Good Morning! This topic has been on my mind all week. I have been open to see how much I have done this and have seen how others around me use it. I am going to start by saying what we all have heard a million times, when we compare ourselves to others we will never win.
The title of this post is meant to mean no one wins, but also I am feeling today like it means that comparison is no longer going to win in my life.
I have spent my life in a constant state of comparison and competition. I really acted like they were the same thing. This kind of competition has not served me well and has held me back more than moved me forward. When I was really willing to take a long hard look at myself, my behaviors and remove the comparison I found that comparison served multiple purposes. When I lost the contest I was alone and worthless, when I won I was arrogant and judgmental. Neither of those are attractive qualities. Also, I see that I used them to keep people away from me. I had to accept that it was a choice, not a conscious choice, but a choice made out of survival instincts. Either way I was alone! Even when I was around people I was ALONE!
Every positive relationship I have in my life is from people being drawn to my light. How do you make that shift from comparison and competition to ownership and acceptance in order for your light to shine?
This has been a long road for me, because I didn’t really have any role models in this area, until recently. In case my family reads this, this is based on my experience growing up, not yours. We all grew up in the same family, but we all had different experiences and perspectives. This is mine.
My dad demanded perfection and ruled with an iron fist and my mom moved between viking and victim as it served her needs. My Mom was a master manipulator. Don’t get me wrong I love her and I sided with her and followed in her foot steps most of my life. I am as guilty of these things as she was. My Dad needs to be in control, even though that is only a delusion. I took that part of my father. All of these characters are in a place of comparison. They are also reacting to life rather than responding.
Starting at age 6 I lived in fight or flight mode having experienced sexual abuse, emotional abuse and physical abuse until my ex-husband died in September 2013. Honestly, until I got sober on July 18, 2010 I was trying to survive from day to day. I started my journey of creating who I am today on that day. Old habits die hard and working the 12 steps honestly with a sponsor will change your perspective on life and yourself. This is where I learned to take ownership of myself and my actions. I was taught how to pause (not easy) and respond rather than react. My toughest character defects are those characters I listed above: Perfectionist, Victim and Viking served on a platter of self-righteous indignation.
How do you make the shift?
- You have to want to change. Period. If you don’t want to be different you won’t be. Any changes will be temporary.
- You have to own your stuff. You have to stop focusing on what other people have, say and do. You need to just focus on what you have, say and do. These are the things you have control over. Believe me you will feel SO much better when you stop trying to control things you have no control over.
- Accept that you don’t know what someone else’s life looks like from their shoes. You don’t know what they have survived or what they have yet to survive. Comparing your looks, feelings, pain, experience to what you see on the outside of someone else only hurts you. It keeps you apart from everyone else.
- Create a support system: There are groups, organizations, treatment centers, or even people who love you and accept you as you are. I am fortunate to have amazing friends, I have my AA home group and I have my sisters from the Matthew Hussey Retreat to support me. Find like minded people and jump in the pool, the waters nice.
- Take one step, one action, one micro change at a time and over time they will build into an amazing new life that you didn’t even know was possible.
These are the steps I have taken. I have not done them perfectly. My progress is not a straight line, but I always keep moving forward.
One thing I learned in my 6 weeks in an eating disorder treatment center, in the group sessions everyone had to tell their story. For each person the details of their life, pain, abuses and experiences ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other. It was horrifying hearing what some of these people endured. But when we each broke down how it made us feel and how we viewed ourselves it was the same for everyone. The details didn’t matter anymore.
We are all humans with feelings. Comparison creates a divide, but compassion is the bridge over that divide.
What are your thoughts?