Episode 24: Dealing with Comparison
Episode 24: Dealing with Comparison
One of my new favorite ways to describe comparison is "Looking for ourselves is someone else's journey." We know it's not helpful and yet, we do it.
So what can we do about it?
You don't want to miss:
- How to spot the "sneaky" little ways you may be comparing yourself to others
- A counter-intuitive way to finally start learning how to stop comparing yourself
Today’s show was inspired by a conversation I was having with a few people in my workout class. To even call it a workout class doesn’t capture what it truly means. Let me provide some context:
One of my creative outlets is aerial silks. I’ve been an aerialist for a few years now and naturally, I've gotten much stronger, more graceful, and more skilled at it. I am
Part of what I love about the class is that it brings up all the mucky stuff we completely run away from to keep our ego’s intact. Thoughts of inadequacy, comparison, defeat; all that nasty stuff has to come up. And you have two choices within each moment: believe the gunk or divest from it. I’m happy that I’ve gotten so much better at divesting from those thoughts.
Now, there was a new person in an all-levels conditioning class and she asked me afterwards, “How long does it take to get that strong?” And that’s when the record scratches for me. Because it’s not a question of curiosity, it’s a question of comparison. And if you want to stifle your enjoyment in something that is so incredible as aerial arts, you begin to compare yourself to someone else.
The best quote I’ve recently heard about comparison was from an artist that spoke at my church a few weeks ago, and the artist Scott Erikson described comparison as “Looking for ourselves in someone else journey.”
It’s as if our gifts, our story, our journey lacks the color of someone else’s, which isn’t true, we know it’s not true, and yet we do it nonetheless.
Thoughts of comparison can sneak up on us in sneaky little ways.
Some tell-tale signs are:
Incessantly asking how long will it take for you to do something based on someone else's life (ex: "How long will it take me to get stronger at aerial?")
Asking yourself if you should do something because someone else did. (ex: "Should I start coding because someone I know is doing that and their doing GREAT!"
Defining what is possible based on other people's experience. (ex: "Is it possible for me to write a novel and work full-time?")
Now don’t get me wrong, inspiration is a beautiful thing and I get inspired by other people's stories all the time. And it’s beautiful when I see what they’re doing and begin to expand my own definition of what is possible. That’s inspiration. Comparison is when my options seem to reduce to the set of options I perceive someone exercised in their life.
So what can you do?
Go on a comparison spree. Compare the heck out of yourself to someone else. I want you to get so fatigued from comparing yourself.
Find the themes. What are some of the patterns of your comparison? The sore spots. Is it consistently over how much money you think someone has or how creative you perceive another person to be?
Interrogate those thoughts! Our thoughts are not really real. So you completely get to choose which thoughts you believe and which ones you do not. I say do the process I talked about in episodes 5 and 6. Identify the thought, identify the resulting feeling, the resulting action, and change the thought. Choose a new one.
Your journey is your journey. And that is beautiful. There is no other place or person you should be.