Finding yourself in the comparison trap

Originally written for and shared on Huffington Post

I don’t know about you, but when I spend time around peers I can find myself in a comparison downward spiral.

I just came from an amazing 4 days of connecting with some incredible women. A confidence building, inspiring, find your inner badass kind of weekend. So why am I feeling disconnected, deflated, and a little down?

Because I’m human. As humans, we struggle with life on occasion. One of the biggest areas of struggle for me is comparing myself to others.

This weekend was all about coming together as women to support and inspire one another. Most of us had never met, which often creates a sense of vulnerability. While I no longer consider myself to be shy or have difficulty meeting people, it’s still a bit intimidating.

Of course one of the first things people talk about, especially at a women’s entrepreneurial conference, is what they do. I love to discuss what I do. Whenever I talk about it I am completely energized. So what’s the problem, you might ask? While I love to talk about it, other people, well, not so much. I help survivors of sexual abuse heal.

It’s amazing how similar the responses tend to be. Either Oh, wow, that must be hard. How can you do that? Or a blank look with a quick change of topic. I get it. I understand why people react this way. Sexual abuse is a very difficult reality to face.

Normally it doesn’t bother me because I know what I do is important to the 1 in 3 women who have been sexually abused. And it’s possible the person who just changed topic isn’t ready to let go of the denial that has been keeping her safe, but the seed was planted.

By bringing the topic out in the open I help create an avenue for people to heal. While it’s incredibly important to talk about the statistics and the devastation abuse causes, the need to talk about the reality of healing is equally important. And nobody seems to be talking about it.

So, as I listened to all of these fabulous women speak about what they do and how connected and inspired they were by the incredible speakers; Brené  Brown, Arianna Huffington, Eve Ensler, Gabrielle Bernstein just to name a few, I wondered why I wasn’t feeling it too.

Don’t get me wrong, I was certainly happy to be there and engaged with people. It’s just that I found myself in the comparison trap. Because I wasn’t getting the same reactions, I doubted the value in what I do. Of course, my self-doubt was completely self-inflicted.

As a survivor of abuse myself, my biggest vulnerability is worthiness (like many of you, whether you’ve been abused or not). I’m at a stage in my life, on the other side of struggling through the healing process, where I believe in my worthiness and value as a human being. But, when I find myself making comparisons I sometimes still doubt it.

Because I have been able to heal, these feelings and self-doubt did not stick around. Once I came back to who I am and what I’m passionate about (instead of thinking maybe I should find a different career) the struggle began to melt away.

Comparison is something most of us get caught up in from time to time. We tend to compare our biggest vulnerabilities and the things we like least about ourselves. Have you ever noticed that? It’s really never a good thing. This quote sums it up.

The comparison trap

This is exactly what I did during those 4 days as I compared myself to the authors, speakers, and some incredibly fashionable women.

So what do you say we put together our own highlight reel? Let’s focus on our courageous, inspirational, and badassary (as coined by Brené Brown) strengths, passions, and innate knowing of who we are!

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6 comments on “Finding yourself in the comparison trap”

  1. Thank you for writing on this topic. definitely an area of struggle for me! I am currently taking the Courage Works course and it is helping me define and wrap language around these issues where I once struggled to even articulate my experience.

    God Bless you and your work!
    Stephanie

  2. I´ve heard a comment once and it sad " mayby it isn´t the voice with the biggest loudspeaker that´s been heard, mayby it is the voice that´s wispering that´s matters". You see, I´´ve heard your voice all over the world here to Sweden. And your comment on this day was the one I needed to ground my self and let go of all warries. With Love from my whole hart / Gordana

  3. My struggle with worthiness is what brought me to your site. I am counselling now, it seems like the second go around in life to try to heal and comparisons certainly impact me, even though I know who I am, I have value in what I do, I feel wonderful that I have direct contact in helping youth I work with heal daily. Yet I struggle with the fact that I don't have that degree, doubts linger. I am so glad that I have found your work and so proud to be in a place to now speak out and to not carry the responsibility or to continue to doubt myself. So I would like to thank you for the work your doing. This is truly amazing. Putting words to my experiences through counsel, writing, sharing with those I love and who respect me is so powerful. Thank you, Pam

    1. Hi Pam,
      I apologize for the delay in my response. Thank you for reading and commenting. I'm so glad you found me. 😉 The more worthy we feel in general the less we look to other things (degrees, etc) to make us enough. You are and always have been more than enough. 🙂

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