Have you ever compared yourself to someone else? What about yourself? Comparison is one of the most common themes in people who sit on the couch in my office and it’s convenient to do. Comparison will either fuel you or kill your joy. I want to remind you that comparison is normal and a natural way we learned to survive in the world— the key is that we learn to steward it.
I myself can remember comparing myself to other women and even comparing myself to a past version of me. I’d be willing to bet that you have done this too. Social media isn’t really any help here either!
When I looked at my reflection and began comparing myself to a former version of myself, I saw only what I was lacking along with a skewed message of what I should be. This was evidence that I was lacking clear vision. I remember thinking things like “if only I was the fat I was when I thought I was fat then.” Lacking clear vision! More on this soon. Stay with me ♥️
Types of Comparison
There are two types of comparison. The first is upward comparison which is when we look at someone who is above us in any aspect and the. We draw conclusions based on how we feel about ourselves ever reaching that place.
The second type is downward comparison. This is when we are looking at someone who we determined is not in as good of a place as ourselves. We can look at these people and find ourselves content with where we are because we think to ourselves that “at least I am not _____”. This could be financially, physically, emotionally, etc.
We see someone, downward or upward, and we compare ourselves to them. So, why is this a big deal?
When we are talking about comparison, there is another major factor that comes into play and that is self esteem. Research tells us that self esteem gets in the way and impacts what happens when we compare. So someone with a positive self esteem who sees themselves well can look at someone and upwardly compare themselves thinking “I can do that/be that/follow that!” But a person with a lower self esteem can look at that same person in an upward comparison but think “there is no way I can be that successful/have that/be that.” This can be dangerous because we form a pattern of how we are not good enough and look at someone in a downward comparison as an esteem boost. Friend, this creates room to base our own worth on someone else. That is a lot of power to give to someone else.
Three things happen in our brains when we compare. We delete the ways we have opportunity, the good things about us, and how we could be more. Then, we distort the information. We distort that information to match the story we are telling ourselves in this comparison such as we are not good enough and then we generalize with thoughts like “nobody here actually likes me”. We generalize these stories and make them true across all areas. Then, we are seemingly all of a sudden, operating in a very negative mindset of not being good enough…unless we use these “brain powers” for good. 💪🏻
Now as your friend, I will be open about something that you will come to know more about as we get closer. 😉 I have been trying to carry a child and birth a child for almost 9 years now. This is a long time! Especially in the early years of this journey, it was easy to focus on how others would get pregnant by getting sneezed on and here I was tracking my temp, standing on my head… you get the deal. It. Just. Wasn’t. Fair. People who didn’t even want children or were in no place to parent could make babies….not me. The more I did this, the more bitter and angry I became and I told myself that something was wrong with me AND I focused on the injustice of it all (according to me). My vision and my meanings from comparison were leading me the wrong direction. It took me several years and internal character work to resolve this so that I could and now get to hold two emotions at one time – sadness for my longing and joy for those around me.
Do you celebrate the failure of others? Do you celebrate when someone struggles because you are struggling too? Do you feel anger and jealousy when someone else wins? Friend, if you answered yes to any of these, that is a character thing! When these things such as anger and jealousy rise up in us, it is super important to ponder “where did this come from?” Most of my anger and jealousy came from the thought that I should be pregnant by this age, before this person, in this timeframe, etc. I can be honest with you that if I wasn’t comparing, I would not have been carrying the weight I was on the inside. Once I realized this, I had to deal with myself. When you become aware of what is in you, you have a responsibility. So, when you recognize those feelings, ask yourself “how much control do I believe that I have in my life?”
P.S. It’s more than you think!!
Friend, I am here to tell you that your life is not in the hands of others. You can be the person you want to be and have the things you want to have. You have so much control over your attitude and the direction your comparison takes you. You are not subject to the things you think or emotions you feel. So unless you can compare with some good self esteem… when would NOW be the right time to stop?
When you know who you are, other people do not get to dictate who you are. If you know who you are, you don’t need to compare yourself to others. So, ask yourself these questions.
- Who am I? Really. The real answer.
- Is it possible I don’t see clearly?
- What’s the truth I need to focus on now?
- What am I committed to TODAY to not compare from now on?
If you were sitting in front of me right now, I would not let you leave until you answered these questions. It is that important and I do care! I cannot wait to hear what you discover! Message me your responses and revelations; I love celebrating my friends! See y’all back here next week!
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