The cost of comparisons
It is 10:30 pm and I meant to go to bed at 9:30 but somehow I spent 60 minutes mindlessly scrolling on IG. Now I feel awful. Does this sound familiar? It used to be me all the time!
I would be upset about the wasted time and to make matters worse have this awful feeling at the pit of my stomach because it seemed like everyone else was having a more exciting life filled with their perfect families, vacations, renovated homes etc… all the while looking beautiful doing it!
Feeling bad is the only outcome from this behaviour, what I was doing was comparing and this is always based on judgements of self and others. In the moment, we may get a feeling of satisfaction but often there is a feeling of shame and isolation after. This is because when we compare we lose connection. We disconnect from our own life, and our own journey and become more interested in someone else’s life. This is a problem because we can not stay centred with our intuition if we are not in our own experience. It also results in feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing as we focus on what we are not doing versus all the wonderful things that we bring to our lives and the people around us.
Never before have we had the opportunity to rank ourselves against others as we do right now, social media is everywhere and as much as this is a wonderful opportunity for cyber connection it can also create a toxic window where we are in constant comparison with one another subconsciously ranking ourselves against what we see online. When we compare ourselves to others and feel bad about ourselves, we are not seeing the whole picture and the tendency is to only see the parts that trigger our own sense of unworthiness or inadequacy.
Everyone is different, some people prioritize their work-life while others push to be in fantastic physical shape. Some people volunteer weekly at their kid’s school and others who always show up in beautiful clothes and makeup. None of these choices are better and these people you are comparing yourself to are not superior they simply show us what is important to their journey at this present time.
Comparisons are natural and every single person does it. We have evolved as human beings to use this part of our thinking mind to spot danger, find mates and stay safe. The challenge today is that instead of using this to our advantage, comparisons are now a way that we turn against ourselves and others. It has become a very negative and damaging aspect of human thinking and has caused disconnection and isolation amongst ourselves and with others.
It does not have to be this way. With mindful attention, we can use the natural and evolved tendency to compare as a way to create connection. The body sends a negative signal when we are judging and with attention you can begin to understand what this feels like in your body. For me, it feels like a heaviness in my chest and a busy mind trying to push away the negative feelings I am having.
Now when I feel this, I try to stop myself in my tracks and ask:
What made me feel this way? Why does this make me feel bad? Is what I am feeling true? Is this something that I want for my life? What is stopping me?
Sometimes this process gets me fired up and I realize my negative feelings where my intuition asking me to pay attention to a new possibility for myself but most of the time my feelings are more a reflection of an old wound or feeling like I should do something more.
Once I go through this exercise of a) identifying my judgements b) asking myself the questions, I get clarity. It is in this beautiful moment that I can move forward with a new intention based on my own wants and desires and let go of the negative feelings to find happiness and joy for another person.