Relationships 101: Comparisons and Overcoming negativity

Lessons from a short-lived comparison binge 

Before it used to be a comparison spiral that had the potential to rumble on for weeks or even months because the way in which I responded to the conclusions I drew based on those comparisons, would have a knock-on effect on the subsequent choices and actions I undertook, which would have even more consequences.

I had to reassure and remind me of who I really am, which is a lot more than what I’m not.

There are times in your life when something or someone will activate a younger, insecure version of yourself, that if you don’t catch it before it takes over and has you treating the way you feel as if it’s a fact and a permanent statement of your future, it will distort reality, including your self-image.

**Of course when you reflect on this, you will realise that the way that you were thinking and feeling was comparable with a particular period of your life or certain types of situation.

**Sometimes she would express her ideas, hopes, and feelings, but then she’d become afraid of being shot down or even worse, that she would not be able to live up to people’s expectations, so she’d squash these too. If what she said or did wasn’t perfect or was met without the response she expected, she felt deeply wounded. She responded to fear of rejection and actual rejection very similarly, which caused a great deal of anxiety.

**…as is the case with comparison, I felt that way because in comparing myself, I made a judgement that person which was really a projection of my insecurities in that moment, and then judged me. That wasn’t fair to either of us.I felt inadequate but I’m not an inadequate person.

I kept dragging myself away from the comparing thoughts. Each time I stopped being truly present and my mind drifted, my inner critic popped up.

It’s important to acknowledge when you feel afraid or inadequate and then reassure you.

****an all-important lesson that I’ve learned about feelings, is that they pass and they change. Sometimes we freeze-frame our feelings and so for instance, because we felt a particular way at 10.09 am, we talk and act as if this is exactly the feeling that we’ve had all day. Of course if we focus on it and overfeed the worry, comparison, berating and any other negative ‘fish‘, then we can certainly prolong the feeling, but if we acknowledge the presence of that feeling and allow it to pass, we also notice that there are other feelings present, as well as little something known as reality.****

Comparison also changes when reality and self-compassion kick in.**

Same for people who ask why you’re single or why you’re not something, as if you have two horns on your head or have some ‘problem’ that must be causing it that could provide a suitable explanation.We convince ourselves that everyone will be looking at us, judging us. We forget that we’re the one making the big judgement.

****We have an idea or make something and then we show up and hear what someone else has to say or see what they’ve made, and we write off our own contribution. We work really hard at something and achieve success but because it’s not been given the seal of approval by someone whose validation we want or because we didn’t achieve it in the traditional way, we don’t value it. We take how we feel right now and determine that it’s how we feel all of the time and that it’s how we’re always going to feel.

We take a snapshot of our life at this moment and hold it up for inspection to see how many elements of other people’s lives it features and so end up not actually looking at and appreciating the detail of our lives.

Sometimes what we really need to ask is whether we’ve done the same things that they have or even whether what they have is truly what we want. Envy can be the shake we need to step up and take action.

Losing perspective for a time can be helpful though, in the sense that in recognising that we’ve gone off track, we can reclaim ourselves and remind us of who we are and what really matters.Our inner critics think that they’re helping us out. Mine popped up today because it thinks that it’s protecting me from failing or looking stupid. I had to remind my thirteen-year old and current self that I made it, it’s OK, I’m OK, and that I can handle this.

Take care of you. 

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