When you continually compete with others, you become bitter. But when you continually compete with yourself, you become better.
How often have you faced adversity and yelled, “I can’t take it anymore” and contemplated whether or not to quit? How often have you heard ‘no’ and you perceived it as a form of rejection as if you or it didn’t matter? Or discovered yourself engaged in self-sabotage due to limiting beliefs? Lastly, as you faced a whirlwind of uncertainty and difficulty managing change, you found yourself feeling defeated? These are some of the many reasons people think they don’t matter. They aren’t good enough or want to give up. Beloved, different motivations drive each of these. One of them is the struggle of what I have coined as the Comparison Syndrome.
An Exposure of the Comparison Syndrome
We can sometimes find ourselves challenged by judging ourselves very harshly and rather than walking out of the challenges we face, we are tempted to walk away, assuming that we have failed. How many of you recognize that this challenge is often a result of comparing ourselves to others? In actuality, while comparison is something that we all do, the problem lies at the root of our comparison. Specifically, are we trying to figure out how good we are or trying to make ourselves feel better? The critical principle lies in understanding the root of our motivation, and to weed out unhealthy comparisons.
Let’s say there’s someone whose craft is impeccable, and you find yourself seeking an understanding of the quality of your work. This is, frankly speaking, a healthy motivation. On the flip side, if you find that you are comparing yourself to others to boost your self-esteem, this is an unhealthy motivation and will create some problems. These problems mask themselves in the following ways and can rob you of your joy when:
- you compare your flaws and shortcomings to the best you presume about others
- you use too much time comparing your accomplishments to others
- you lose focus and give too much attention to the wrong things or the wrong people
- you find yourself flowing in resentment towards yourself and others
- you find yourself dissatisfied, miserable, and unhappy
- you struggle with celebrating and complimenting without partiality
Unpacking the Struggle with Comparison
In an attempt to encourage you to stay the course because you matter, allow me to unpack the danger of unhealthy comparison just a bit further. My husband is a fisherman. While I know very little about fishing other than what he has shared, comparison reminds me of fishermen casting their net. When you compare yourself to others, you tend to cast your nets around the people you choose to connect with. You evaluate whose attention you’ve caught, and then you tend to use it to form opinions about yourself.
How many of you are shaking your head or saying to yourself, ‘I sometimes find myself doing this.’ But really, did you realize that you’ve been doing this all your life which has had an impact on the opinions you have of Yourself, YOUR self-esteem? These opinions form our core beliefs and dictate your every day, getting up, walking around life. If you are guilty of ‘unhealthy’ comparison, I need you to do this immediately: STOP! STOP IT! Take a moment to imagine how your life could be transformed by abandoning negative comparison tendencies. So how does a beautiful soul like you do this?
Taking YOUR Power Back
To take your power back and halt unhealthy comparison is to understand your core belief about your self-worth. As I teach, the first step to embracing that YOU Matter is to learn to love yourself and the importance of focusing on your self-care. Next, because YOU are fearfully, wonderfully, and marvelously made, shift your attention to those things that empower you to embrace and appreciate your uniqueness. As you begin to give attention to yourself, start a gratitude practice for the good things in your life.
I am a humble witness to the power of embracing your uniqueness. I have forever been a dreamer. My tendency to over-analyze and to make sure everything was just perfect, created hiding places that caused me to become stuck. One of my ride and live sisters, who has challenged me in so many ways, once shared with me during a time when I was trying to figure out where I was going to get the money to publish a book said, “Cheryl, stop focusing on where the money will come from.” “Instead, visualize yourself sharing an excerpt from your book and a panoramic view of people standing in line to sign your book.” Can I tell you, when I took my power back, I attracted precisely what I visualized, and it blew my mind. That has been the trajectory of my journey, to appreciate being uniquely me and my heart’s desire is to empower other women to do the same.
Implementing these strategies to minimize unhealthy comparisons, will position you to feel more positive about you. Practice gratitude and focus on attracting things that bring you joy and happiness.