Down where the lillies blow.
I asked him why he was so small,
And why he didn't grow.
He slightly frowned, and with his eye
He looked me through and through.
"I'm just as big for me," said he,
"As you are big for you."
-- John Kendrick Bangs
I've written before about how hard it is not to compare. Or, I suppose more importantly, how hard it is not to make destructive comparisons. In the post I just linked, the comparing had to do with Joy's developmental trajectory versus Rose's. In Joy's (still rough) kindergarten entry right now, the obvious comparison is to her neurotypical classmates, with whom she's not able to spend very much time at all right now.
There are many other ways to compare destructively, though. One can make comparisons along the autism spectrum, for example. As in, my child is less impaired than your child, so we can at least feel superior there. Or -- my child is more impaired, so I should feel sorry for myself and you should feel sorry for me and we all should feel sorry for him/her. Or cross-disability comparisons -- I just read an interesting piece at Reports from a Resident Alien from a spectrum perspective, cautioning people with autism against falsely building themselves up at the expense of people with other more "severe" disabilities.
Funny enough, parent bloggers do the compare thing to ourselves too. For example, I've been seeing a delightful set of new spectrum-parent-bloggers setting up blogshop, and find my recent blogging to stack up poorly next to the wit and the insights and the speedy build-up of followings and commenters... as I am posting less often, less in-depth, finding it harder to find suitable words to write about this part of the journey. Difficult not to cringe at the comparison. My dear friend over at Autism in a Word wrote recently about her struggle with becoming too focused on the hit counter and the pats-on-the-back in the comments. I may need to consider doing as she did, and taking a blogging break... but depriving myself of this community might not be healthy for me either.
Then there's the self-flagellation self-comparison within the professional sphere, eloquently expressed over at Professor Mother (another fine relatively-new blog). Oh, does it resonate. I'd been hoping that all the wonderful new knowledge and contacts I'd gained through the LEND program last year would create some new opportunities for me on the professional score, an area of my life that's been less than ideal in recent years -- but that's not turning out to be a obvious path either, particularly in this economy.
I need to figure out how to hang on to being "big for me" and keep out of the destructive comparison cycle. Sometimes it's just not easy to see.