Think about a time when you felt really proud of yourself. A time when you loved and accepted yourself and were aware of your own growth and worth. Perhaps a time when you finally managed to get into the groove of practicing a healthy habit on a daily basis, or a time when you met a fear head-on and proved to yourself that you can do anything. It is times like these that we feel aligned, purposeful and confident. We can take a deep breath, sigh and just be in awe of our lives.
And then….. when we least expect it…. it happens…. we do it….. we compare ourselves! We compare ourselves to the person at the gym, on the street, in our class, at our work, in our community, in our family or to a teacher. We conclude that this person is better than us because they are thinner, taller, smarter, more successful, more vocal, wittier, classier, more stylish, more spiritual, more grounded, wiser, richer, in a relationship, married, courageously divorced, healthier, stronger, more experienced, more fearless, quirkier, the list goes on and on.
What happens to us in these moments of comparison? They can last as long as 5 seconds and yet they allow our inner critic to have a field day. We go from feeling proud of ourselves, loving ourselves, confident, faithful and inspired to feeling worthless, judgmental, not good enough or unlovable in some way. It is the perpetual dangling carrot that never goes away. It feels like no matter how much progress we make, by comparison, somehow we come up short.
Now stop right here. Because this isn’t really true. Don’t read it as true. Don’t convince yourself that you aren’t of value because you spotted “more” value in someone else. You are perfect and exactly where you need to be in this very moment of your life. You are of worth, you have innate gifts and beauty that you contribute to this world. In fact, I would bet that someone is comparing themself to you right now.
Ask yourself: What part of me is trying to convince me that I am not good enough? Most likely it is a part of you that is trying to gain evidence to strengthen some false beliefs that you’ve created about yourself. Most likely it is a part of you that has been wounded in the past. Most likely it is a part of you that is so afraid to shine your light so fully bright because you might not recognize yourself anymore if you do. Most likely, it is one of your saboteurs.
Usually our saboteurs arise when we are growing in some way. Or when we are about to really go for it or make a bold, exciting decision in our lives. It is because we have pushed ourselves outside our usual box of comfort and are gaining the confidence to live more fully or accomplish our goals that the saboteur will raise it’s hand and try to convince us otherwise. While this is very natural, it is something we must practice overcoming on our journey of self-growth and healing.
We address saboteurs with both my Holistic Health and Co-Active Life Coaching clients because whether you are becoming healthy or growing yourself in some way, it is fair to expect your saboteurs to arise. Contact me to learn more about this.
A Helpful Trick - The Comparison “Redo”
A quick shift in perspective can help keep a saboteur at bay and remind you how much you have to be proud of. When you catch yourself comparing yourself to someone and coming up short, take a moment and find a different comparison with that person that will have you love some aspect about yourself. For example, if you see a woman who is thinner on the street and your recent efforts at weight loss suddenly feel deflated, do a Comparison “Redo”.
Fill in this sentence with a positive quality about yourself: Compared to her, I am __________ or I have ___________. I.e., compared to her, I have luscious, curly hair or a powerful voice. This exercise is not to create judgment around another person or to feel better about ourselves by putting others down. This is simply to be used to remind yourself of your worth in that moment and to stop yourself from criticizing yourself. The goal is simply to find qualities about yourself that are worth acknowledging.
You can also practice finding evidence of how the quality that you admire in another also exists in you. For example, if you compare yourself to someone who is more successful than you, pause and remind yourself all the ways that you are successful as well.
We have the power to choose which consciousness we reside in. One of false belief or one of the deeper truth about who we really are and what is possible in our lives. I invite you to start noticing how often you compare yourself to others in a way that reinforces your own limiting beliefs about yourself and instead practice choosing to love and acknowledge yourself. You’re worth it!