Ass kicker. Soul Crusher.
A chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out deal.
Making comparisons is nothing new. And, if you’re anything like me, you probably catch yourself falling into the ever-alluring yet emotionally-dangerous trap of comparing yourself to others. Frequently.
CAN I GET A YAAS?
According to social comparison theory, we do this in an attempt to make accurate evaluations of ourselves. But at what cost? In as much as comparisons (and role models) are both invaluable and essential, we can’t be driving ourselves insane shadow-boxing those whom we think have done better, accomplished more than us. Those whom we perceive to be in better, nicer places in their lives. Emulation is a tricky terrain. A slippery slope covered with the slime and mud of envy, with the immense potential of spinning us into a tail-chasing frenzy of self-doubt. Hello.
Social media hasn’t helped, really. Distance no longer exists save for (a) when we physically board a plane; or (b) the time it takes for our ISP to actually do its job. That which was once a beautiful gift in helping families and friends stay connected
can has (ironically) also evolved into a source of comparison, discontentment.
USING OTHERS AS A BENCHMARK OF OUR OWN WORTH
I don’t know about you but I dare say I’m guilty of this at least once a week. At the very least. More, if I were to be perfectly honest (she admits, shamefacedly). You know, the downside of writing these bare-all pieces is that I have to bare all, and let my own inner demons come out. Not always the easiest thing. Speaking with Fr Troy through a dimly-lit confessional box is so much easier. But I digress.
So again, role models are useful.
But comparison is a killer so CUT. IT. OUT.
Remember Mark Twain? I do believe he was really onto something when he said, “Comparison is the death of joy“. Don’t you agree?
We don’t need research to tell us that comparing breeds feelings of envy, low-self confidence, and depression. Or that it compromises our ability to trust ourselves, let alone others, and doesn’t that just form the loveliest of backdrops for a disaster just waiting to happen?
On the flipside, while downward comparison (comparing ourselves to those less fortunate) can provide some measure of benefit to one’s sense of self, even this form of comparison comes at a price. It requires that we derive pleasure in the failures or misfortunes of others to feel adequate, and that’s not cool. When comparing drives you to devalue not just yourself, but also others, you know it’s bad.
Let’s face it. What people present to the outside world is usually an edited version of their reality. Do you think they’d really tell you that they feel like a failure at work? Or that they suspect their spouse is having an affair and they have no idea what to do? And that they think they’re about to completely lose it?
OF COURSE NOT
We struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. Think about it. There’s a reason why it’s called blind envy, or was it blind jealousy? Either way, you know what I’m trying to say.
Mulling over how someone else appears to be reeling in the big projects; or seems to have so much money/friends/shoes/clothes; is apparently more successful – it’s just SO time-consuming and, really, quite ineffective. Being hard on ourselves actually zaps a lot of energy. It’s tiring and, worse, it’s a battle we’ll never win. I should know. I’ve been doing it for ever so long and I am officially done. I am tired of being envious. And constantly comparing myself with Trish, Dawn, and Heidi. So tired. Time to let them go.
SO, BYE BYE, LADIES, I BID YOU ADIEU
Before finishing, I want to share with you these thoughts I stumbled across recently. I think they’re quite possibly the best tips ever in helping me personally combat those vile little comparison demons, and maybe, just maybe, they may prove to be of some use to you too?
(1) Give yourself permission to want what you want
(2) Wish the best for those you’re envious of
(3) Get your own ass in gear
Envy is naught but a call to action
And remember to link-up?
p/s photos by Sofia Touassa
I link up here.