Yesterday I found myself feeling down. I started to bitch to myself about what I was doing with my life. I felt as if I was making zero progress and not ‘getting it together’ as quickly as I thought I needed to to take the steps I SHOULD be taking. I guess I could have gone on and on with the thought trend but for some reason decided to stop and write down exactly WHAT I was feeling in my journal. [A memory bite popped up reminding me that Rich Schefren had suggested this in a report I’d read about 6 months ago. He was explaining why it was important to keep a journal and its many uses one of which was to sort through his own emotions.]
The minute I got to the end of my ‘truth’ on paper I found the answer that was responsible for triggering the feelings of self doubt and thoughts of not feeling as if I was making a difference. It all stemmed from comparison. I had just looked at a new David Neagle video, then skipped over to his page and started to think that maybe I needed to include ‘this’ on my site. Perhaps I needed to offer this…all of this in the context of what David was doing and what seemed to be working for David. Immediately following my list of ‘should-dos’ I started to feel overwhelmed. And that was just the catalyst that brought forth the avalanche of thoughts that culminated in “I’m not good enough!” as I compared myself to David!
Logically I know that I could never be David Neagle – he’s already taken 🙂 but what was more important was that I preferred to root for David versus rooting for myself. I totally dismissed EVERYTHING Giselle had ever done choosing to fixate on what David was doing.
Writing down my feelings in my journal helped because I was able to:
- Become aware of what I was feeling and why
- Put things into perspective fairly quickly.
I then Googled ‘comparing yourself to others’ and came across this very insightful article by Sonya Derian called Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: An Alternative to Competing with People. Most people tell us that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others and I’ve already said, logically we KNOW this. However we continue to do it and Sonya says that it ALWAYS leaves us coming up short. That’s because although we’re comparing ourselves what we’re ultimately doing is judging ourselves.
Sonya asks us to ponder – “The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having or doing more.” Isn’t that true?
The statement that got me thinking was this one: “If you have ever noticed, it doesn’t matter how many people are on your side, cheering you on. If you can’t get on your own side, you never get past “go”.”
I realized that I needed to get on my own side and Sonya had a brilliant suggestion. We can’t simply instruct our brain to STOP comparing because that’s what we are naturally inclined to do. She says “our minds do want to quantify. Our minds want to rank and file and organize information. Our mind wants to know where we fit into the scheme of things. So we need to give it something to do. So, instead of training it to stop comparing altogether, why not simply redirect the comparison to a past and a present self—and keep the comparison within?”
I had read a book called How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person’s Guide to Suicide Prevention by Susan Rose Blauner in an attempt to understand what would lead a person down a path of wanting to take their own life. One of the things I remember Blauner sharing was a few “Tricks of the Trade” that could literally save lives including identifying triggers and creating a “Crisis Plan” for those critical moments.
Sonya provides us with such a “plan” for those moments when we do find ourselves comparing. I intend to copy and print out this list of questions (and you should too), and keep it close at hand in my journal. So the next time I find myself in comparison mode – I know exactly what I need to do.
When you catch yourself comparing yourself to another, stop for a moment and re-direct the thought. Instead of submitting to the temptation to compare yourself to someone else, ask yourself a few questions, instead:
- What are you doing today that you couldn’t have done 5, 3 or even 1 year ago? How have you stepped out in the last year that you might have found inconceivable before?
- What new decisions have you made or what new actions have you taken that have resulted in you moving in a new direction in your life?
- What are your wins this year, compared to last year at this time? How has your life improved? How have you improved? What have you done recently that you never thought you could do?
- What negative behavior have you stopped engaging in, that you never thought you could quit? What positive behavior have you been engaging in that up until now, you have resisted?
- How are you doing more of what you said you were going to do and shown up more consistently for your own success?
- In other words, how have you continued to become a new and improved version of yourself?
Today I remind myself that comparing myself to others is an inaccurate measure. It’s also irrelevant.
I recently came across David Neagle and I like what he’s doing. He’s a great guy but he’s already taken! 🙂 David is doing David and I need to do me. We often say this but we need to practice it as well. It’s an inside out activity. In my journal entry today I said “If I changed my foundation every Monday morning based on stuff I thought I SHOULD be doing because I was comparing myself to others, how will I ever be able to lay a solid foundation on which to build the life I was destined to create?”