Comparing ourselves to others is something we have been trained into doing, whether it’s the messaging we receive from ads and the media with respect to how we should look, feel, smell and perform.
Subconsciously we don’t realize how much we’ve internalized the competitive performance messaging, but it’s something that affects each of us, and many people struggle with self-worth as a result.
The message which equates affluence with being a deserving person is everywhere, from how people interpret how God blesses people based on their successes, to how good a person’s character is based on their ability to handle money, to what neighborhood they’re able to afford, to what pay level they get, etc.
We have been so brainwashed by this very subtle messaging, that poor people are seen as unworthy due to the perception that the proof of their worthiness lies in their life circumstances.
So, when we ourselves experience setbacks or if we don’t experience the success we’re working so hard to achieve, we inwardly declare and fear that it’s actually because we’re unworthy of success.
This conscious or subconscious belief permeates our feelings for ourselves, so we get anxious, depressed, and even angry.
How easy is it to feel badly when we compare ourselves to others following a similar path?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Is it HEALTHY when we find our mind doing this, and how can we harness it?
When I published the first edition of my book “How to Heal Your Life on a Deep Heart Level” I had high hopes for its success, as any author would.
The euphoria of completing the manuscript, researching how to e-publish, and then seeing it up on Amazon had been diminished when I found out that a whole new stage of work had just now started: learning to ‘Market The Book’ and ‘Building An Author Brand and Platform’!
I was in awe of and amazed with how some first-time published authors have zoomed way past me in learning how and where to market themselves, all the while building a platform that is just, well, awe-inspiring.
There were moments when I saw how much they’ve accomplished, and when I compared my progress and successes to theirs I felt discouraged.
I had to look a little deeper into this feeling… why was I feeling it? …where was it coming from? …was it true? …how could I harness the negative and turn it around?
My past history of self-blame, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence was threatening to insert itself, and the old feelings of paralysis were threatening to take over. Doubts, HUGE doubts were growing in my mind.
I didn’t wish to be sucked down the vortex of depression again, so I looked at it head-on and asked myself some questions:
- Was I comparing myself unfavorably with those authors because I had an inferior message/book?
- Was my timeline of learning and progress inferior to theirs?
- Was I supposed to have known all this before publishing?
I think that there were many more nebulous questions swirling in my head, but these three seem to encapsulate most of the strongest feelings and thoughts I was having. As you can see, just the tone alone of these questions shows a deep level of self-doubt and blame, which in blue moments liked to clear its throat and tap me on the shoulder.
At first, I tried to dismiss those thoughts, but we all know, this isn’t a good tactic! It keeps rearing its head, and with each new difficult event, it gets more and more insistent in how it wants to be looked at!
Brushing our thoughts under the rug, so to speak, or trying to banish them to some back room in our mind, isn’t a good strategy, because, like the naughty children they are, they’ll keep bursting out, stronger and stronger!
So, how to deal with those thoughts, without being sucked down into a deep pit of depression?
Denying these negative questions or trying to find arguments against them is useless I found, because I wasn’t able to find strong enough arguments to convince myself and erase the self-doubt. I could always find the flaw in my weak reasoning and became more discouraged as a result.
The best way to really deal with the negative is by using the positive!
“Turn on the light and the darkness flees!”Tamara Kulish
I looked at what I had been able to accomplish, and I took note of the circumstances I was in while doing it. Many of us accomplish things not when all is going well for us, or when we’re on the top of our game, but sometimes in spite of difficulties or barriers!
1) I wrote during a time one might think would be impossible to write in: my job ended, I moved in with my daughter to help with the kids when my baby granddaughter was re-diagnosed with cancer (she’s back to being healthy again!), my marriage went down in spectacular flames. (I knew it was over when he was calling me on the phone while I was in the hospital with the baby and demanding I somehow get more money to him, even though I was out of work… No, I no longer harbor ill feelings towards him, since he has since succumbed to Dementia.)
2) In spite of going through this round of trials and becoming angry and overwhelmed with what was happening, I knew I needed to put the lessons of the book into practice, and work on a) becoming healthy and balanced for myself and my family, b) work on healing my emotional hurts from the divorce, c) be open to figuring out what new/deeper lessons I was being taught through this process.
3) I researched a) different self-publishing vehicles, and what they offered, (I chose to go with Amazon first, because of their size) b) how to prepare a manuscript for publishing to Kindle format, and c) how to publish.
4) After publishing the eBook, I found out about the need to market it, build an author platform and build a readership/fan base. I followed the advice given to me.
5) I started a blog, and have been trying to take care to write articles that will inform, entertain, and inspire my readers. I’ve been sharing my journey and the how-to’s freely to help others who are in the same position I was not too long ago.
6) I decided my branding and sharing needed to be more than just about selling books: I needed to genuinely help people, to become a resource if I could… after all, that was what was driving me to write books in the first place!
7) I needed to share my blogs on other social media sites, and as I find out information about one, I’ve been trying to be an active participant, rather than just posting information.
8) As an active participant on social media sites, I keep my focus encouraging and uplifting when I comment on other people’s posts, trying to help and amplify a message that is being put out there… again to share information.
As the list of my accomplishments grew, I started to feel much better about myself!
I may not be growing my sales/branding/readership at the warp speed that other authors are doing, but when I look back at my own progress, I see a steady-as-she-goes approach!
I have made great progress! Even from a year ago, I’ve accomplished quite a lot… I realized I can be quite proud of myself!
Those negative thoughts and feelings just shrivel up and float away with the wind when I go over my list in my head! *I’m smiling now as I write these words!*
“Yes girl,” I tell myself, “You’ve been doing well!”
I may not be the fastest, but who said it needed to be about speed?
A job well done is very satisfying!
Really, if we need to compare ourselves to anyone, I think taking a look back at what WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED is the WAY to do it!
Compare your abilities to how you were a year ago or ten years ago!
Life happens so fast, with many urgencies vying for our attention that we don’t always do this useful exercise!
If we don’t take the time to acknowledge all we have accomplished and hold fast to that in our minds, when a sneak attack happens where we compare ourselves to others, it can take an unfavorable turn.
I highly recommend you go through the same exercises of listing ALL the things you have accomplished to get you to where you are now. I’m sure you will see yourself in a different light when you see what you have been able to do when the odds were stacked against you!
Beat those sneak attacks to the punch and prepare yourself mentally. You’ll be glad you did!
I hope you’ll poke around my Archived Posts to find a wonderful trove of supportive and encouraging posts!
I’m sharing more posts that may be helpful for you:
- 10 Steps to Owning Our Happiness
- Setting “Boundaries with consequences”
- Making a change… “How do I take that first step?”
- Affirmation: Today is a new day! I can do this!
- As we practice being gentle and kind with ourselves, we actually help to speed the process of helping our lives become more positive!
- Always believe that wonderful things can happen!
- A healthy outside starts from the inside!
- Brain Rewiring
More good stuff:
- Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves
- By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!
- Challenge: When a negative thought enters your mind, think three positive ones. Train yourself to flip the script!
- Red Ocean or Blue Ocean? How do you think?
- An answer to dealing with the Inner Critic!
- My top 10 most viewed posts, plus a few bonuses!
- A helpful trick to be able to overcome negatively Comparing Ourselves to others…
- Do you only accept yourself if you look a certain way?
- A new you! Is this possible?
- Start today, start tomorrow, just start!
- There is no enlightenment outside of daily life – Thich Nhat Hanh
My books: Now available through Walmart.com!
Guided Journals help you work on a particular issue by answering questions to help see patterns and to find solutions:
Thanks for buying my books on Amazon!
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