How to beat comparing yourself to others
In 2011 I went through what I call a ‘break-open’. Up until then I was doing really well. I was working as a business consultant, acting as the third eye for companies, NGOs and government offices who are running community based projects. I was doing good in the world and I was making a good living with my own method of Mindfulness-based consultancy.
But, like in a good fairy tale, one day my whole world turned upside down. I felt I couldn’t go on with my career. I felt that there was more to my life path and I need to finally pick up my life-long flirtation with spirituality and take that journey all the way through. I didn’t know where it would lead me, and I was afraid to let go of everything I’d built, and for what? For an exploration?! I don’t like the word ‘awakening’. It’s too charged and stereotyped. But it was a waking up through breaking some kind of a shell and entering a greater reality that was calling to me. I felt I had no choice.
A few years later, I was in the transformational field ready and available to serve people, and lead them to living without fear and in their fullest expression. Entering that field I also discovered so many people who are doing such a great work in the world. So many people who “made it big”; so many who seem to have a large audience and love their transformational work; so many who...
...who seem to have so much to say and give - and who am I, a new little fish in a big pond, to make any difference, to bring anything new, to add something interesting to all of the abundance that was already out there way before my time?
I started comparing myself to all these spiritual celebrities. I started picking on what I don’t have compared to them. I even got jealous. And it put me down. The more I learned about another great persona doing great things the more I felt down and not enough.
I was afraid of these feelings of jealousy and comparison. I felt like I’ve lost all my spiritual practice, that I’ve gone astray. That for sure didn’t add to my confidence. And it didn’t help to think “positively”. It didn’t help to look at everything else I’ve accomplished in my life. It didn’t help to look in the mirror and tell myself how great I am. I did try a lot of tricks, and fished for any lifebelt I could find to save myself from drowning in all the negative feelings comparison brought into my life.
One day I had an idea. I decided to sit with a video of one of those favourite successful transformational gurus and simply watch the talk he gave. But while I watched, I made a point of being very aware of what it is exactly that I was jealous of. What was it exactly that I compared myself to. I looked with an inner magnifying glass for the things in the other person that made my heart both sing and squirm at the same time.
What you are hungry for
Is what you are capable of
Looking deeper into the various mind-states we will always find a valuable guidance and information for our personal growth and freedom. True, it’s not always easy to know how to look beyond.
There are a few levels to comparison. Please follow me with this metaphor to explore them.
Let’s say I’m a tree trunk and you’re a bamboo. I look at you and I say, “oh, why am I a trunk and not a bamboo?!” “Everybody loves bamboo, why can’t I be a bamboo?” “I’m so rough and not beautiful enough. I wish I could just be a bamboo, everyone just loves bamboos.”
Now let’s say I’m still a tree trunk and you’re still a bamboo. But now I say “I wish I could be flexible like a bamboo. To be able to move with the winds and dance with the changes,” and “I wish I could be high and tall and proud like a bamboo. I would rise to my own growth with joy and elegance.”
I think the difference is pretty clear right?! When you look at someone else’s work or appearance there’s just a general comparison to what you perceive they have and you don’t. But when you break it down and point yourself to the qualities that others might have, that you see they present in their presence or work, you are able to know what it is exactly that your heart was awakened to.
You might compare yourself to many other people, but no. Only these particular ones attracted your attention and for a very specific reason. Find that reason. Plunge into that quality and start looking for that quality in yourself.
Your life goes in the direction of your attention. Following the qualities that we want to embody in our lives will allow our lives to find and express these qualities from within.
We are born with a mind that has different states, and each state holds a treasure for us. We are born with a heart that is fine-tuned to the gleam of those treasures. You are born with everything you need to shine in whatever way you want to shine.