills, abilities and personalities.  The world just wouldn’t work if we all were skilled in the same thing.  I was talking recently about basketball and teamwork with my daughter.  She was bummbed that she didn’t have a certain skill that one of her teammates had.  What good would a team be if they were all good in dribbling and nothing else?  Teams are comprised of people who have different skills that when put together, helps accomplish a common goal.  We are all different, and we should celebrate it, not beat ourselves up because we are not just like someone else.  It took me a very long time to understand this.  I am a very shy person.  I just don’t like public speaking.  For a very long time I would beat myself up for being shy and for avoiding public speaking as much as I could.  You know, I have come to the conclusion that it’s okay, I am just not a public speaker, and just because there are others out there, including my father that are okay with it and are comfortable with it, it’s fine, because I am not those people… I am ME. 

This goes for parents who belive that their children should grow up as they did.  For example, there are parents out there who believe that their children should grow up with piano lessons because that’s what they did when they were children.  Even when they hated it, even when their own kids hate it.  Piano lessons are not for everyone.  Some of us just want to be ourselves and learn how to do something completely different.  Parents out there, celebrate your children, celebrate the uniqueness of your children and the hobbies and lessons that fit them the best.

Back to the first complaint: “I can’t do it as good as John Doe, so I won’t do it at all”.  This saddens me.  If a person decided not to do something, they should turn it down because it’s just not part of them, or not in their interests at all.  It saddens me when a person really wants to try something and turns it down because someone else does it better.  I think of all the personal satisfaction a person misses,  all the discoveries gone.  I was like this when I started blogging.  I had seen very good blogs out there, and was a bit timid about trying it myself.  I soon learned that I could enjoy reading other people’s blogs without comparing them to mine.  At the same time, I enjoy writing my own blogs. 

It’s funny… I compare this situation to garden burgers.  I remember when the garden burgers first came out.  There was a small group of people who revolted against them because the garden burgers were sold to us as a healthy substitute to the greasy, salty (yummy) meat burgers.  They tasted nothing like the meat burgers, and some people couldn’t eat the garden burger just because of that.  The garden burgers  were actually palatable if you didn’t think of them as meat burgers, because they were not.  You had to think of them as a complete separate sandwich in order to enjoy them. 

The second and third question, “why can’t you be like John Doe?” and “John Doe can do it, why can’t you?”.  These questions are of the most degrading and damaging things to say to a child, I think.  It feels just as crummy to get it when you are an adult.  They mean, “I have no respect for you, and high respects for someone else.  I could care less about you”.  The answer would be, “because I am not John Doe at all, can’t you see?”.  It is so unrealistic to expect one person to be like another.  Again, I believe we are all put on this earth to be individuals, to have different skills and personalities.  If we were all alike, we would be an awfully boring bunch.

Another thing that I had to learn in my life was that even when John Doe’s house fell down, his girlfriend sent him a Dear John letter, he got amnesia and nobody knows who he is…then I stubbed my toe and  it hurts, that I can own it.  I learned that just because John Doe is way worse off, it doesn’t mean that I have to write off my own hurt.  I have just as much right to feel my hurt, as John Doe has the right to feel his.  No matter to what extent either one of our misfortunes are.  I think that this is different than finding the silver-lining.  For example, I could say,”ow, that hurts, but at least I still have my toe”… that’s the silver-lining.  I shouldn’t say, “oh, buck up.  John Doe hurts way more than me, so I shouldn’t feel the way I do”.  It’s back to my common theme it seems, we are all human and we all have feelings.  We shouldn’t fight them and should have the freedom to own them.  We are also all very different and feel our feelings in a different fashion.  Yes, John Doe is feeling pretty bad, and I have compassion for him, but I shouldn’t disregard myself and how I feel.  I need to feel my own feelings without any comparison of others.

So the message of all this confusion? (sorry)  To enjoy yourself as an individual.  Celebrate your uniqueness.  Please don’t get muddled up in believing that you should be like someone else.  You are not that person,  you never will be.  It’s fine to make a goal, like “I want to blog, and I want to be good at it”  but leave out the part, “like John Doe”.  Be gone, John Doe!

One comment on “John Doe, the cause of unrealistic self expectaions

  1. Suzyness says:

    haha… I like this one 🙂

    You’re absolutely right about the garden burgers – I take that approach with a lot of vegetarian/vegan options. It may not taste just like what is trying to be substituted, but maybe it’s darn good standing on it’s own! Getting out of the “box” and thinking a little differently is a great thing!

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