We’ve all used others’ yardsticks to measure our own lives and it’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy. Now, with social media influences, the field has widened for comparisons. How do we manage it all? Here, our contributing lifestyle expert, life coach, and author Angie McCourt shares her insight from her book, Love Your Gifts: Permission to Revolutionize Authenticity in the Workplace.
THE BEST INFLUENCE
In my book, Love Your Gifts: Permission to Revolutionize Authenticity In The Workplace, I dive into “comparison” as a block to revealing our gifts. The reason? It can negatively impact our mindset and start to possess us. Have you thought to yourself (while scrolling through Instagram or other social media channels) why am I so triggered by this person’s posts (even if they are great posts)? It appears we are almost possessed by “comparison” these days. We can’t seem to stop ourselves.
Unhealthy comparisons have significantly impacted our mindset across all areas of our life. In a world where we are encouraged to compare ourselves to each other or to famous or successful people either on social media, or by titles, income, looks, and even our bodies, it’s no wonder we tend to feel shameful or not good enough, more often than not. The silent yet in-your-face pictures, articles, and features flooding our information highway can create a sense of personal comparison, even if we don’t realize it is happening. It has brought on more consumerism and accumulation than ever, and impacts our self-worth. It can fuel our inner critic that says we are not good enough, which is one of the most harmful impacts on our mindset.
HERE TO THERE
The typical underlying message is that we are broken, our home is not up to par with others, we are behind, and we need to step up in society and within our culture. Even further, from a parenting perspective we need to do all, and be all for our children while keeping up with what other parents are doing, or supporting, for their children. Otherwise, we are not good parents. This includes the schools/programs our children are participating in, the grades they receive, the colleges they attend, what we allow our children to do (screen time and accountability), and their behavior. In the workplace, comparisons can have an even greater negative impact on the individual, the team, and company culture.
Comparison is heavy, low-vibrational energy, yet it can be healthy if we recognize it is happening and determine if it is helpful or not. Sometimes, it can motivate us to do something we have wanted to, and now that “they” are doing it, we feel motivated as well. It can also energize us to lean into our strengths and focus on making them central to our lives. Having a frame of reference or a model to mirror can help us overcome indifference, lack of confidence, or simply lack of knowledge in knowing what to do and how to act. If it is not healthy, we can break it and shift our thoughts and beliefs. Evaluating our standards, upgrading them when needed, and awareness when we are straying is key. Breaking the chains of induced comparison is such a freeing feeling. Living with intention and within our values and beliefs allows for healthy comparisons, but only if it motivates us.
Choose to take a different path if you do recognize “comparison”, whether with your intentions (switch to a good one), pausing your mind to re-adjust (breathe), and acknowledging your feelings (anger, pain, shame, sadness, resentment). Acting with scorn and contempt toward others can have other serious consequences that you may not be able to reverse.
If you find that certain things trigger you such as social media, PTA parents (one of mine), media, certain leaders, colleagues, or even organizations’ announcements, remove them from your day. Don’t look, read t, or think about them. Let them go, unfollow, and limit your exposure.
Shift your mindset through your state of being. Go for a walk, dance, or, if at work, play music in your headphones to change your state. Focus on what you are grateful for and what that means to you and to your goals and desires.
Awareness, in and of itself, is a super-helpful way to break the chains blocking our growth. Setting your own personal and professional goals that align with your values and beliefs and sticking to them with integrity can help keep the silent hacker from getting in. Limit social media time and other outlets where you are triggered by “comparison.” Ask yourself, do you really want or need something…or is it just because they have it, and you feel you must have it, too?