The negative committee is back in session again and it says …
Do you willingly allow the poison of comparison to ruin your happiness?
Do you let it walk all over your joy and make you feel small and insignificant?
If you are not sure what I mean, here’s how it usually goes. You are having a perfectly fine day when suddenly the negative committee hearings go into session in your mind, and suddenly you hear yourself think thoughts such as:
He started after me at the same job and he is already promoted twice! What am I doing so wrong?
My friend from high school is already a published author and I’m still struggling what to write about! What’s the point?
Their first business is already making millions and I’ve failed at all my 3 businesses. I’m such a loser!
She is born lucky – she can eat whatever she wants and never gain a pound, and I’m starving myself and overweight. God is this unfair!
And on and on you go with your made-up stories and your irrational reasonings until there is no trace of that initial happy feeling and you are left with resentment and anger toward yourself.
Comparing yourself to someone else is a surefire way to kill all joy and happiness, a cycle that you don’t deserve because of one simple reason: It’s not true.
So today, tell your negative committee meeting to just shut up and then keep reading so you never again fall victim of comparing yourself to someone else.
Okay I might as well confess it.
First of all, you are not alone in this. I do it too.
You don’t believe me? Okay. I’ll swallow my pride and share my negative committee with you. Gulp. Here goes.
Lately, my comparison obsession is around yoga. I’ve been doing yoga for years, but my commitment waned many times because I focused on a million other things including the miserable job I needed to exit and the business I dreamt of starting. I never advanced that far in my yoga.
Now I watch my Instagram feed of these gorgeous perfect yoginis with a tinge of envy and a bitterness of regret. My negative committee screams in my ears:
It’s too late for you. You missed your window. You would break your back if you bent that far. You will never strike that pose honey.
Those thoughts are self-destructive to every chance my yoga journey would have in the future. I know that, but telling them to shut up is only the first step in recovery. There are more steps to understanding and stopping the comparison game.
Because yoga is no different than life. When your mind has given up on you, all hope is lost. You might as well declare defeat and sit by the side lines and watch others embrace your dreams.
Is that really what you want? If so, stop reading now. I’ve got nothing else to say to you.
Why do we compare ourselves to others?
I tell you why. We see their ‘finished product’ and take a look at our own ‘unfinished’ one and we lose heart. Comparison happens in that instant. We compare and feel disheartened because it’s easier to feel that way than doing the work. It’s easier to feel self-pity than committing to the consistent daily work that these others have put in to get to the place we want to get.
Most of us are drawn to an unhappy state of existence because it attracts more sympathy from the world than a cheery successful state. “Oh I just can’t do it! I am not good enough! It’s too hard!” we cry to the world and they say in response, “I am so sorry but we do understand! It is hard! You really can’t do it!”
We have a support group to commiserate with because they too have given up. So they give us approval not to do it too – the dream is too big, just let it go, watch others instead and live vicariously through them, would you?
So we continue to sulk and compare and sulk some more.
Happiness, success and joy can be scary, scary stuff if you have never given yourself permission to feel them and live them first hand, but come on, is it worth throwing away a lifetime of opportunity for a little fear and anxiety and want of some approval?
The answer is a resounding NO!
It Is Not Worth It!
Sure, it takes a bit of courage but so what? Dig deep and you will pull out an ocean of courage. You will astound yourself with how courageous you really can be.
Make your dream matter. Make it urgent. Make it important. If the person you compare yourself to has managed to do it, there is proof and this proof can serve as inspiration. This proof can lift your spirits instead of bringing you crashing to the earth.
3 quick ways to never compare yourself to someone else
We have established this much: Comparing blocks the flow of your creative energy and genius and makes you throw up your hands in desperation and say, “What’s the point?” Comparing is poison to your progress and your success.
Let’s add a note of compassion: this is normal and we are human beings. So it’s hard to just say never compare yourself to someone else. But because it’s so destructive, we need an escape route. A safe surefire escape route that brings us back into a state of productivity, happiness and balance.
Here’s what I have been doing that works brilliantly. Next time your negative committee starts feeding you false stories about the perfection of others, do these 3 things immediately:
1. Go ahead and trade places but do it fairly:
No matter how much you may think you dislike yourself, deep down you really do love yourself, and you wouldn’t trade who you are with anyone else in the world. This was a truth I did not easily accept for a long time and you may not either.
So the question here is would you really trade places with the person you compare yourself to?
This means you don’t just trade your “failure” for their success, but your everything – your personality, your experiences, your memories, your quirks, your family, your house – for their everything. You can’t have part of their picture, you see.
Do you really know what they are struggling with? What darkness they deal with every day? What problems they have to face? Are you really willing to give all of yourself up for a tiny snapshot of someone else’s life? I bet not.
2. Turn the negative feeling of jealousy into inspiration:
Take a good hard look at where this “other” person is. Do you want to get there or stay where you are? If yes, feel yourself get inspired, get excited, get curious. If you want it, work for it like they did. If you don’t know how they did it, find out, ask questions. But first, feel joy for them. See them as role model. Celebrate their success and do the work until you are ready to celebrate your own.
In fact, get so busy with doing the work yourself that you have no time whatsoever to compare yourself anymore.
3. Compare yourself freely to your own self:
As soon as you feel jealousy for someone else, turn the comparison onto yourself. The only healthy comparison you should allow is when you compare yourself with an earlier version of where you were.
Are you further along than you were last week or last month or last year? Are you happy with your progress? This method helps you notice that either you are moving along and should just keep going or makes you realize that you are not making progress. In that case, check to see if you are doing the work or the practice or the task today to get YOU closer to your desires.
The magic is to turn it around.
The magic is to turn it around, to take the focus away from others and back onto yourself, and to look inward and see where you could do things differently, with more authenticity, more enthusiasm, more guidance in the right direction, and more affirmation for your own hard work.
Something amazing starts to happen right around then. Your own journey becomes so intoxicating, so fun, so exiting and delicious that you won’t be minding the business of anyone but your very own. You will stop comparing yourself to anyone but your yesterday self for a better version of your tomorrow.
What do you think? How have you deal with the comparison game? What have you found to be useful? Let me know in the comments!