Do you ever have that feeling when you start out inspired by something and then end up comparing yourself unfavorably, or thinking you are not enough, or that you don’t have enough?
Comparison is something that most of us struggle with; it’s an epidemic in our society. Below I share three ways to heal and protect yourself from the catchy virus of comparison, and some beautiful Dark Moon recommendations that are also comparison-busters.
I’m thinking about comparison because I recently caught the virus of comparison and found myself scrolling through Instagram, looking at the feeds of women I love and respect deeply (Amanda Palmer (pictured above), Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Glennon Doyle, to name a few) and using them against myself.
It started small, as it always does: Reading The Art of Asking went from “I love Amanda Palmer! She is such an inspiration!” To “I should be more like Amanda Palmer!” That then commenced the Instagram scrolling, looking at what my sheroes were up to. Soon the little voice in my head moved to: “They doing so much better than me! They are posting regularly and interacting with her fans and building community and saving the world and…” And soon I was buried in: “I’m doing everything wrong…”
From inspiration to criticism in 5.0 seconds. Ah, my brain.
It’s similar to the feeling I get in those rare occasions when I go into a mall and go from feeling like I have everything I need to suddenly believing I need a bunch of new, shiny stuff.
Luckily, I know the comparison road does not lead to a good place, and that I’m here to be me, not to be Glennon Doyle or Elizabeth Gilbert (they are already doing that brilliantly, and I am doing me brilliantly.) So I have learned to laugh at myself when I get into a comparison vortex, take a breath, step back, and remind myself of what it true.
Here are three steps to coming back to yourself when you have caught the comparison virus or you are spiraling downward into a vortex of self-criticism:
1. Come back to yourself. Breathe. Notice how you are feeling in your body when you compare or criticize yourself.
When you become aware of where your thoughts are leading you and how they are making you feel, you shift from believing to witnessing. The thoughts of “I’m doing it all wrong,” or “I should be more like XXX” or “I’m never going to succeed” or “I should just give up now” are just that, thoughts. They are not reality. Witnessing the thoughts can help you to gain some distance and perspective.
2. Say out loud: XXX is doing herself beautifully, and I am doing myself beautifully. May I be inspired by XXX to become the best version of myself I can be.
Train yourself to see yourself and other people as magnificent, multi-faceted gems, all unique and bringing their special sparkle to the world. You don’t have to be perfect, genius, or exceptional at everything, or at anything. You get to focus on growing and nourishing yourself to be the most radiant, accepting, and peaceful version of YOU. The people you admire are doing them; do you. Don’t use them against yourself… use them as lights that can guide your way back to YOU.
3. Name your differences. What is the gift you are bringing forward?
Bring all of your attention away from the accomplishments and successes of others and to your own dynamic expression. Name three things that you like about yourself. Come back into relationship with yourself as an artist of YOUR life. You have unique raw materials that are different than anyone else; how will you make art?
There will always be people lighting the way ahead of you, and people behind you being illuminated by your light. Always. Look towards the light and leave the heavy baggage of comparison and criticism by the side of the road. You don’t need to lug it around; that serves no-one.
Dark Moon Recommendations from Saltwater Stars:
hydrate. absorb what keeps your body well. absorb what keeps your heart soft. absorb what keeps your soul alive. absorb what keeps your mind clear.
rest. be at ease like everything else depends on it. be at ease like you e done your best. be at ease like there’s more power in the flow than attempts at control.
feel how you feel. feel it until it passes. feel it until you can shape it. feel it until you’re ready to share it. feel it & share it even when you’re unready because you are never the only one or really alone.
be still. let the waves come in & out. observe. contemplate. participate in caring for yourself & being cared for. ~ By Ariana Felix @copyright Saltwater Stars
Visit the Saltwater Stars blog to see more articles and insights (thanks to Sarina for sharing!)