What a dull world it would be if we were all the same.
As A.A Milne put it —
“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
But when you crush yourself with comparisonitis, have you forgotten your difference.?
Let’s set the scene
This is a scene familiar to me and many of my clients!
It is way past bedtime and you are pawing over the website of someone in your ‘field’ of interest or someone who sells a similar product.
Your ‘comparisonitis inner-squasher says:
This website looks really professional — look at all these reviews from big names — and this video has been done by a professional — really slick. Mine needs to look more like this or nobody will take me seriously.
Oh well — She is a ‘Doctor’ — I only have a degree. I need to stop what I am doing and take a Masters — and PHD — or nobody will take me seriously.
The detail might be different – but the themes are familiar I suspect!
Just look at the absence of YOU in these inner-nagging-squasher-scripts!
This kind of thinking is a habit – and breaking the habit is never easy but then neither is building your muscles or learning a new language! It takes knowledge and practice. It also takes objective thinking – so you might want to name your inner-squasher and see it as someone else!
First – some knowledge.
What drives this self-sabotaging habit?
I refer you to the FIBs. Fears, illusions and baggage!
Applying this specifically to ‘comparisonitis’ – here are some examples:
The big one is fear of rejection. It’s a survival thing! When you compare in this unhealthy way, you send danger signals to your brain.
You are the stupid/ugly/boring one that nobody wants to play with in the school playground. You are not part of the ‘popular’ gang. You are doomed to a life of loneliness and ridicule!
How are you defining ‘success’? In a world where we are bombarded with photoshopped images of ‘happy’ and ‘successful’… it is no wonder that our brain slips into believing ‘this is the truth’! You are being sucked into the ‘should-trap’ and losing your truth. You are being driven by the forces coming at you, rather than from within you. Check out the research on ‘external locus of control’.
From the moment we are born we collect baggage! Messages – often well meant – from our role-models. Responses triggered by our experience… good baggage and baggage we should unpack and bin!
There could be a connection between the ‘I’ll never be like that’ and ‘I was always told I would never be like that’.
Knowledge is needed – but so is action!
Take back control of your comparisonitis chatter!
Start with this transformational habit change.
Compare with curiosity – not animosity
Taking the examples we started with – here is the ‘curious comparing’ version:
This is interesting… I really love the way she’s got this video right across the top there, and I like the black and white. Actually, that’s really effective. So when I do my Ted X talk, I’ll have a really good show reel to put on here. I’ll bear that in mind — and look at this …
These people have done some fascinating research — I am going to have a good read of their latest book — right up my street. I can do some good articles using this fresh perspective — and put my own slant on it. I know my videos go down well — so I will focus on giving value via that medium.
See the difference?
When you compare with curiosity — with your unsquashed self — you learn, get clarity and feel motivated.
When you compare in an unhealthy way – you are actually comparing with some ‘animosity’ — you feel a form of anger that is really frustration.
When you do the forensics and reframes — you discover that it is:
- frustration with yourself, for not allowing yourself to be yourself!
You know that you are squashed — and you are doing that to yourself.
You need to bring ‘you’ back into the picture and compare with joyful curiosity.
Ask yourself — ‘How am I comparing?’
If you spot the ‘animosity’ creeping in — stop what you are doing and do some unsquashing work before restarting with curiosity.
I will end with a quote from the ‘Template Torture’ chapter in my book ‘The Mystery of the Squashed Self’.
This is from the report written up by Investigator Lewis having heard the story of a frustrated small business owner.
‘You are trying to conform to a norm that you don’t want to conform to!’
‘With all your efforts to ‘fit in’ you are forgetting your own personality, preferences and purpose (I did well there with the 3 Ps).’
Good investigative work.
Time to turn detective on your comparisonitis habit.