Comparison. It’s one of the biggest addictions human history. And one of the most damaging.
Be honest, how often do you compare yourself with others? People you’d like to be like. Others in the same career, or people who have what you’d secretly desire but don’t have.
We often do this purely on a subconscious level. And there’s no doubt that many of our worst decisions, lowest moods, may find their root in comparison.
And if you really think about it, you probably use comparison way more often than you’d like to think.
I know for me, comparison has the power to push me down the waterslide of moods. Then it switches, and pulls me like gravity toward this pool of shame, insecurity, and depression. Recently, when I’ve probably been more sensitive than I am normally, it’s taken only the smallest thing.
For example, I see someone I love getting something I’ve worked hard for but never found. A great opportunity. A relationship. Losing weight. I see the success of people I love, and whilst I am truly happy for them all, something inside me is exploding, wanting to burst. Something in me wants to curl up and die. Something in me, to be honest, wants to shout and scream the childish, irrational cry ‘It’s not fair. Why not me?’
And of course, it’s not what I really feel.
It’s certainly not what I want to feel. I love my friends and want success for them. I am truly happy for them when they achieve something amazing, or get an incredible opportunity. And the joy I feel, and how I celebrate them, I know is completely authentic and real.
But to be honest, whilst the childish response itself might not be me, the hurt behind it might well be.
Sometimes, we feel or think things which we wish we didn’t. Haven’t you done that? Caught yourself thinking or feeling something and scared yourself. And told yourself you couldn’t feel that way, you can’t think like that. It’s not right.
And yet, all the time, this thing is killing you inside. You’re really hurting.
In my experience, the best thing to do is to own this. To acknowledge it. To feel it. Somehow, to verbalise it privately – I do this in writing, or even by just speaking it out loud. In private, where no one else can hear.
Because like any pain, this has to be acknowledged, and confronted.
However, the real issue is, of course, comparison itself.
Comparison is used ruthlessly by marketing companies to sell us their products. And the danger in comparison is, of course, we always measure ourselves by those who’ve achieved more. So no level of achievement is ever enough. And we’re never enough.
With comparison, we always feel like a failure. Because with comparison you’re putting your identity and security, your value itself, in achievement, numbers, money and status.
What’s the alternative?
The Enough Of Grace
Comparison is the enemy of grace. Comparison is about earning value. Grace is the polar opposite. Grace is about the plain and simple truth that you’re already valuable. Already precious. Already have infinite value and worth.
Grace says you’re valuable because you exist – not valuable by comparison. (you can tweet that)
You are valuable – because you exist.
You matter – because you exist.
You are unconditionally loved – because you exist.
And you are enough, just as you are. Right now.
Ultimately, comparison is a worthless exercise. It only makes us feel like failures, and places our security in something which ultimately won’t deliver.
To change our mindset, we must learn to choose to say to ourselves daily, “I am enough”
We must choose not to think of ourselves every time we see others success. Choose to accept we all have our own, equally valid story. And choose to trust our story is and will always be special, unique and amazing.
Then, it becomes easier celebrate others successes, because we’re not thinking about ourselves. We simply happy for our friend or loved one, knowing we’re fully immersed in our own adventure.
However, be warned, this may be a daily battle. I still struggle with comparison. But each day I’m making little steps forward. I have my bad days, but I keep trying. I keep choosing the path I’ve got for myself, and choosing to not see myself through the lens of other people’s stories – but through the lens of grace.
Because if I keep on comparing myself to others, ultimately it will only end up sabotaging my story – and you & I are worth more, than letting others stories handicap our stories own.
So celebrate others success.
Then go, and keep writing your own unique story. Through the lens of grace.
Question For Reflection:
In what ways do you compare yourself to others – and what steps can you take to change that today?
Let me know in the comments below!
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