The List of Comparison

by Christine Unterthiner

So there's this long list of people in my head with whom I used to (and still sometimes) compare myself. Then there's another list that's kind of a checklist – the one I would use to know when I'm finally good enough. The problem with both those lists: comparison is not real and can lead us far away from who we really are.

The List of Comparison is like a tall tower to climb, one that is made of glass – nothing to hold onto, hence impossible. I will never be like those others because I am not them, I am me. However, what I can do is enjoy them, learn from them, take the things I admire and make them my own; not from an act of comparing but from a place of creation – to allow myself to emerge and keep becoming the person I want to be.

Even though it's taken me a while, I actually like who I am now. I enjoy my silly sense of humour, my quirky rhyming and my intense need for answers. I'm okay with the fact that I'm tall (as a teen I used to blame my dad for that one. That, and my big feet), have a nose that could rival Streisand's and talk in a rather slow, drawn out fashion (it's gotta be my European heritage). I can't be like anyone else and have stopped looking outside myself for the answer, for guidance, for creativity. It's all right here - in me!

How can we stop being lured into the world of comparison?

Of course it will be different for everyone. Here are five tips I found work for me:

  1. Notice when I'm not feeling settled in my body – this could be anything from mild discomfort across the chest to a greater sense of being scattered or under some kind of pressure. Say out loud what's actually happening in the moment. I find it a fast way to get present, especially when I say my thoughts out loud. That's often when I can hear/see if I've been doing any comparing.
  2. As soon as I start to judge others, I know I'm comparing. The first thing I do is shift my focus by saying something good or that I admire about them or the situation. If that's difficult, then I look for something easier that's in my immediate vicinity. This helps distract my mind and re-focus my attention on something else.
  3. Read emails, cards or letters from happy clients who love me.
  4. Open my journal and write a list of all the things I like about myself.
  5. Call someone with whom I haven't spoken in a while and find out how they are doing.

Start with baby steps. Find that one thing you love about yourself – or at the very least, really like – and keep comparing yourself to that. Add to the list, ask others what they see in you, connect with people around whom you feel uplifted, listen to music, dance, sing, sing in the shower... That list you have of others will get smaller and smaller. The more you look, the more you'll discover that you really are amazing, you are good enough.