It's a soul destroying practice, self deprecation.
We’ve all succumbed at some point, to the grip of comparison. The insidious human habit of comparing ourselves to someone else; someone whom we perceive to be better than us, to have more than us, to be more popular, more palatable or more beautiful. Just MORE.
The world that we live in now is very competitive - you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out - but within the collective global environment we all find ourselves inhabiting and co-creating, there is always, ALL-WAYS, the space and potential to re-write or re-invent ‘reality’ as we are seeing it, moment by moment, and to manifest and experience life through a lighter lens when things reach maximum stagnancy.
Our sense of happiness and heart, all comes down to our individual perceptions and what we have been conditioned or programmed, to believe, conceive and re-live.
I struggled with the frequency of comparison for a long time, and now with insight, hindsight and the wisdom gleaned from some seriously rocky years forging my path and making some dumb-ass choices as I headed towards eventual maturity – which is still ongoing btw (lol) - I can now see what an absolute monumental waste of my time that practice was! Yes it was a necessary phase to grow through of course, as all our processes are, because it provided me with the opportunity to really dig deep into my own psyche, but man, I could have spent my time more wisely if I’d know what I know now, then! A familiar catch-cry yes?
When we pinpoint and then resolve, our core patterning, we create the space for self realization and complete healing, right then and there. It stops, dead in its tracks, the inner “judge and justify” dialogue, from which all original wounds spring forth.
Ah, the path of spiritual deliverance. Ain’t no road map for this one.
So where did I learn this behavior, and why did it dictate my happiness for so long, into my late 30’s in fact?! Good questions for us all to ask ourselves, and I have a few theories that I’d like to share with you now that I hope will help you on your journey.
Firstly, I wish to steer any blame away from my parents because I have had nothing but love, support, encouragement and total acceptance from them both. I don’t have any major or media-worthy familial skeletons in the closet, I wasn’t abused in any way or on any level, and I was (and still am), seen and loved for who I am, even if that was a little more eccentric or ‘spooky’ than mum or dad had bargained for. They couldn’t see the faeries in the garden I was speaking with, but they believed me just the same. Still do.
I reckon boarding school had a lot to do with it actually, and the ironic thing is, I CHOSE to go there so we could live on a farm and so I could have the horse I so desperately dreamed of.
Boarding school is a world unto itself - those who have been will relate - and the one I attended (for thankfully only three years), was unfortunately also run by a psychotic female version of Hitler who instilled the fear of god into every one of us, staff included, with no remorse and no accountability whatsoever. We nicknamed her ‘Wuff’ and she was literally the devil in a very-bad-wardrobe-of-vintage-dresses.
I remember once, being locked away in solitary confinement for ‘farting’ too close to a Papuan friend of mine, a classmate I actually really liked. This involuntary action was immediately interpreted as racism – yes I know, racist flatulence – and I spent a week, at the tender age of 11, separated from all the other boarders, eating my meals, doing my homework and sleeping in a cold and scary dormitory, alone. It was absolutely horrible and all efforts by my parents to contact the school and complain, were cunningly deflected by the deputy, another nazi ring-in - who took the wearing of support hosiery to another frightening level - day by day, so I couldn’t even get support indirectly through the phone or a letter. My dad eventually had to storm down from our country property to demand an explanation!
You may smile and think I am exaggerating, but this place was seriously messed up, and anyone reading and recognizing this from their school days, will agree wholeheartedly. (Apologies now for any traumatic flashbacks this recount may bring up for you sisters). Some of the things that went on there were seriously deserving of Departmental investigation. Despite it’s picture-perfect social profile and glossy Colgate brochures touting itself as one of ‘Sydney’s most reputable schools’ advocating Christian values hand in hand with educational transparency, this place was a bona fide prison. Nowadays such antics would be shut down in a heartbeat and people arrested.
Back then, the foundations for me to doubt myself and anticipate trauma around any corner, were already invisibly being laid. Not to mention the early instillation of fear connected to peer group interaction and believing in, and then expressing, my own talents. The belief that I had to watch myself and be careful about how my actions and possibly words, would be interpreted, was unconsciously taking hold in my heart and my head. And of course, the repercussions of embodying such vibrations will always manifest, on the lower end of the scale, as poor self esteem, minimal self care and low confidence; and to the extreme, inevitable self sabotage, anxiety and distorted expressions of the feminine in various guises. And I had it all goin' on for a while there.
When we don’t love and accept ourselves and believe we are wrong and deserve to be outcast and alone, that is exactly the vibration we will keep manifesting, and attracting. We may not intend that, but our energenetic system is distorted and therefore, until we clear that completely, we will feel as if we are stuck in some spiritual groundhog day scenario, feeling lonely, alone and unlovable.
Separation breeds contempt and contempt births, you guessed it, comparison.
