by Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Comparison is something I try to be aware of when I'm being self-critical.
I used to be unaware of it and would scroll social media finding out what the world has been up to. I would find myself in a more negative headspace, not really knowing why.
I found myself feeling jealous of others. I've already written about this, so please refer back to my post about jealousy.
I would be wondering how these people I'm watching have time to do all the things they are sharing on their social media, as well as cook, care for their family and earn a living.
I would be comparing my situation to theirs, without knowing what theirs even is. I'd also compare my situation to friends' thinking I DID know how their lives were similar or different to mine. Realisation dawned that I didn't know people as well as I thought. That stung. It felt like people were posting things to hurt me. For example, they would know I was working on a particular skate skill, so would post something of them accomplishing that skill, before me. I hope you can see how toxic my thinking was at this time (when this photo was taken about 8 years ago).
I had to reframe my thinking. I listened to 'The Four Agreements' by Miguel Ruiz, which certainly helped. It's a book, but Spotify have an audiobook version.
The Four Agreements are:
Be Impeccable With Your Word.
Don't Take Anything Personally.
Don't Make Assumptions.
Always Do Your Best.
These are challenging to live by, but I was able to stop worrying quite so much about what people think, by not taking it personally.
The second way comparison has beat me up is through comparing myself with myself. This should be fine, until I start looking at my younger person's body and wonder why my physical appearance has changed! Of course it will change. Ageing is a natural and wonderful process. I am grateful to be here every day, have a body that moves and allows me to interact. I've been following the work of Rachel Peru - she is Yorkshire based and a champion for women in mid-life who are going through peri menopause or simply coming to terms with changes. The work of Sonya Renee Taylor about radical self love also helped me love my body however it looks.
I've set boundaries around when I use social media. I no longer allow myself to scroll first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
Have you found yourself in the comparison trap? What helped you overcome this self-destructive cycle?