The Value in Comparison

I was drawn down and feeling heavy after seeing a social media post by someone I’ve known for a while.

It was an extended, very nicely choreographed and rehearsed video message touting their booming business and advertising yet another incredible offering to the world. The post received hundreds of ‘likes’ and loads of comments.

It hooked me…

For the better part of the day, I (unconsciously) compared my own work and business to what I saw in that post; my work felt small, insignificant, irrelevant, and unimportant. Better said, I felt small, insignificant, irrelevant, and unimportant.

It’s been on my mind ever since.

It could be easy to assume that what I was feeling was envy, mental scarcity or begrudging someone else’s success. But, actually, none of that feels true. I don’t crave the spotlight, nor do I have a desire to build an empire.

It’s been on my mind because I’ve realized that those uncomfortable feelings were inviting me to take a closer at me…not at the other.

The discomfort helped to illuminate what matters, what is true for me, what stand I want to take in my life. It helps me to see that one way out of the self-shaming cycle that can ensue from comparing oneself to another, is to view the reactions as beautiful gifts of clarity. These emotions and reactions were there to facilitate a recognition that perhaps I’m not taking care of what I care about. Valuable insight. Thank you, Comparison Game.

I am taking steps to design more ease and flow into my days. My work is turning more and more towards igniting those states within me (and in my clients) while moving away from, or at least questioning more often, what our cultural conditioning tells us we should care about. How radical is it in today’s world to slow down, to honour space, and to commit oneself to building connection and meaning (rather than lists, followers and bank balances)?

When I considered the possibility that smallness and insignificance were emotional sparks intended to light my way forward, I could see that it was time to sit down and draft my next article; to take responsibility for bringing my care to the world and respecting its need to be shared.

I choose to be a voice for something different. Quality over quantity. Heart over ego. Deeply felt resonance over widely spread dissonance. For me today, writing is one path to expressing and bringing my cares to life.

Next time you notice yourself getting hooked into or pulled down by the Comparison Game, whether it’s while scrolling social media, standing in a line-up, gathering with friends, or attending an event, I hope you to resist the temptation to wallow in feeling badly about yourself and instead, let it be a loving, yet irrefutable call from within, compelling you to assess what you care about. And then go tend to it.

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