I once heard, “Comparison is the greatest thief of joy”. It’s a theory I’ve been thinking about more and more lately. The launch of my new brand look and Daddy Issues Healing Circle attracts new attention to my mission. I’m grateful for this; I know this system I’ve put together for women works, as many of my individual clients benefit from the work we do together. Putting these tools out there on a larger scale has been a wish of mine for a while. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it worries me. My anxiety, I call her Shay, is always ready to share her two cents when nobody asks.
“Don’t you have something else you should be doing? Isn’t your colleague’s idea about a journal something you want to do? Look at what she’s doing; isn’t that YOUR idea? Well, don’t worry, yours won’t be a complete flop…”
She just goes on and on about what’s on my timeline and has me scrolling down a rabbit hole of all the self-worth issues I resolved creeping up again. It takes a literal pinch to my forearm to pull myself out. It’s tough to be seen. And to be considered a knowledgeable professional. People have expectations of your work and it feels like everyone’s needs and questions must be met as soon as they ask.
All these things steal the fuzzy feeling I had when I reached the milestones I’ve set for myself. Have you ever had this feeling? The one that has you on edge about how you can do things even better than before, then you can’t rest until it’s settled! It’s hard to be in my head! And I know I’m not alone. Don’t fret; we got this! I’m going to share a few tips about how to protect yourself against this thief in the night: the Cunning Comparison Culprit.
Start a gratitude log
I find it so helpful when I can remember all the blessings God has given me. We have a house, a new car, healthy kids...I could go on. And not even in a bragadocious kind of way. There’s a lot of things that happened in the Jackson household in the last few years. They had all my signs pointed an entirely different direction . Funny how we forget the little things like breath. Things that are free like our able-bodiedness. Taking things for granted are simple when we are doing alright. Get in the habit of appreciating your business the way it is. Everyone starts from somewhere (this has become my mantra). My boys started a gratitude jar together. Pass down this habit and make this a family event every week, where you start to show yourself, partner, and/or kids the importance of staying present and having a go-to list of the awesome things you forgot you already have in your life.
Grab your accountability partner
Don’t have one? It’s time to find a trustworthy friend, colleague, family member, etc. who will cheer you on when you’re down. Maybe you’ve already named them on your list of people, places, and things to be thankful for. This person is going to make sure to call you out when you’re trippin’. They’ll lovingly tell you to get out of your own head and tell you the lessons you can't see in the setbacks. It’s so important to have this valuable person available to pour into you when you’re thinking of how Sally has the car you want and you start to feel a childhood trauma response arise. This person can help ground you when your anxiety takes you down the path of figuring out how to pay for the bundles you can’t afford just because you saw someone on your TL with those luscious locs. I have a tribe to tell me to take it down about 10 notches if I find that something is amiss when it’s really not.
Remember who you are
I do an activity with my clients where they assess their values. I have them narrow down from a list of about 40 different values: love, finances, friendship, loyalty, trust...the list goes on. This is a great way to build a personal mission statement. It helps you make decisions and draw boundaries. It also helps you to remember to ask yourself why you magically wanted that thing you saw Sally have when you saw her with it on your TL. This centering, grounding activity keeps you in check when your accountability partner isn’t available. You have to do some of your own work. And you’re fully capable of it. That way, the Cunning Comparison Culprit can’t whisper stupid nothings in your ear becuase you will have set a few requirements for what to let it.
Be your own gatekeeper. It’s so crucial to assess the input. Social media is the largest source of comparison. We need to use wisely, yes, you...the adult reading this. We are no more immune than your average teenager, especially considering the younger you that is brought forth when you’re triggered. But that’s another blog for another day.
Just like that! You’re more equipped for the next time you’re feeling less than because of seeing another thrive. There’s enough room at the table for all of us. How are you going to take your seat?
Comment below with some of your tips on how to guard against this monster.