If you spend less time comparing yourself to others, you’ll naturally enter a state where self celebration comes easily. The world is a place abundant in room and grace, belonging and expression. There is no exact formula or right way to show up, be who you are and believe what you will. Your experience is highly personal, individualised and unique. No lens or perspective from which we see is coloured the same. If we believed in the bountiful and generous nature of the world to adequately house our narratives, evolutions and polarities, we’d spend more time in spaces of rich overflow, prioritising creativity and connection over the cultivation of shame and the desire to take with ruthlessness. All perception and thought operates through contrast. Let yourself be captivated by purpose.
Toxic comparison is the base function of scarcity. We seek to measure up to others, submitting to a cycle of self degradation and setting up a pedestal from which we’ll be judged should we ever be knocked off. What a way to set yourself up for failure- a metaphorical seat on an object with limited circumference and wiggle room. To inflate one’s ego and pride in order to feel high and mighty is never worth it. Alternatively, to avoid doing the inner work of confronting our own perceived fears and inadequacies, we might look upon the communities of people around us with disdain, turning up our noses. Ultimately, comparison is fuelled by a zero sum system of winners and losers, pitting people against each other in a race and game that leads nowhere fast and runs on empty promises.
How often do you compare the nitty gritty, unfiltered behind the scenes of your life to somebody else’s preemed and perfect, utterly desirable highlight reel? Why not let what will be eventuate naturally? Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged or demotivated by the disparity between your achievements and what you see others accomplishing. Examine yourself less according to someone else’s milestones and growth. Step into a place of maturity and choose not to be in competition with external truths, epiphanies and stories. There is no beautiful enough, successful enough, authentic enough, smart enough. There is no set bar or standard when all is relative, dependant on factors that change with the weather and almost at a whim.
In the race of life, there is no way of knowing where you stand. There is no first, second and third place. There is only the urgency to approach every new day with gratitude for what we are blessed with and acknowledgement of what we aren’t burdened by. Let yourself be humbled by the knowledge that all standing firm and true in the present moment could very well crumble in the next. Take nothing for granted and heed no guarantees. As we congregate together on this blue planet hurtling through space, striving for meaning, searching for belonging and determined to leave a legacy, may we see beyond the mirage. To borrow the words of Alexander Dumas, “What fragile and unknown threads the destinies of nations and the lives of men are suspended.”
Comparison is an act of violence against oneself- lay down your weapons and hold yourself in a loving embrace. Never be afraid to shed old skins and loosen yourself from unforgiving, suffocating grasp. Practice greater self awareness and be a person of depth. With radical honesty, analyse what works for you and be truthful about what fails to serve you. Grow in wisdom, understanding and insight. Hold space for imagination, inventiveness and steadfastness in vision. Make room for fun, play, rest, laughter, pleasure. Be wholly true and make inviting others to embrace a raw version of themselves feel safe. Know that being different and set apart can come with a whole new set of challenges but is ultimately a superpower you have the ability to harness.
When you dismantle the archaic foundation of toxic comparison from your very soul, you begin the lifelong journey of survivorship and responsibility, reorienting your beliefs from a structure of fear to the heart of clarity. Every time you sense a comparative feeling, word or judgement bubble to the surface, observe it as you would a passing cloud in the sky. Question its place and existence out loud, even if it feels kitschy and trite to do so. Reframe and rework your inner dialogue to allow for dignity. Over time, your voice will steady, as will the niggling at your heart. Practice, live and let truth ring out. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent, unconscious or otherwise.