Do you always find yourself comparing your life and what you do to the lives of others?
That’s what I kindly now refer to as Comparisonitis!
I first came across the term a few years ago when I approached an amazing businesswoman, Jane Lindsay of Snapdragon, for some background on her own Desire Map journey for a presentation I was doing. She said:
“What I found with the Desire Map was that it changed the way that I measured my success and completely got rid of that debilitating comparisonitis that businesswomen are so good at.” ~ Jane Lindsay
This happens not only in the business world but in our personal lives too and seems to be much more prevalent in women than in men – maybe because we are constantly bombarded with ‘perfect’ images of body shape, hair, makeup and what we ‘should’ be. This amazing video popped up on my Facebook timeline recently and is such a great reminder of this. But comparing your life to those of celebrities, neighbours, relatives, friends and even complete strangers who seem to ‘have it all’ really isn’t healthy and if left unchecked, this envy can lead to a lowering of self-esteem and a real loss of personal power – it’s a downward spiral!
Growing up with comparisons
Although I am a huge believer in competition in sports (don’t even get me started on the ‘everyone wins’ mentality of some junior sports these days) or when going for a new job, there are very few personal situations where it has a place. It’s not so much the competition itself, but the fact that it is fundamentally damaging when we associate it with self-worth (or lack thereof). And to be honest that’s what’s happening in the case of comparisonitis folks…
We all have a tendency to compare ourselves to others and we’re pretty much programmed that way from infancy – how many of these statements were part of your upbringing:
“My son started walking when he was only 8 months old”
“Potty training was so simple for my child”
“Your grades aren’t as good as your brother’s”
“Why don’t you like carrots? Your sister does”
“Everyone else in your class understands that, why don’t you?”
“He’s got a good job, why don’t you want to do that?”
“If you just did what she did, you’ll definitely get that promotion”
… and the list goes on and on and it’s no wonder at all we struggle with it so much.
So many of us have our self-esteem and self-worth tied up with external achievement, such as believing that only by being busy we are worthy or that we must be successful to prove our worth to others, and that belief comes from our parents and their parents before them; from our teachers and the teachers before them. It comes from generations of people who were simply repeating the patterns that they were taught.
“You can’t compare an apple to an orange. It will cause a lot of self-esteem issues.” ~ Craig Sheffer
The great news is, once you know what comparisionitis is and work out that you have it, you can cure it (or at least make it far less soul destroying)!
Are you a sufferer?
To figure out whether you suffer from comparisonitis, answer these three simple questions – and be honest with yourself:
- Do you often look at other people and think they have life more sorted than you do?
- Do you ever compare yourself to pictures in magazines, on TV and in social media?
- Do you wish you had the life of a certain celebrity because they ‘have it all’?
If you answered yes to ANY of these three questions then you may be suffering from comparisonitis in greater or lesser amounts.
“Women are so unforgiving of themselves. We don’t recognize our own beauty because we’re too busy comparing ourselves to other people.” ~ Kelly Osbourne
I used to suffer from this badly too, but over the past few years I have learned how to remove comparisonitis from my life almost altogether, and you can too.
As with any ‘cure’ or change that you want to make in your life, you have to COMMIT to it! This is the single most important part of curing comparisonitis – wanting to be free of it and committing to DO THE WORK! There is no magic spell or crystal I can prescribe that will take it all away instantly, although Rose Quartz & Aventurine would make a great starter kit if you are looking for self-love and self-acceptance…
But it takes more than just walking around with a few crystals in your bra to change decades of self-admonishment.
So, to truly cure yourself of this debilitating habit, there are three key things you need to do:
1. Change how you speak to yourself – try speaking to yourself as you would to a frightened child. Would you constantly tell them off for every little thing they did or would you celebrate every little achievement and help them be the best they can be? If that doesn’t resonate, then maybe speak to yourself as you would to a work colleague or employee. Would you berate them as you do yourself? No, I didn’t think so. Try to catch your thoughts as you think them. This can be tricky but if you catch yourself speaking down to
2. Protect yourself – this is an energy thing. If you are constantly being drained of your own energy then there’s no way you can know what you really want for yourself. Take some time to learn about energy protection, whether it’s using crystals, smudging or simply intention, to make sure that you have your own energy in check and you will have a chance at letting your own unique light shine.
3. Work out what you really DO want out of life – if you know what you really want out of your own life then it is much easier to ignore the comparisons that other people make about you. You can listen to all the advice in the world and still only TAKE the advice that resonates with you. Your life is your own no matter what anyone else says.
Being free of comparisonitis allows me to live with my own purpose and values instead of constantly striving to have what others have or be what others are – or what I perceive them to have or be… After all, we only see what others let us see anyway, not what is truly going on in their lives. We are comparing our insides to their outsides and it is time to stop.
I really hope that you are excited about ditching comparisonitis and letting your own unique personality shine – and if you need any help then that’s what I do best…