Comparisonitis – the thief of joy, the common, irritating itch to so many entrepreneurs.
Do you ever find yourself spiralling into looking left and right at what others are doing, comparing yourself to their achievements, where they are in their business, their Live videos, the number of likes on their Facebook posts?
This may lead you to either feeling resentful (and probably guilty about that), or with elements of self-doubt that you are not as good as they are.
Or maybe you are comparing in a different way - with a feeling you are better than others? This too can be destructive.
When I grew up, there was a frame in my parent’s house with the 1927 poem ‘Desiderata’ and I always remember the line – ‘If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.’
Comparing ourselves to others is something that we are often too embarrassed to admit to especially when we live and work in a culture where we are told we ‘should’ be supporting others – but it happens to us all.
At a certain level and in a certain way, comparison can be healthy, but all too often it can lead us spiralling into self-pity, sapping our energy and even leading us to feelings of anxiety and depression. It robs us of our inner peace and wastes our precious time.
Negatively comparing ourselves to others can put a considerable strain on our productivity, our results and our relationships and is an easy way to lower our vibration and stop us focusing on what is going to make the biggest difference to our business – getting our head down, getting the work done and focusing on our own personal journey.
If this is something you are going through now, here are my top tips to get much better at moving past comparisonitis and even overcoming it in its destructive form once and for all.
1. Be kind to yourself.
I always start from this place with any unresourceful behaviour.
Please don’t beat yourself up for feeling unkind thoughts about someone else or for allowing yourself to get down. Beating ourselves up is never going to make us feel better or make us want to change our behaviour.
We are human and comparing ourselves to others is actually a natural process that helps us make sense of the world and give us a benchmark to evaluate our own progress – we just have to learn how to do it in a healthy way.
2. Do whatever it takes to break the pattern
If you decide that this is a behaviour which doesn’t do you any favours, it’s time to break the pattern.
This is a two stage process:-
First, catch yourself in the act
and then, immediately divert your mind to something else...
For me, what has worked is as soon as I recognise I am comparing myself (and the earlier I do this, the easier it is to nip it in the bud), I stop and ask myself the following question.‘Is this helping me move towards my goal or move further away from it?’
I will sometimes say this question out loud – in a kind yet firm voice – ‘come on JoJo is this helping you?’
My overall goal is to create greater joy in my life and in others. So, the answer is always no!
I then fill that space with a second question ‘what can I focus on that will help me move forward and make me feel more expansive?’ and straight away act on the response.
Focus on what you can control, your journey.
Many people find the more action they take, the higher their vibration and the less they fall into the trap of comparison.
3. Remember - You are allowed to unfollow what or who doesn’t serve you!
If you find that someone on your news feed is triggering your feelings of ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I could never be as good as them’ or ‘it’s alright for them – they are younger, prettier, don’t have children, 'fill in the blank’, you always have the option to simply unfollow that person.
It doesn’t have to be forever, they don’t even have to know. And, you may find after following the tips here, you won’t need to do this!
You can then do the behind the scenes work on your own personal development so that you are not triggered by them.
Without a doubt, the rise in comparisonitis is directly related to the rise in our use of social media, airbrushing, photo filter apps and, in the online business world, the way so many use social media to attract clients.
Remind yourself that you are comparing your normal, your ‘behind the scenes’ life with its wonderful ups and downs with their highlights, their show reel…
We don’t see their own struggles but their journey will be full of ups and downs too.
Decide to set clear boundaries for your time on social media – and remember, it is not the real world!
4. Study what the most successful people do
In NLP we call it modelling. If you study the most successful people, you will find that they are very competent at putting metaphorical blinkers on and focusing on their own journey.
Imagine a running race or perhaps a horse race, the more the runner or the horse looks either side at their competitors, the more it slows them down.
Focus on your own goal and allow everyone else to focus on theirs.
Remember that you may be comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle.
Maybe they have been in business for longer?
Maybe they have been in business for less time but have spent years studying personal development so have been able to get past some of the struggles you have been going through more quickly.
Maybe they already had a big following?
It could be so many things. The important thing is that they are on their journey and you are on yours.
The more you fall in love with your own journey, the quicker you will achieve your goals.
5. Compare yourself to others in the right way.
Instead of using your energy feeling bad about where you are compared to others in your world, shift your energy so that you learn from the people who are further along than you are. Use their success as inspiration and as proof that if one person can do it, you can do it too.
Choose an attitude of curiosity - of 'what can I learn?’
Are they taking different actions?
Perhaps they work harder on their mindset?
Is it their attitude that drives their success?
You could even reach out to the person you feel envious of. What would happen if you turned that envy into admiration and let them know how awesome they are?
I have found that too often successful people are not complimented because either people struggle to move past their resentment or they assume they know how good they are.
There have been so many instances when I have reached out to people to share with then how they inspire me and have been blown away by how humble they are in their response.
They may even struggle with their own imposter syndrome and your message will have made their day.
We rise by lifting others!
A fellow coach shared something with me that really resonated ‘when I see someone being vulnerable, it shifts me out of comparison’.
6. We are all connected.
If they are in the same industry as you, you are on the same mission.
When you bring in abundance thinking, you can see that that there are so many people who need what you both offer. The more people that share your joint message the better and different people will resonate with different styles.
Maybe reach out for a collaboration? They could even end up a best business buddy!
7. Finally, remind yourself of your own genius.
Comparisonitis is often a sign of our own lack of self worth and self belief.
As Dr Seuss says 'Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!'
You have no comparison!
Take time to remind yourself of what makes you great. If you are unsure, ask those around you who love you. Be proud of what you bring to the world.
Know that someone else’s success does not equal your failure.
If you do compare yourself, compare yourself to the you of yesterday and every minute we spend comparing our self to someone else’s life is a minute we spend wasting our own.
Turn your comparisonitis into a drive to learn from those around you and you will start to see inspiration everywhere.
You will find that a post that could have triggered you when you were in a low vibration, can spark a feeling of joy and happiness towards the person who posted it, allowing you to authentically celebrate their success.
And, always remember that there are probably people comparing themselves to you out there too!
Do you suffer from comparisonitis? What are you favourite tips for breaking through? Share in the comments below!