How can I stop comparing myself to other people?
Comparison is a cruel game, because in order to play, a certain level of powerlessness is required. According to Teal Swan, “Envy is the emotion that occurs when we experience an extreme desire for something that someone else has, whether it is a quality, achievement or possession that we feel powerless to attain ourselves”
She goes on to say that the primary vibration one experiences in a state of comparison, is a sense of lack. I tend to agree with her. When we compare ourselves to someone, we are taking what we perceive to be their strengths and holding them up against what we perceive to be our flaws.
When we’re in a state of lack, chances are we’re not doing a very good job of seeing things accurately.
The key word here is perception. What do we know about perception? It’s subjective and not factual, which puts us in the realm of opinions and ideas. When we compare ourselves to others based on opinions and ideas, we usually come out on the bottom. This happens because we compare ourselves to the bright and shiny version that we think we see. Even when we compare and come out the winner, we’re still dealing with a sense of lack, only it’s disguised as exaggerated self-opinion.
When we’re feeling challenged, our ability to be discerning is dysfunctional. When we’re in a state of lack, chances are we’re not doing a very good job of seeing things accurately. In other words, the version we’re choosing to see and compare ourselves to, is never the real version. It’s akin to comparing your normal body to the body of a magazine underwear model that's been photoshopped.
Have you ever sat in public and watched people? If you do so long enough, you’ll begin to get the sense that we’re each living our own very similar little versions of life. You’ll catch the expressions of pain and joy flashing across their faces. You’ll witness fleeting moments of their very own human drama. Life for people always includes joy and excitement and also pain and suffering. Everyone has a mother who’s let them down at some point. Everyone has made monumental mistakes and bad judgement calls. Everyone has disappointed people and experienced heartbreak in one form or another. We don’t get to do this work on earth without experiencing things that don’t feel good. These are the things that mold us into the flawed and at the same time, completely perfect humans that we all are.
So when you compare yourself to someone with the idea that they are somehow more perfect and less flawed than you are, you aren’t using dependable evidence to do so.
When you find yourself comparing, it’s an excellent alert that you’re in a state of lack. So what’s the lack about? Think of the last time you found yourself comparing. What was it about? Let’s say that the lack you were feeling had to do with success: “I’m not as successful as they.” So your core belief in this circumstance would be “I lack success” Ask yourself: is true? Is it true that I’m not at all successful? Is it true that they are happier or more content than me because of their accomplishments? Very likely the answers will be no.
You see, our Superegos (inner critics), being primarily concerned with our comfort and survival try to keep us small by keeping us in a state of lack. Growth and expansion are frightening things to our superegos because they challenge the status quo. When we undertake a new venture, we aren’t always guaranteed success or comfort and so our superegos will do anything it takes to ensure that we don’t even attempt it in the first place. It will set impossible standards by sending us the strong message that “in order to be successful, or get that kind of love, or be that kind of person, we must first be perfect.” It sets out to prove the point by comparing us to other people that seem to have what we want. It’s important that you understand that any tendency you have to compare yourself to other people simply comes from a misguided attempt on the part of your superego to “protect you”.
The vibration of lack is quite low. When you’re inundated with a sense of lack, It’s not likely that you can jump from a state of deep comparison straight into a state of empowerment because there’s a large vibrational gap between the two. What you can do though, is take small steps and jump up to something else that feels slightly better than lack feels. For example, superiority. I’m not saying you should go and do a bunch of work around learning to feel superior instead of comparative here. But I want you to practice shifting your vibration up the scale.
So when you’re comparing yourself to someone else and their level of success makes you feel insufficient what do you do? Try to find something about them that you feel you’re actually doing better “they obviously spilled coffee on their shirt today and my shirt is spotless”. Then you jump up to something that feels better than superiority, like sympathy. ‘It must be awkward to walk around all day in a stained shirt”. Now let’s go higher than sympathy into empathy. “I’ve spilled things on my shirt before too and I didn’t like having to wear it all day”
See how this works? The point is to practice two things:
-First, always question any message your superego gives you. Is that the truth?
-Second, practice moving up the vibrational scale. You may not always be able to leap from a state of lack straight into feeling competent but you can move up it slowly until you find some common ground.
Do you have a question you'd like me to answer for you? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will remain anonymous.