If could rid the world of anything, it would be our very human need for comparison of ourselves to one another. (And all major life-threatening diseases, of course.)
Comparing ourselves to others is an age old affliction of the human condition; especially in our modern society (even pre-social media). The saying “Keeping up the Joneses'” was created by cartoonist Arthur R. Momand in 1913 to depict the McGinis who endeavored to catch up socially with their neighbors The Joneses. Hence the saying.
I started noticing a few years ago when I began transitioning into spiritual entrepreneurial work that as I researched my industry and niche, swells of comparison envy would arise within me. I would find myself re-working documents, projects and social media posts obsessing and chasing the perfect fictional formula (and hashtag) that would set me apart from a sea of millions.
Like you, I’ve spent a great deal of my disposal free time developing myself, making sure to not disconnect from myself or turn against myself. Comparing ourselves to others can do this in an instant. Still as I worked through building my business there were times where I found myself a little envious, a little charmed and mostly in awe of others who were just killing it out there in the world. Being their bad ass self.
Comparing myself to others was so energetically draining. It was creatively stifling too. I craved to be release from the clutches of comparison. I wanted to dive deep into staying focused on what I was doing and never worrying if someone was outpacing me, out dancing me, or out spinning me. So I decided that the best thing I could do was put my proverbial blinders on.
Admiration. Cool. Envy. Not So Cool.
There is that famous quote that says, “comparison is the thief of joy.” It is 100% true. I was snatching my joy and the enthusiasm I felt for my new work and the possibility of what I could build. With my blinders on, I did not get distracted by what other people were working on in their entrepreneurial or creative lives. I did not get caught up in comparing my work to anyone else’s. Every time that part of my psyche and subconscious tried creeping up and started barrage me with thoughts and images about what other people were doing; I would offer compassion and redirect my focus back to what I was working on. To minding my business, literally and figuratively.
I was training my mind with redirection and compassion in the same way you might train a sweet little puppy who wants to nibble on everything. With gentle “no’s’ and removing the item being destroyed.
I compassionately removed the comparison and reminded myself, we weren’t doing that anymore. Bringing in that level mindfulness into this practice helped me transform my relationship with the outside world and myself. You what happened? I found liberation and unending joy. Like buckets and buckets of joy. I found that releasing my own judgment about where I should be, what I should be doing, and worrying about what someone else was doing–cleared up space in my mind. I could relax. It also allowed my envy to recede so that when I did come across other people’s work, I could appreciate what they were doing without grasping or creating dissatisfaction within myself. In addition, I watched as my work grew and met the hearts and minds of right people who resonated with content I was creating who also reflected back to me how it helped them or what they loved about it.
It is great to admire the work of others. That’s what we are here to do on Earth, to love and support one another. However, if we find our admiration morphing into envy and we start to judge ourselves or put ourselves down. Well that’s dangerous territory.
In all things we must always be our own best friend and hold ourselves in the highest positive regard, regardless of what the world is doing around us. We must love everything about what we are, what we do, and what we contribute in this world and nothing less.
Put your blinders on for a while, see what deepens or changes within you.
Comment below or join us in The Garden for a deeper discussion surrounding comparison.