If I asked you to make a list of the habits you know are not good for you, you might list things like drinking too much, over eating, or watching too much reality TV. And while all of these habits are unsupportive or unhealthy, there is another bad habit that borders on toxic if not downright abusive.
This toxic habit is Comparison.
Comparison is the self-sabotaging choice to compare yourself to:
· another person in a way that makes you feel inferior
· who you used to be (what you used to look like or you used to have)
· expectations based on external measures of success or happiness that you have made into faulty internal measures of success,
and then judge yourself for not measuring up, for falling behind or for being a failure.
So harsh. And we do it to ourselves. We sabotage ourselves instead of love ourselves. And instead of feeling like the rock star YOU are, you feel like the roadie at a county fair.
Comparing yourself is like consuming a green gallon of toxic poison — it makes you feel like crap, poisons your self-worth, and kills your spirit. It makes you forget how powerful you are. It’s an instant happiness stealer.
Comparison makes you work harder than you need to. It sucks your self-worth dry, making you feel like you don’t have enough or aren’t doing enough.
In other words, “You are not enough.”
You know what I am talking about, yes? You, me and pretty much every girl and woman I talk to has this self worth contaminator swirling around in her subconscious- stressing us out, making us stretch ourselves too thin, trying to prove ourselves and our worth, vs. truly owning and embracing it from the inside out.
I know a lot about this toxic habit of comparison because I’ve studied it for over a decade with over 35,000 women and girls through my work in The Path of Self Love School where we’ve learned girls start comparing themselves as young as 6 and almost all women (and many men) suffer from this silent culprit.
I myself have had a pretty gnarly Comparison Queen I named Mean Patty. That’s a picture of her below. She has pigtails, wears a smock and carries a ruler around that is really big (she has huge expectations of what and how I should be doing).
When my first book, Choosing ME Before We came out, within three weeks of getting the publishing deal (a pretty big deal by most people’s standards), Mean Patty was unimpressed and decided to rain on my parade. Instead of relishing this accomplishment I worked years towards, I started comparing myself to Oprah (who had a TV show and touched millions) and to Barbara Walters (who was a media mogul.) It didn’t occur to me that I was just starting my career as a writer, speaker and transformational teacher, while these women had been doing so for over 25 years. All I could see was I didn’t measure up.
The inner dialogue became a lot of negative self-talk based on measurements that were totally unreasonable and unrealistic, but I didn’t see it at the time. I just felt anxious, stressed and confused on what to do and where to focus. My self-worth started moving in the wrong direction, I began over working on the wrong things, trying to work and push myself out of what I know now was deep fear.
Luckily this story has a happy ending. One Christmas morning, I realized that I and no one else was destroying my self worth and I could either transform the comparison or let Mean Patty take me down.
And like the best Christmas gift ever, I found an antidote for comparison and then started applying it! And now I’d love to share it with you:
When you compare yourself to another, you are witnessing something inside of YOU that wants to be set free, express itself more, or be acknowledged –you couldn’t see it if it wasn’t also in you.
Get curious don’t copy, because the “how” will be different. No two people are exactly alike. You have your own path. If you try to copy another person’s path you rarely end up happy, just tired. But if you use what you are seeing in the other person to tap into what your heart and soul is desiring, your Inner Wisdom kicks in, overrides the Comparison Queen and gives you inspired action to take on your unique path.
Here’s the transformational process I use and have taught thousands of others to turn the toxic habit of comparison into the self loving act of inspired action. Try it out and raise your inner worth, which will in turn raise your outer worth.
STEP ONE: FEEL, NAME + CLAIM YOUR DESIRE. When you notice the comparison, slow down and tap into your inner wisdom and ask yourself:
· What about this person or what they are inspires me?
· What is the desire that I have inside me? Feel this desire like a seed inside you that wants to grow, instead of something you lack or can’t have or have to make happen right away.
· “What one action can I take in the next 48 hours to take an inspired action towards this desire?
STEP TWO: REACH OUT + SHARE INSPIRATION or APPRECIATION. Take a daring act and reach out to this person and tell them specifically how they inspire you. Comparison creates disconnection, which is a breeding ground for fear. Inspiration and appreciation connection and strengthens your courage. If you are in person, go talk to them. If you are not in person, email or facebook them. Even if you don’t know them! Double dog dare you.
When you reach out in inspiration you are taking an act of self-love (by accepting yourself instead of comparing yourself) and an act of love (by opening your heart to connect with this other person, because who doesn’t appreciate being told that they are inspiring?)
Find out if you have an inner Comparison Queen: Take the Inner Mean Girl Quiz www.InnerCriticQuiz.com
Listen to Christine Arylo’s Feminine Power Time podcast episode: The Comparison Cure
Originally published at medium.com