Looking back now, I think my primary years were the most challenging of my entire school career, but they were also the most character forming, because once you make the time to reflect on the past and forgive yourself, and others, for any actual or perceived troubles or traumas, then you are able to clear your karmic baggage and transform all grief to gratitude. And funnily enough, pretty much all of those friendships formed during those formative years have dissolved along with any residual memories of accidental passing wind in the near vicinity of someone not of my skin color. I can now fluff without fear (!), and best of all, I’ve forged connections with people since leaving that school that have stood the test of time, distance and momentary lapses of judgement; and that is all that matters. These are the souls I lean on whenever any shadow of an inkling of being less than, threatens to cross my heart. These are the people that show me how far I have come, how much I have grown and how freaking awesome I am.
This process of learning and re-loving ourselves course goes on for our entire lives; it doesn’t stop when you hit one ‘snag’. It’s not just ONE specific moment in time from years ago that needs clearing, there are MANY. Those days that threw you for a six and had you resorting to sneaking Valium from your mums' cupboard after Sunday roast, will pop up throughout the course of your natural life for you to deal with; and regularly. You can’t avoid your shit forever, it’s even written in the book, “Spiritual Shit-Sorting: for Dummies”. This self development stuff is hard yakka a lot of the time and it will make you cranky, cry, and shout, loudly, sometimes. It’s ongoing work and it involves getting dirty, feeling desperate, embracing defeat and even sinking into a depressive-like state sometimes as you incrementally attempt to transcend all the debris your soul chose to sift through in this lifetime. It’s all necessary and it’s all waiting patiently in the deepest recesses of your DNA.
No ‘get out of jail free’ passes here, sorry. Roll the dice and play the game with what you’ve got if you want to conquer the comparison card.
When we learn to see ourselves, warts and wacky bits’n’all, and truly accept who we are, that we’re okay with not being okay sometimes and are willing to embrace life with all its beautiful and beastily bits, that is when we set ourselves free from the sister chains of comparison and competition. That is when whatever anyone says or does, or by the same token doesn’t say or do, doesn’t influence our state of being, sense of happiness or our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health anymore.
We can rejoice after moving through those cathartic moments because we have finally grown beyond giving a toss about what everyone else is doing and can start living our lives as our own divine and delicious self, as we were designed to!
Next time comparison rolls into town all cocky and controlling, try all or some of these things and see if it helps create a positive shift:
1 Acknowledge what it is that you are feeling and who/what it is attached to first of all. When you identify the ‘cause’ or trigger, you come into the present moment and your awareness levels amplify. Being aware of what’s happening, is the first step towards self healing.
2 Breathe it through your heart and ask what is it in you, that feels inferior or less than, because guaranteed it has nothing to do with external circumstances.
3 Try and see the situation, person or memory, as a gift to help you transform something old inside yourself that is only serving to bring you down and make you feel less than.
4 Let yourself feel joy for the other person for showing up and sharing their particular gifts, and try and do the same thing for yourself. Almost like ‘one for you, one for me’ where you complement them, and then shower one over yourself.
5 Don’t take it personally. This is a HUGE issue, as illustrated in The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz*. You need to separate yourself from any beliefs connected to failure, obligation, burden or wounding, and let go of the ‘it’s all my fault’ story. Hand the past back to where it belongs: in the past and release attachment to what everyone else is doing.
6 Transform any expressions of comparison energy instead into admiration and stimuli to get you motivated and connected with (and expressing) your own unique brand of amazing!
7 Congratulate the person you see doing well – either literally or in your heart and mind – and breathe out any resentment, shame, blame, jealousy if/and when it arises as you do this. It’s such a better place to be in.
8 Remind yourself that we are all constant works in progress and at different stages of development, and that we never fully know what is going on with someone despite outward appearances. We see this with celebrities and the like all the time; shiny on the outside, crumbling on the inside. Exercise compassion here and focus on using what (you perceive) someone else doing/or has done, as a yardstick of ‘how to’. A guide. Then create the space in your own life to allow any ideas and inspirations to flow to you, in alignment with your magical purpose. If we were all homogeneous versions of each other, imagine how bland and blah life would be.
9 Be gentle and kind with yourself as you do all this because your ego is going to make you agitated and reactive no doubt and will convince you that in order to survive and succeed, you MUST be in a perpetual state of comparison and competition. That is BS so don’t listen!
10 Remember that your natural state of being is trust, peace, compassion and LOVE. Let these qualities rise and flow organically, and often, and you will feel yourself detangling from restrictive behaviors and thoughts before you know it!
We’re all here to learn the same lesson really and that is the lesson of SELF (and selfless) LOVE.
As expressions of god, source, the supreme being or whatever you want to call ‘it’ - the ONE universal energy - each one of us has a divinely-ordained role to play that ultimately supports and empowers the sacred abundance and light frequencies experienced by the entire collective matrix; animal, vegetable and mineral equally. This is an energy that we are all entitled to receive and one into which we all consciously and unconsciously contribute, because WE ARE IT.
All we gotta do is breathe, be grateful that we are alive right now and “just keep swimming, just keep swimming!”, because if anything is a sin, it’s not worshiping who you are!
AUM and AHO
*Link for The Four Agreements https://www.thefouragreements.com/