If you are comparing and feeling inadequate – change the way you compare.
How are you comparing?
A question with a double meaning.
Do I mean — ‘How well are you doing — compared to the ‘others’?’
Or do I mean — ‘When you compare yourself with others — how are you doing that comparing?’
We all do the comparing thing — driven by a survival instinct.
Well, that is a sensible thing to do if you are sizing up your enemy in a potential fight to the death.
The problem is, we do it in so many situations where life and death are not in the picture. I could go on about social media here — but that is not the focus of this article.
What I want to delve into is the way in which you compare.
I have split this into two possible ‘ways’ :-
- Comparing with animosity
- Comparing with curiosity
You can already see that the latter has a nicer vibe!
But let’s start by exploring the ‘not so nice vibe’ version.
Comparing with animosity
Have you heard the term ‘comparisonitis’?
‘You have a bad case of ‘comparisonitis!’
The term is listed in ‘Wiktionary’ :-
Comparisonitis — The compulsion to compare one’s accomplishments to another’s to determine relative importance, etc.
It comes up in conversations between business coaches and clients. It’s a trap that small business owners , particularly when it’s a personal brand, fall into easily.
It gets you nowhere and it’s ever so annoying.
I am using the term ‘comparing with animosity’.
Listen to yourself if you are lost in the trap. Do you hear ‘hate’ and ‘anger’ in your inner dialogue?
Not rational — but you know how the brain works!
Here is an example to illustrate this kind of comparing.
It is way past bedtime and you are pawing over the website of someone in your ‘field’ of interest or someone who sells a similar product.
Your ‘animosity’ inner voice is saying things like:-
This website looks really professional — look at all these reviews from big names — and this video has been done by a professional — really slick. Mine needs to look more like this or nobody will take me seriously.
Oh well — She is a ‘Doctor’ — I only have a degree. I need to stop what I am doing and take a Masters — and PHD — or nobody will take me seriously.
This kind of thinking will get you nowhere — it might well take you backwards.
But why are you comparing with animosity?
What is that irrational ‘anger’?
It is frustration.
That irrational anger you feel — is it frustration with yourself, for not being yourself?ou are comparing in a ‘squashed self’ state.
You have forgotten the ‘you’ part!
You as an individual. You. Your story, your experience. What you want to offer.
There’s nothing wrong with these people being out there. It’s great. They’re inspiring.
When you unsquash yourself the comparing brings clarity about who and what you are, or what you’re not.
You can learn and be inspired in an energising way.
This is comparing with curiosity.
Let’s explore the ‘good vibe’ comparing state.
Comparing with curiosity
Taking the inner voice examples above — let’s ‘take 2’:-
This is interesting… I really love the way she’s got this video right across the top there, and I like the black and white. Actually, that’s really effective. So when I do my Ted X talk, I’ll have a really good show reel to put on here. I’ll bear that in mind — and look at this …
These people have done some fascinating research — I am going to have a good read of their latest book — right up my street. I can do some good articles using this fresh perspective — and put my own slant on it. I know my videos go down well — so I will focus on giving value via that medium.
See the difference?
When you compare with curiosity — with your unsquashed self — you learn, get clarity and feel motivated.
You can reflect on what you are and what you are not — comparing can trigger lightbulb moments.
You don’t feel animosity towards these ‘others’ really — of course you don’t.
What a dull world it would be if we were all the same.
As A.A Milne put it —
“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
But you have forgotten your difference.
In this ‘animosity comparing’ frame of mind — you feel a form of anger that is really frustration.
When you do the forensics and reframes — you discover that it is frustration with yourself.
You know you are squashed — and you know you are doing that to yourself.
You know you need to bring ‘you’ back into the picture and compare with joyful curiosity.
Ask yourself — ‘How am I comparing?’ If you spot the ‘animosity’ creeping in — stop what you are doing and do some unsquashing work before restarting with curiosity.
This topic is just one of the ‘cases’ explored in ‘The Mystery of the Squashed Self’. Available on Amazon — other booksellers to follow.
I have a YouTube Channel with videos on this topic and other communication and confidence tips and I post regularly on LinkedIn.
I work with clients on communicating authentically with confidence — mindset, content and delivery.