I think it’s catching on. And spreading. And I’m seeing more and more people succumb to its negative charms and lure.
What is it?
Comparisonitis. The dis-ease of comparing yourself to others.
Now this could be just comparing your body, size or shape to someone else. It may be your life coaching business. Your blog. Your husband, wife or partner. Your wardrobe. Your friends. Your personality. Your social life. Or it could be all of the above and your entire life rolled into one great big ‘why the hell can I never be like her or as good as that’ horror ball. Oh dear. I can hear you sighing and saying ‘Please get out of my head
I can assure you that I’m not in your head but I’ve certainly had Comparisonitis before myself and do from time to time have to catch myself from ensuring I’m not being seductively lured back into it. It is easy enough to do, especially when you are interested in and genuine about learning from and being around others. We can’t hide ourselves away from people as life coaches – and clearly we don’t want to. We can learn and love and be inspired by each other so much. But not when it turns into a Comparisonitis fest.
Why do we compare ourselves to others? Why do we do something that so often means we come off second best, feeling less than, and struggling to recognise what we already have but aren’t valuing enough?
I think the answer to that is likely to be as rich and diverse as we all as human beings are. Sometimes we do it simply because we’re looking to see if we may be doing something ‘right’ or to a particular standard. Sometimes we do it because we are not feeling strong and we need to look outside of ourselves for approval. Sometimes we do it because we’re failing to see our own skills, talent and beauty and we look to others to see what they’re doing or what they might have that we think we don’t. Sometimes we do it because we are feeling negative and down about ourselves so we compare ourselves to others unfavourably so we can validate that thinking – even though it’s harmful to us and our level of esteem, confidence and compassion. It’s also clearly harmful to our life coaching businesses.
No matter the many reasons why we compare ourselves to others, there is just one thing I know regarding the outcome of doing so. It’s not good for us. Doesn’t lift us up in any way. Doesn’t serve us. It only brings us down and takes our attention away from what we may need to soothe, love or heal within ourselves by diverting our attention elsewhere.
I would love to throw out the challenge to you that if you are falling victim to Comparisonitis or already have a well established case of it – that you untangle yourself from it once and for all knowing that it’s without question harming and not helping you. It’s time to focus on you – not others. It’s time to know you are exactly where you’re meant to be and you can breathe into and learn from you much more than you can via comparing yourself to anyone else. Here’s some ways to truly learn how to stop comparing yourself to others.
1. If reading someone’s blog, looking at their website or spending time with them is causing your Comparisonitis to ramp right up; step away. Step. Away. Step away until you can work on YOU and figure out why that person or life coach or particular thing is triggering and upsetting you so much. Find ways to strengthen yourself so that you can joyfully read, engage or be around others as your best self and best life coach too.
2. Practice gratitude. So often we compare ourselves unfavourably to others and make ourselves come off second best with a big ol’ kick to the ground while we’re at it without fully appreciating where we are and all the wonderful things we have. It becomes all about what they have, or she has, or someone else has, to the point that we miss what’s right with us, right now. If you’re finding yourself with Comparisonitis take a moment to stop, grab yourself a pretty notebook and write out all the things you are grateful for and already have in your life. All of them. You just might be surprised at the depth of what you find.
3. Someone who treats themselves with loving kindness does not compare themselves to others. Self-compassion is key to any person being able to claim their ‘space’ in the world by understanding they are deserving of love, kindness and being treated well. And that begins by you showing you that compassion. It’s not about expecting everyone else to give it to you, especially when you’re not giving to yourself. It’s about believing you are worthy of being treated like you treat your best friend. You don’t compare and contrast your best friend against others in a negative way so why would you do that to you? You wouldn’t. And shouldn’t.
4. Recognise once and for all that you are a whole and amazing person and entirely unique. One of a kind baby. One of a kind. You may be as human or as female or as much of a Leo or Aries as the next human or female or Leo or Aries, but that’s simply something you have in common. It doesn’t make you the same. Because you can’t be the same. You’re you. They’re them. There is a big beautiful difference between you and indeed everyone else. That makes you incomparable. Unable to be compared. Think about that the next time you’re tempted to size yourself up against someone else, because, truth is, it just can’t be done with any measure of fairness
5. Respect your journey. Very few of us ever do anything at exactly the same time. Comparing your blog or life coaching business to someone else’s who has been at it for a whole year or two or even more than you is very unfair – to you. Thinking that you should know as much about a particular topic that someone has had expertise access to all their life – is just plain wrong – for you. Sizing yourself up against someone five foot ten and wanting the same body shape as them when you’re five foot one is a one way trip to heartache. Thinking that your life coaching business should be at the same successful stage as someone who has been in business for even one year more than you is being unfair – again – to you. You are you. And you are where you are. You’re so much better off embracing that and learning to finds way to be ok as you are right now than unfairly sizing yourself up against others.
6. You don’t need to compare yourself to others beautiful you. You truly don’t. You just need to love, respect and honour yourself and where you are in your life right now – body, relationships, career, blog, business – everything. Give up the notion that Comparisonitis is going to drive you or make you a better person. It won’t. It will only see you look outside of yourself for the validation and courage you need to shine as the real you.
And that can only be found within.