It started with this simple statement, “In order to get what they have, you’ve got to work twice as hard.” At the time, my mom was imparting what she believed to be true. You see, we grew up at a time when skin color privileged some people while it deprived others.
In retrospect, I realize that the day I was told to compare myself to someone else was the day I ceased to esteem me. Working twice as hard became the cornerstone of everything I did. Sure, it got me noticed. If I was the only person in my class to get an A on the exam, it felt pretty darn good. Everybody celebrated me. But if I got a C or worse, even if I studied extra hard, nobody seemed to care that I had done the best I could.
Fast forward to adulthood. Exit academia and enter social media. Comparison is now the number of likes, comments and shares. I know it sounds ludicrous that our esteem as professionals is coming down to that. But think about how many people are now sought after just because something they posted went viral. Even I have to admit that although I have launched 3 companies, self published 3 books and have co-created a life that allows me to live authentically, some of my posts have been deleted simply because nobody responded.
You mean to tell me that a “like” has that much power?!
What a rude awakening! With it, my motivation for what I do has been called into question. I have taken notice of how many times I compare myself and how many of my conversations with others are nothing more than comparing sessions. Comparing our experiences in the present by what happened in the past. Comparing the value of what we offer to the world by what our peers are doing and if we measure up.
The truth is, while our Ego gets a quick pay off, there is no redemption for our self value. When we compare ourselves, what we’re truly saying is “I am not enough on my own.” When we compare our number of likes or followers to those of others on social media, we lose the ability to show up authentically. Nothing erodes trust, value and esteem like comparing ourselves. That’s why we need a restraining order against comparison.
Hence, I propose this 21-day exercise. First, take note of how often you compare yourself, what you have or what you do to what others are doing or what they have. Secondly, when you find yourself comparing, I want you to stop immediately. Let yourself stand on your own recognizance. Let that be your only perspective. Do this for 21 days straight. Without judging it as good or bad, journal what you discover. The goal is not to ask why, but simply to pay attention to aspects of yourself worthy of regard that get disregarded when you focus on somebody else.
Suzette R. Hinton, Certified Life and Relationship Coach, Author and Business Owner. Radio co-host for Straight Wives Radio Show and Leader of Statistics Be Darned community of women, Suzette has defied every statistic that said she could not by doing it anyway. To inquire about her coaching services or to contact her about speaking at your event, visit her website: http://www.suzetterhinton.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.