Do you compare yourself to others?
Last week, on my IG stories, I talked about perfectionism + attaching our worth externally vs. internally and had so many interesting conversations in my DM following that. One theme that kept coming up was comparison, so today's email is all about it.
Before we dive in, here’s what I want you to know --
We all fall into comparison.
You might think that you’re the only one having these self deprecating thoughts, you are not. Truth is, we doubt ourselves privately and often don’t voice our insecurities. We end up thinking that something is wrong with us while everyone else is walking around feeling confident.
So, beloved, I want you to know that you’re not alone...
If you’ve ever felt jealous when a friend made a big progress in her career - you’re not alone.
If you’ve ever felt behind or slower than other people - you’re not alone.
If you‘ve ever gone on social media wishing you had someone else’s life (someone you might not even know) - you’re not alone.
But Why Does It Show up?
This phenomenon, the comparison rabbit hole, often happens when you’re busy doing your thing (feeling pretty good about it) and then it hits you ‘out of nowhere’. You may think it’s random, but if you really pay attention to it for a while you’ll start seeing a pattern.
Over the years of working with so many clients (and doing my own inner work) I’ve noticed that there are three types of comparison:
Comparison that comes up around the things that you feel insecure about
Comparison that comes up around the things that you desire for yourself
A combination of 1 + 2
All are deeply subconscious mechanisms.
The first, is your mind’s way to provide you with evidence that you’re right about all your inadequacies. Our brilliant minds are designed to find proof to whatever idea we come up with. Therefore, when you draw a conclusion about yourself, you’re likely to do two things; look for evidence that reinforces your belief and discount anything that runs contrary to your belief. If you developed a belief that you’re behind in life, you’ll go on IG and find all the proof that it’s right. You’ll see friends from high school who are married with children, you’ll see friends from uni who are all settled, etc. The second, comes up as a response to your unmet dreams and desires. These can be dreams that you’re aware of, or ‘secret dreams’ that you haven’t dared to fully embrace, yet. You see, feelings of comparison are never about the person. It’s about what we feel we’re lacking and how we think we’ll feel if we had the thing we see. Comparison leaves us judgmental and critical towards ourselves, lowers our self-confidence and puts us in a downward spiral, which prevents us from moving forward. Which is exactly what it’s here to serve. If it leaves you feeling like you’re not good enough - it’s doing a great job. You’ll keep denying your dreams. You’ll keep pushing down your desires (“there’s someone else doing that… why bother?” “I’ll never be able to get there… why bother?”) Comparison is a one of your mind’s protection mechanisms to keep you in the comfort zone.
(read that again, please) Not because it’s bad, because it wants to keep you safe. And How Can You Deal With It?
Practice awareness - start paying attention to when comparison shows up and ‘label’ it: “oh, I’m doing this comparison thing”
Feel the feeling - take a deep breath full of self compassion and acceptance - remind yourself it’s a normal human experience, try not to fall into judging comparison.
Trade judgment for curiosity - here are some journaling prompts to help you:
Where are these feelings coming from?
What do I feel like I’m lacking?
What insecurity is it uncovering?
What’s my secret dream that I haven’t fully owned?
What do I believe having this thing will make me feel? Is this something I truly want or is it a shiny penny I’m ready to let go of?
If I felt fully enough, what would I be inspired to do right now?
Challenge your beliefs - What do you make comparison mean? (That you are not good enough? That there’s not enough to go around? That it’s too late? That you’re too old? That you’re behind?) Take a look at the labels you’ve placed on yourself. Remind yourself that you don’t have to allow those beliefs in, just because you think something, doesn’t make it true. Ask yourself: Is it true? What might else be true? (look for evidence to the contrary)
Once you understand why and when comparison shows up in your life and what you made it mean about yourself, you can start shifting from feeling like something is wrong with you, to identifying what is it in your life right now that is craving your attention. Step away from comparison whenever you recognize it in your life, unplug yourself from someone else’s life and trade comparison with self connection. Ask yourself: What do I need more or less of in my life today? Don’t flood your newsfeed (or your life for that matter) with people that make you feel like you’re not enough. I’ll say the obvious, because I think it’s important to remind ourselves that:
1. What you see or think you know is never the whole picture (especially if your comparison is based on social media).
2. Everyone is in a different place on their journey (you can’t compare the success of someone who has been running their own business for 5 years to yourself, as someone who just started on this journey. Same goes for comparing yourself with physical activity, family life, relationships, financial goals, etc.)
3. There is only one YOU on this planet, there is no one like you. There is a special path that is meant for you to follow. Trust that you are exactly where you need to be. Hope this has helped you to understand how to reframe comparison and shift from judgment to connection! If you are looking to be supported with quieting down that inner critic’s voice so you can listen to your own truth, own your dreams and pave your own path with so much inner trust and confidence there’s a place for you in my 1:1 coaching program. You can fill out the application form and we’ll set up free discovery call so we can get to know each other! Love, Naama p.s. a tiny little trick that always works! If you find yourself feeling jealous about someone, pay them a compliment, let them know how you appreciate what they are doing… Give it a try and witness your energy shifting ASAP.