My mouth went dry.
My heart started pounding.
And I suddenly felt VERY, VERY uncomfortable.
It was as if someone had punched me in the solar plexus – and the strength of it, in that moment, completely knocked the wind out of my sails.
What exactly happened to cause this strong, physical reaction?
Well, I was happily scrolling around on facebook, (as you do) when I came across a promotion being offered by a fellow entrepreneur. Nothing unusual about that you might think…. except what happened next was totally unexpected and it definitely wasn’t pretty!
Before I knew it, I found myself experiencing the full force of an insidious bout of ‘comparison-itis’ which quickly triggered feelings of dejection, defeat and downright despair!
The green-eyed monster had come a-calling!
They say that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and sure enough, in that moment, some VERY joyless thoughts were racing through my head along the lines of…. Oh my god, she’s so much BETTER than me…..so much MORE than me – maybe I should just give up! As I said, it WASN’T pretty!
Thankfully, I eventually recognised that this was green-eyed monster at work and managed to regain control before I disappeared further down this destructive spiral, never to be seen again! The thing about comparison-itis is, KNOWING about it doesn’t make us any less immune to its effects… it can still catch us unawares and it STILL has the power to:
- Completely undermined our confidence
- Make us feel downright inadequate
- Distract us from what we should be focussed on
- Send us into a panic of self-doubt
- Erode our expertise and self-worth in a matter of minutes (…..or less!)
Once I’d calmed down and composed myself, (I think wine might have been involved!) I tried to unpick exactly WHY I’d had such a visceral, gut reaction to this woman and her business – something this strong HAD to be telling me something!
So what was it?
Was it something about the person herself… her image….. her message… her programme or offering….or was it something else? What was it she was doing that I could recognise and appreciate? What was it that I was actually jealous of?
And then the penny dropped.
I realised that what this whole experience was actually telling me was something very valuable – I was envious of the clarity of her message and the way she conveyed what she did in her copy – it was clear, concise and compelling.
And it was something that deep-down, I knew I needed to work on – I needed to have a clearer message. The light I saw in her was mirroring something back to me. So, in a round about way I’ve come to realise that there IS a positive side to comparison-itis!
Yes I needed to be MORE…. but more like ME – not more like HER!
I was so busy comparing myself that I had completely bypassed my greatest asset – MY uniqueness. This whole experience has actually done me a favour by reminding me to own MY value, understand MY uniqueness and importantly, make this clear to the world.
We may know on an intellectual level that the “grass is always greener” on the other side, but that DOESN’T always stop us from making negative comparisons with others. And let’s face it, Social Media can play a huge part in exacerbating this by presenting us with shiny ‘impressions of success’ but I realise that ALL of this was the result of MY interpretation, based on nothing more than words and pictures on a page!
What all this has taught me is that there will always be someone out there doing something similar, in a different way, and there’s plenty of room for all of us. We have absolutely no idea if they are ‘better’ or more ‘successful’ than we are – whatever that actually means – but nor is it important. But I’ve also learned that when the green-eyed monster appears (as it surely will) it’s ALWAYS worth digging into the discomfort it triggers because it can tell you such a lot about what you want for yourself.
Comparison is indeed the thief of joy BUT finding inspiration and learning from others is an entirely different proposition! We just need to make sure we recognise the difference.
Over to you…
Top tips for dealing with the green-eyed monster most gratefully received – please leave your comments in the box below!