If you are like me, at times you probably catch yourself falling into the ever-alluring yet emotionally-dangerous trap of comparing yourself to others. On one hand we unconsciously do this in an attempt to make accurate evaluations of ourselves, perhaps for personal growth. But at what cost? While comparison can be a valuable source of motivation and growth, it can also spin us into a tail-chasing frenzy of self-doubt.
This brings me to an experience I had recently at an event where I was showcasing my new book on Forgiveness as well as a Soul Vision Board workshop with a twist. Out the corner of the eye I caught this woman who had just come through the door make a beeline for me. Being an empath I felt a woosh of energy come charging ahead of the woman. Lets just say it was not a pretty pink loving colour but more of a sharp cutting edgy feel.
As she approached my table she picked up my flier and the first thing out of her mouth was to ask me what my qualifications were to run this workshop. Not even a ‘hello nice to meet you’. I am pretty secure in my abilities and gifts as have run workshops for many years now. I responded politely to which she immediately said ‘I am trained in Reiki what are you trained in?’, gave a little ‘sniff’ and walked off. (Yes I have my Reiki training in my ‘toolbox’)
Now based on what I was teaching in the workshop (that there is enough for everyone and not to vibrate from a place of lack) I decided to write this piece on why its important for us to stop spending time comparing our worth based on our perception of everyone else’s sense of worth. When we do that we feed into the perpetual belief that there is not enough to go around for all of us. That we are not good enough and are undeserving. We operate in fear and close ourselves off to opportunities we might miss as we stay preoccupied with that energy.
Recognize that comparing yourself to others is a bad habit we got caught in, sometimes from early childhood. Research has found that comparing creates feelings of envy, low-self confidence, low self-esteem and depression, as well as compromises our ability to trust others. In the end you will most likely end up wishing you were different with thoughts of worthlessness. It takes you nowhere, wastes a lot of time, and puts you in a psychologically terrible place.
Realize that everybody is different, because the fact is we are! Imagine how boring life would be if we were all the same. We have different mindsets, we interpret things differently, we have different experiences, we feel different emotions. As much as some people may want to believe otherwise, nobody is perfect!
Let’s face it: What people present to the outside world is usually an edited version of their reality. You just have to look at Facebook to see how ‘great people’s lives are’. When someone asks you how you are doing, how often do you respond by saying, “my husband is driving me crazy, I’m feeling like a failure at work, and I’m just about ready to lose my mind”? Instead, you probably bite your tongue and say “things are really great!” A recent study in a Social Psychology Bulletin confirmed that people are less likely to reveal their negative emotions than their positive emotions. We will never know the full story and if we make one up about the other person based on our ‘assumptions’ of what is going on most of the information we are accumulating is inaccurate anyway.
So next time you find yourself comparing to someone else stop and ask yourself if it is really fair to compare when you don’t have all of the information. One of the reasons we struggle with our insecurity is because we often compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlights…Facebook remember.
Stop being afraid of yourself. YOU are UNIQUE, you have your own gifts/strengths/beliefs., that is what makes us all different at the same time. There is only ONE YOU, no one person is more important than the next. We all came into this world the same way, we all feel pain, we all age, we all bleed, no one is more special than another. If you find you might have lost who you are, it’s never too late to find yourself again. When you compare you place the focus on the other person, on some level you give away your power. You only have one life to control and that is only yours, so think about how much energy and time is wasted worrying about someone else’s life.
Becoming intimately aware of how we are reacting to those around us offers a source of valuable information on a journey of self-discovery. By focusing on our own success no matter how small and big they might be allows us to experience joy as we no longer waste our time being distracted by how well others are doing.
Lastly find inspiration without comparison. Comparing our lives with others is foolish. But finding inspiration & learning from others is wise. Work hard to learn the difference and remember we are always learning.
If you need to compare, compare with yourself.