Do you sometimes compare your life to other people’s lives? And by compare, I mean make yourself feel inadequate/inferior/undeserving/stuck because someone else seems to have it better than you.
It’s called comparisonitis.
Made easier thanks to the huge role social media has in our lives and everyone’s tendency to only post the highlight reel.
But it’s been around longer than social media. It’s a human condition, and it’s important to talk about it.
One of the things that used to make me feel like this about was how hard parenting felt when I had no family close by. Child no 1 was a challenging baby: I basically didn’t sleep for 18 months. I had to learn to be his health advocate from scratch and I had no friends or family who could relate or pick up the slack for me. I constantly looked at other people’s seemingly rosy lives where parents went on date nights, babies were cared for by grandparents and everyone looked happy and rested and I wanted to die. The truth is that I desperately needed support and didn’t know how to ask for it, let alone get it. All I had was looking outward for answers that weren’t there and the sickening realisation that this was not what I ordered.
I’ve also had it gazillions of times over my creative work, my business, my finances, my body, my age and my likability.
Through these ‘blips’, I’ve learnt that comparing my life to others is a symptom of my own dissatisfaction, or an emerging need/desire that I hadn’t had before.
This is where we can look a bit closer at the cause rather than focusing in on the symptoms. Comparisonitis is caused by:
- A feeling of discontentment in your own life/circumstances
- A lack of confidence and self esteem
- Lost focus or mojo
All these things can bring about a tendency to look outwards rather than inwards. At the first sign of comparisonitis, it’s important to switch off the triggers and cast your attention inwards. You can start by asking yourself some important questions:
- What is it I’m worrying about?
- Is it really true?
- What can I do to change it?
And then you can refocus your attention on yourself with positive action and a growth mindset.
It takes some guts to change your situation. Or to recognise that the pretty picture you might want isn’t actually the right solution for you and your unique circumstances. Or to acknowledge your hidden dreams. It’s easier to be annoyed at the ‘luck’ some people have. To feel sorry for yourself, to blame something or someone. It’s hard to delve deeper, and to truly disrupt something that feels ‘comfortable’. Often, it’s better the devil you know, you know?
Now I push. I peel back layers. I’m not scared of hard things. Comparisonitis is a soul-sucker. The only comparison that truly matters is old you and new you. And, transformation is a gift that can keep on giving, as long as you live.