Wiseness :: Coping with Comparison

Oh, I have a confession to make. Last night after a day of emailing, blogging, posting, commenting, reaching out and connecting, I went home and had a bit of melt down. I was frustrated at not getting traction on a project, feeling overwhelmed with client work and generally feeling ‘not enough’. It seemed like not matter how hard I was trying, it didn’t seem to make the difference I wanted it to make.

I’m thankful to have a should to cry on, and that’s exactly what I did.

That shoulder talked me down from the roof and encouraged me to unplug for the evening and watch Aladdin with the kids. It’s school holidays after all and movie nights on a Monday are completely acceptable (yay!). A distraction to break the monkey mindedness was what I needed, as well as a cup of herbal tea and a good night’s sleep.

I woke this morning to this email below from Kate James of Total Balance who I had the absolute joy of randomly meeting in person at an event a few weeks back. Kate is a life coach, meditation teacher, speaker and writer. I’ve subscribed to Kate’s emails for a while now and found her more warm, interesting (and interested) and engaging.

I asked Kate if could share her current newsletter here, because it says many of the things I was feeling last night, and some of the pitfalls of working with social media.

From Kate James:

“One of the conversations I frequently have with clients is how to manage the negative effects of comparing themselves to others.

All of us do this from time to time and it seems to have become worse in the past few years, which I think is partly the result of social media. We know that Facebook and Instagram give us a biased account of other people’s lives, but we still make comparisons. It’s worth remembering that the people we follow share the same doubts we do – we just don’t get to see those doubts in their news feed.

Both in real life and on social media, people share stories about the beautiful and inspiring parts of their lives, not because they’re trying to make others feel bad but because they’re doing what they can to stay positive.

It’s hard not to compare our own sometimes-uninteresting lives and our less than perfect bodies, homes, holidays and outfits with those stories. It’s impossible to just switch off the comparisons we make. They’re part of what we naturally do. However, we can learn to minimise the impact.

Try the following tips to help create a more balanced and emotionally supportive view.

Raise your awareness. When you find yourself making comparisons, notice the buttons that get pushed when your experience is negative. Do you feel irritated, jealous, angry, isolated, lonely, less beautiful or less successful than others?

Name your feelings and soften into them. Name those feelings: “I feel jealous”, “I’m filled with envy”, “I feel alone”, “I don’t feel good enough”, “I don’t feel attractive”. As Tara Brach says in her book Radical Self-Acceptance, one of the most important keys to feeling ok about ourselves is to make room for all of our emotions (even the difficult ones). Don’t push them away, instead pay attention and be kind to yourself as you acknowledge them. Having negative emotions doesn’t make you a bad person.

Kate James -Its worth remembering that the people

Watch your behaviour. Often when we feel ‘not good enough’ we do things to numb the pain. It could be having a few drinks, splurging on a credit card, texting an ex-lover, starting a diet or a rigid exercise campaign – or any other unhelpful behaviour.

Take the right kind of action. Instead, choose mindful action. For starters, pay attention to the social media posts that are draining your energy and limit your access to them. Pay attention to the real-life relationships that make you feel ‘less than’ and limit your time with those people or have an open conversation addressing your concerns. Recognise that it’s ok to make comparisons sometimes, as long as you use those comparisons as a source of inspiration to move in the direction of your dreams. Identify small action steps you can take that will help you achieve your goals and genuinely make you feel better.

Seek out your tribe. Seek out people who share your interests and in particular, look for those who interact like you do – from a place of generosity and kindness.”

Kate James - COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY-2

These lessons are ones I need to keep learning again and again. Thanks so much to Kate for penning the words I needed to read this morning! I hope there’s something here for you too.

  1. […] in social media everyday has it’s downsides which I’ve written about before. We have both battled with comparison-itis, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and collaborations gone bad. […]

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