Coping with shameful feelings of comparison: four strategies to try

Despite having more knowledge, tools and insight than most, life coaches are by no means immune to comparison. In fact, I was scrolling through social media recently when I came across a feed that instantly triggered my comparison critic.

The following on this account is huge, despite being relatively new. The feed is loud, out there, flamboyant… Everything that comes out of their mouth is eloquent, hard-hitting, and fast-paced, with regular posts, blogs and stories being uploaded multiple times a day. By contrast, my social media following is small, and growing slowly. My feed is quiet, rooted in the gentle. I only post blogs when I feel I have something meaningful to say – and even then, it takes me time to research and carefully curate the topic.

This contrast is difficult to swallow. It makes me wonder if my approach will ever gain traction, or if I will need to change my ‘online personality’ entirely to obtain the level of success I desire.

My heart aches to reach more people. To help people in need find their own voice. But how am I to do this when my own voice is lost to a void of social media? My soft, subtle way of sharing and engaging with the world is often drowned out by the loud and ‘out there’; the extroverted and confident feeds that dominate the space.

Despite this feeling of despair, I know that, simply, changing to ‘fit the mould’ is not an option – it will do nothing to serve me or my brand. Despite this other brand being bright, new and flashy, I need to remind myself that’s not my brand. My brand by contrast, is rooted in 30 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge and understanding. It has layers. It has depth. And I know that it’s the quality of my content that will eventually attract more followers.

I do not share ‘in your face’ content, I share ‘in your heart’ content. The type that nudges you to slow down and breathe. Just like my coaching is curated to help you remove yourself from the noise, demands and distractions of daily life. An approach that reconnects you to what matters most, to you.

And so, here I am, taking my breather, and reflecting on four strategies to navigate the uncomfortable emotions that emerge when we compare ourselves to others.

Here they are:

Pause to think – how does this comparison serve me?

Comparison is a natural tendency for humans, but it can steal our joy if not managed properly. Mindfulness about what we are comparing ourselves against can be helpful. For instance, defining our success on our own terms instead of relying on external validation like social media likes. Evaluating our values and what is important to us can help us come up with a different set of metrics to use for our own definition of success. This shift in perspective can free us from the pressure of constantly seeking external validation.

Focus on your own path

When we compare ourselves to others, we often focus on their achievements and successes. However, it’s important to remember that everyone has different goals and values. By focussing on our own path, we can stay true to ourselves and avoid getting caught up in what others are doing.

Practice self-compassion

Comparison often goes hand-in-hand with self-criticism. Practicing self-compassion can help us be kinder and more forgiving towards ourselves; meeting our imperfections with gentleness and offering ourselves the same encouragement and support that we would offer to a good friend.

Express gratitude

Reflect on all that you have achieved and who is walking this path with you. Acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate this. This shift in focus helps you appreciate what and who you do have in your life, instead of focusing on what you don’t have.

In conclusion, comparison brings up challenging emotions that can be hard to navigate, but they don’t have to dictate our actions. By pausing to evaluate its value, shifting our focus to our own unique path, showing kindness to ourselves and expressing gratitude, we can develop resilience to withstand these challenges and find contentment in our own journey.

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