Letting Go of Comparison
August 10th 2017
The game of comparison can affect any one of us. It’s depleting and a spiral that can be difficult to untangle from. This week we explore the comparison game and what we can do to not buy into it.
This week we’re talking about letting go of comparison, and this affects men as it does women as it does children, it’s just universal this idea of comparison. How do we untangle from that whole yucky mess of drama? It’s a horrible thing when your mind is constantly comparing you to other people. And what ends up happening is you either put yourself on a pedestal in whatever way where you feel better than other people, superior, or you put yourself in the gutter which is when you feel inferior to other people. And that often happens when you walk in to a room and you feel that other people have what you lack, and it’s very easy to get that balance off where someone has what I lack therefore they are more valuable than me.
It’s a yucky game because if that’s happening in one arena then you will place yourself on a pedestal to other people where you have more than someone else in another area. So how do we untangle from this game of comparison and this game of feeling either inferior or superior to someone else?
I’m going to start off by talking about our body because that’s one of the main contenders for comparison, men and women, boys and girls. There was a lovely playwright, Eve Ensler, and she’s an author as well, and she gives amazing speeches, who was sharing the story about visiting a native tribe, I think it was in Kenya, of women, and they were sitting around. And she was asking them do you love your bodies, how do you feel about them, do you ever want to change anything.
The idea just seemed so absurd to the women there that the question even exists, do I love my body, it’s just an absurd question. And one of the elder ladies said to her look at the trees around us, and she did, and the lady said to her, the elder said to her, which tree is the most beautiful? And there is no answer to that because every tree is so different and beautiful and unique that it makes no sense to compare them to each other. When you stand back and you see the forest, the whole thing is beautiful. When you look and stand in front of one tree it has its own beauty and its own stillness to it.
What the elder was conveying was that there are different types of trees and there are different forms, and when it’s natural and beautiful it’s beyond the game of comparison because the beauty that exists within it is just untouchable from any kind of mental concept or mental judgement about it, any story you want to put on it. The tree doesn’t care whether you think it’s beautiful or not.
The woman then went on to describe her own body and the way she sees her body. She was talking about how her arms are so strong they carry my children and I love my arms because they can do that, and I love my hips because they’ve bared my children and I’m so grateful for that, and my legs are strong because it allows me to work and I can walk as far as I want and I love my legs for that, and my heart is open and loving and I love my heart for that, and my eyes can see the beauty around me and I love my… It was just such a dialogue of gratitude and appreciation for what she has, and she sees her body as some miraculous gift that she uses to experience all these beautiful things in her life.
The idea, do I love my body, was just so absurd because they don’t… that particular group of women just don’t buy into the game of comparing one person’s body to another. They see it for what it is, just really useful and the vehicle to experience joy and bliss.
That story I heard it many years ago and it really stayed with me as a beautiful way to illustrate how we can plug out of that game of comparison when we see the absurdity in it and also see the lack of appreciation that gets caught up in the very question itself. And so when we can step back and look at our bodies and see it as something to appreciate… If you didn’t have some part of your body you would then really value it. You would then really appreciate what it did for you and what it does for you. And so I love that story about the trees because it’s so easy to understand.
The second thing with comparison is that when we don’t see our own value, we don’t see what is here in our life right now, we feel a lack of it, then someone else who does have it might… it’s very easy to see them in a higher position to you, so whether it’s wealth, whether it’s beauty, whether it’s relationship status, whether it’s health, etc.
If you see someone as lean and muscular and trim and fit and your value is really high on that because you don’t feel that about yourself, you need to turn the lens back on to yourself and look at how much you’ve done with your body and how much it has done for you. And recognise that you do have the qualities that you are seeing in the other person. They exist inside you. You are strong. You’ve done things that this person has done that you’re valuing higher, but when you do actually turn the lens and just reflect just for a moment, you will see… you will find examples inside your own life that illustrate that you have exactly what they have. You have it. And if you tend to it and nurture it more will be shown to you.
It’s the same thing about beauty. If you see someone else who you feel is beautiful and you rank them higher to you, you have not seen or valued your own beauty and what is special about you or unique about you. And what they are bringing into your life is the opportunity to turn that lens in and to recognise that for yourself and to bring more value into your cups and feel full from there.
And when its wealth and you see other people that are driving amazing cars and have amazing houses or holidays or whatever, again when you turn the lens and look at the wealth in your own life you can find a new feeling of appreciation that wasn’t there before. And look really hard. Sometimes it’s hard to find it but it definitely is there. Look at where you are wealthy and feel the gratitude for that and use that person as inspiration to find value in your life as it is right now and to focus on what’s there not what’s missing.
This is really a message about gratitude. It really is about gratitude because when you’re grateful for what you have you’re not focused on what’s lacking, so to speak, what you believe is lacking. When you focus on what you have then when more comes you will still be in the state of gratitude because it’s an attitude. But if you’re lacking and you feel that so much is missing from your life, you’re not grateful for what you have, what makes you think you’re going to be more grateful when more comes? It’s a habit of thinking, whether you focus on what’s missing, your perception of what’s missing, or when you focus on gratitude for what you have. It’s two different states of being.
When you are in a state of gratitude everyone is met on the same plane field. When you’re grateful and full in your own life you don’t wish you had other people’s pieces of their lives. You’re grateful for what you have and you will find whatever it is you need. But when there’s lack then you will seek out the pieces that you think are missing from your life and judge accordingly.
The way to move away from this game of comparison and superiority and inferiority is really to come back to a state of gratitude and away from a mindset of lack, to come back to gratitude where in that space everyone is equal, everyone is seen as equal in value and… so when you meet them you bring a sense of self-respect… I’m equal to you. We might have very different circumstances in life but we’re equal, we’re equal in value and that’s when you feel full inside and that’s where your power lies as well in a state of fullness and gratitude.
Whenever you focus on lack it drains you. It really does drain you. It’s very… oh my gosh, it’s so depleting to only focus on what’s not there because that’s an abyss. It’s a spiral that’s very hard to get out of, but what pulls you out is gratitude. And that is the message for today.
Gratitude is the antidote to comparison, the game of comparison.