They Say Comparison is the Thief of Joy.
Can you relate to that? Do you have a case of comparison-it is?
I hope all of you said yes, because it’s totally normal. We all do it.
The dictionary definition of comparisonitis is: The compulsion to compare one’s accomplishments to another’s to determine relative importance.
Whether it’s the mama that is always put together, uber-organized, on time, never flustered and baking those cookies for the bake sales while you are hitting the grocery store at the last minute, or the entrepreneur that is killing it in their social media strategy, getting clients, or your co-workers who keep getting promoted, managing any deadlines thrown their way with ease.
We live in a social world. We crave connection, belonging, a sense of worth and we interact with others. And with this interaction comes comparisonitis. Whether it be with our friends, family members, and strangers we compare all sorts of things such as our bodies, relationships, and material possessions.
And while comparing ourselves to others is normal, it can also be detrimental if not tempered with reality or a healthy mindset. Excessive comparison can have damaging effects on our self-worth and our self-confidence. It can make us feel anxious and depressed. It can make us feel like giving up because our abilities are nowhere near as good as someone else's.
So, if we know that engaging in comparison is normal, we are all human right, but could also be damaging to us. How do we protect ourselves from that damage? How do we transmute that comparison from a negative thing to something that is neutral or more positive?
I’m going to share 5 nuggets of wisdom to help keep things in perspective.
Let’s start with this truth: We are all on the same team and there is enough for everyone.
For one, as energetic beings we are all energy and we all come from the same universal energy. We are all part of the same team.
And if that sounds too woo for you, I’ll make it more concrete by breaking it down this way:
That mama that just pushed out her third kid and looks like she could be a model, the one that is super nice and friendly…you would love to hate her because she is just so perfect, but you can’t…that mama is also a mama. She’s also up at all hours of the night, she’s also doing the best for her kids and probably also has mom guilt. Her looking good doesn’t take away the ability for you to look good. We can all look good. One doesn’t take away from the other.
Similarly that co-worker at your company that just got a promotion. The one that has done the same time at your company and comes with similar qualifications. Their promotion doesn’t mean that you can’t get a promotion. You are both on the same team. You are working for the same company, supporting the same mission and vision. Their success is your success too.
The second truth that I want you to keep in mind is: You aren’t seeing the full picture.
We see things at face value but rarely are exposed to the behind the scenes. For example, take the hot mama example Just because she looks good, doesn’t mean she feels good. She may be struggling with things. Orr that co-worker may look super successful but they could have some serious imposter syndrome going on, where they are questioning their ability to take on this promotion and afraid of failure.
Social media is terrible for this—these days we stay connected through SM and everyone’s posts are curated, filtered, and perfect. We need to remind ourselves that this isn’t the full picture. The unglamorous behind-the-scenes may not make it to the highlight reel.
The third truth is they may not be the right person to compare
One of my mentors, Amy Porterfield is in year 13 of entrepreneurship. I love her to pieces and find her incredibly inspirational. But I have to remind myself that she’s been in the biz for 13 years and I can’t compare her year 13 to my month 8. We are on entirely different journeys. I’m a solopreneur doing sales, marketing, copy, providing the service, writing, and editing podcasts while she’s got a team of 20 people.
Each person's journey is unique. Comparing your current situation to someone who has been on their path for much longer can be misleading and discouraging. Acknowledge the differences in your journeys and focus on your own progress. Instead, use their success as inspiration and motivation to achieve your goals.
The Fourth truth is: it’s okay to distance yourself if it brings you inner peace
If certain people or situations trigger negative emotions and rob you of inner peace, it's okay to create some distance, even if only temporarily. Recognize your triggers and work on understanding and managing them. As a self-relationship coach, I encourage you to explore these triggers to find personal growth and healing.
The fifth truth is: It’s possible to use your comparison to feel good!
While our natural inclinations may be to compare and feel bad, if we remember that we are on the same team and that there is more than enough to go around for everyone, we can turn our comparisons into opportunities to feel good.
Know that their results are possible for you too! —good for them! More than enough success, love, and joy for everyone. Their success does not mean your failure so celebrate them. And this may sound a bit woo again, but you know I’m a deeply spiritual soul, when you spread the energy of genuine happiness to other people, it comes back to you, because you are spreading the energy of love.
Knowing that they were able to do it…means you can too! So take this as an opportunity to affirm that you too can reach your goal and use this as an opportunity to learn from them. What are they doing that you aren’t?
I also want you to remember that while you are comparing yourself to someone, someone else may be comparing themselves to you. They may think you are doing amazing and have it all together…all things and people are on a spectrum and everyone’s spectrum is different. For example someone who doesn’t have a home would do anything for a roof over their head, the person in an apartment may wish for a house, the person in a 3 bedroom may wish to upgrade to a 4 bedroom and so on.
So… as a quick recap here are five things to keep in mind when it comes to comparison:
- We are all on the same team and there is enough for everyone
- You aren’t seeing the full picture
- They may not be the right person for you to compare
- It’s okay to distance yourself if it brings you inner peace
- It’s possible to use comparison to feel good!