Comparison between people, objects, value and status is a socially accepted form of violence, which is what makes seeking justice for ourselves such a painful, and seemingly unattainable task.
This behaviour is insidious and is drilled into us from such an early age right from an adult comparing the behaviour of one child to another at school or parents comparing themselves to one another in the playground; it’s inescapable.
Humans, all too often, are conditioned by social constructs to determine self-worth based on the perception of others; not only is this unmeasurable it is also toxic and debilitating. This is made worse by the ease with which the disease of comparison is spread through the structure of our social networks.
In this age of social media, where everybody seems to be directing the movie of their life through the lens of a device and the filter of some app or other, it has become the norm to be unwittingly held up to an impossible standard as a mere mortal trying to carve out an existence that cannot be reduced down to a couple of hashtags or a viral post.
Free yourself from the torment of comparison!
I have no issue with influencers and those that genuinely get joy from cultivating their following and curating their brand. Speaking from personal experience I know how challenging and painstaking that work is; since becoming a freelancer and trying to create, live and share the Mutabilis Brand I have a newfound respect for those that have done it before me!
As I started finding my brand voice, curating my aesthetic and then getting under the hood of my online presence, learning about the machinations of SEO, indexing, crawling, affiliations and traffic I realised very quickly that comparing myself and my brand to another with more followers was about to rob me of the joy that I had gotten from finally making the decision to follow my passion – which is writing.
So how do we do what we love, without the torment of comparison?
Know for sure why you’re doing what you’re doing!
Be explicit about your intentions, whatever they are. An influencer can be a beach walking bikini model with as much credibility as another that is a dark room dwelling philanthropist. If you want hundreds of thousands of followers because you thrive on the validation, own that! Authenticity is custom made by you, for you, but everyone outside you can see it too.
I’d be much more amenable to a shallow person that knows it than I would be to an inconsistent humanitarian that is meaner than a wet cat behind closed doors!
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as the saying goes. Well, I don’t believe in hell but I do believe that intentions determine outcomes, so it’s is really important to separate intentions from success criteria.
For example, the success measure of becoming an influencer could be to accumulate ten thousand followers but for a person that wants to share a message, or create art, that would not necessarily be the intention of the creator.
What you want, may not be what you get – and that’s ok!
Life is what happens when we are busy making plans. It’s all fine and well stating your intentions, and grinding hard to achieve your goals but the cold, hard and the real truth is that sometimes things don’t work out as we want them to.
There’s a lot of talk about resilience in the world today but there is no talk about being anti-fragile – it is vital that we learn de-demonise failure. I’m not an advocate for seeking out failure but I am an advocate for acknowledging and accepting the learning opportunities that are offered by it.
Give yourself a break!
Very few people want to make a mess of their life, and I genuinely believe that all of us, at the point of making a decision, make it based on the information that is available at the time and in the belief that they are making the best decision.
Sometimes new information comes to light that doesn’t work with the decision that has been made – do yourself a favour and show yourself some compassion.
You got this.
Find the balance between ‘If this, then that’ and ‘Yes, and..’
When writing computer code, and making firm decisions it makes sense to use the logic of “If this happens, then that happens” and this is a good way of thinking before making an absolute decision based on verifiable facts and evidence.
Life has so many unknowns and variables, and what this means is that life is one big improvisation exercise, so there needs to be a lot of “Yes and…” engagement with your life.
This becomes a lot easier when you know for sure why you are doing what you are doing and you understand that things won’t always go YOUR way.
Celebrate the success of others, and yourself!
It’s often said that we should save the best for last, which Is why I’ve saved this for the last on this list of tips to help you release yourself from the torment of comparison.
There is not a limited amount of winning in the world, it is entirely possible for everyone on this planet to do whatever it is that makes them experience joy. Someone want tons of money and loads of properties, others want tons of time and the freedom to walks amongst the trees, but have enough money to eat and keep the lights on.
Celebrating the success, progress and efforts ot others authentically is an act of pure love, and this is the state we all deserve to exist in – it is also the state when we are at our best as a species.
Tell me in the comments below if you have experienced the torment of comparison and how you handle it.