Every once in a while I forget my own teachings and principles and slip down the slippery slope of comparing myself to others. Knowing full well that this Outside-In Approach will get me nowhere but stuck in a pool of confusion, uneasiness, and even sadness, I find it difficult to free myself of it. This happened to me recently while I was visiting somewhere and started to compare myself and my possessions to this other person’s. I am not sure whether or not I was aware of what I was doing at the time. All I was aware of was how I was feeling, which was not very happy.
It is easy for us to get caught up in our thoughts and minds and believe what we are thinking to be true, even when we have proof that what we are believing about our thoughts are actually not true. In my case, my thoughts were telling me that what this person had and what this person was doing was better than me and the way that I do things.
One solution to make myself feel better might have been to convince myself that, in fact, my way is better than this person’s. But this is a mistaken approach which might alleviate some feelings of sadness, but only masks the issue and does not make it go away.
What to do then? If convincing (and even proving to) ourselves that we are, in fact, better, does not work, what approach does work to help us stop feeling bad about ourselves?
The answer is not to compare at all.
When you find yourself in a situation where you are comparing yourself to another and you start questioning yourself and feeling uneasy or even sad for yourself, STOP comparing.
Instead use your experience as information. Your feelings of inadequacy or uncertainty may be telling you that there is something that you want to change about yourself. Or these triggers might be giving you the information that you simply are not yet fully clear about who YOU are.
Use this information and then go back to yourself. Instead of concentrating your efforts on convincing yourself what makes you better or different than this other person (or group of people), sit down and do some soul searching. Define who you are and/or who you want to be. Concentrate your efforts on being you.
It was my husband who reminded me of this when I was in my rut and complaining to him about what I felt was wrong with me, as compared to this other person. Feeling as if there was no way out of that train of thought when I was expressing how I felt to him, he simply said, “Focus on you. Define who you are.”
At first I only heard his words, but they had not yet penetrated. A few seconds later, they did. I heard his message loud and clear. It is a message I believe in, know to be true and teach again and again. And yet, I was off track myself. His message (my own message) broke my cycle of unhealthy comparison and brought me back to reality. I felt re-empowered, back on track, and back in control of my own life. Life is so much more pleasant and easy when you stay focused on the only thing that is in your control: you.
Be in touch with any questions or comments anytime. You can reach me here.
In support and in awe of all that you are,