The C- word

Some thoughts today on comparison…I know I sometimes find myself comparing my ‘progress’ to others’, maybe you do too. Some reflections:

* Maybe the things that take a lot of energy for YOU don’t for others. They might find them easy and fun and they do them quickly because they’re good at them (whether through training, natural gifts or years of practice, or both, who knows). Like for me the idea of speaking another language is vast and terrifying and exhausting – some of you do it every day. You might find the idea of regular writing of blog posts and social media feels overwhelming, for me it feels easy and fun. I find the idea of preparing and cooking a three complex course meal in one day and then cleaning up after it completely exhausting – my husband does this and more each day because he is a trained and practiced chef. There are countless other examples.

* There are always people doing more and always people doing less – comparing yourself and judging yourself or them doesn’t help us to do more

* Just because one horse likes to walk and another likes to run does it make the running horse bad somehow? Or the walking horse? Or the horse having a snooze in the paddock? Or the horse distracted by a nice flower? Aren’t all the horses welcome to be who they are and do what they like?

* We all have the same number of hours in the week, but we all have different priorities, circumstances and energy levels. Some of us have caring roles for family members. Some of us have day jobs. Some of us might spend the whole week on house, family and errands. Some of us have creative and spiritual practices happening ‘behind the scenes’. Some of us want time for reading, or travelling, or classes, or volunteering, or bird watching, or tightrope walking, or polishing the silverware, or ironing our underpants – some of us don’t. Each of our lives has a different mix of activities and commitments based on what we love to do, feel we need to do, choose to do, and what we feel physically and emotionally able to do.

* Different commitment leads to different outcomes. Some of us work 8 hour days at our creative pursuits/ business/ whatever else, some of us work 8 hours a week or fortnight or month on it. Or others might be lucky to spend 8 hours a year on it (like me and learning languages for example). Some of us are trying to make coaching/training/writing/ art/ sport/ whatever other pursuits a full time income, some are doing it as an add-on to an already established business, for some it might be a hobby or nice occasional income. Comparing just the outputs of people without seeing the different levels of inputs doesn’t make much sense. Of COURSE the person who attends language class every week will have mastered much more than me occasionally listening to you tube videos on Spanish for travellers, or pretending I can learn Icelandic by watching nordic noir and copying the sounds they make occasionally (yes, I actually do this, it make me very happy!). How can I feel agrreived at their progress if I wasn’t similarly willing to head out to class each week and do the homework?

What about you? Any thoughts on comparison and how it makes us feel? When is it helpful and when is it not? How do you get yourself out of comparison loops? When do you find it actually useful for your own progress and inspiration?


3 thoughts on “The C- word”

  1. Oh so you are in my head now too..Yes I have been ‘guilty’ of comparison for much of my life. In fact, more so now when I have MORE time to let my mind wander down the trap of conversations with myself that are not helpful. Fortunately I have self-compassion more on my side these days (phew) and also a LOT of self-exploration which helps me on most days come to the conclusion that: I am who I am and there is not one other person like me and this is the gift I have in being me. Like your reflections of late, Jade..methinks we are on a very similar path!!

    1. Thanks Denyse. Yes I think self compassion helps a lot to soften our judgements of ourselves and understand why we do what we do (and haven’t done everything we might want to!). Helpful also to celebrate our uniqueness. A great journey to be on.

  2. I think it’s helpful if it inspires me – but it certainly is a fine line, because as you say, we all have such different parameters, so even as an inspiration tool it can be tricky. Especially for me – if I can’t achieve what I perceive others can, and I let it get me down…It can be tough. But I need to get fired up occasionally.

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