The Ultimate Buzz Kill
Comparison is the thief of joy. — Theodore Roosevelt
How well do you know your Voice of Comparison? Are you on a first name basis with her?
If not, allow me to introduce you…
Your Voice of Comparison (Ms. VoC I’ll call her for the sake of this post) hangs out in the shadows, looking for ways to tell you how you stack up against others. She engages in a destructive competition that privately exists in your mind.
When you size up the mom at daycare during afternoon pickup and decide that she has it more together than you. That’s the work of Ms. VoC.
She also shows up when you’re mindlessly scrolling through Facebook after a crappy day, and you’re feeling down. You see a couple posts with pictures of your friends that tell a story of how extraordinarily happy they appear, and you conclude that your life sucks. You even wonder, “what’s wrong with me that I can’t be happy like Suzie Q?” This is the mindplay of Ms. VoC!
Ms. VoC is also busy at work when you create stories about how you’re better than that mom down the block because you…(fill in the blank) breastfeed, had a childbirth with no medical intervention, make more money, stay home full-time, work outside the home, buy organic food, etc.
When we’re feeling crummy about ourselves, our comparison mind goes into overdrive.
Think about it, we tend to do far less Facebook comparing after a kickass good day, or when we’re in a positive mind space, right? We may even appreciate those happier posts, and seek out the goodness in others.
And when we get caught up in trying to prove to ourselves how we’re better than the mom who chose to bottle feed, it’s because we’re grasping after validation to make us feel good.
Ms. VoC detracts us from experiencing genuine joy and happiness, because she is more concerned with the endless pursuit of perfection.
We get caught up in the belief that if we look like the perfect mom on the outside, then all is well. Or, at least all will appear well.
It can take some time to become aware of Ms. VoC, because, for many, her voice has been chiming in for years. But your awareness can stop her in her tracks, and help you reclaim some much-deserved peace and joy.
Preparing For the Ambush
Your first safeguard against Ms. VoC’s destruction is knowing when she shows up. She’s essentially out to kill your buzz!
Try to be aware of how you’re feeling when you notice your thoughts turn to comparing or judging yourself and others. If you’re already experiencing disappointment, hurt, or sadness, understand too that these feelings may trigger you to get caught up in making comparisons.
Shine the light on what you’re feeling and allow it to be present, rather than getting caught on the train with Ms. VoC, which really only makes you feel worse.
One of the most powerful tools for releasing Ms. VoC’s grip is to trust that you are doing the best you can. Embrace the mantra: “I am doing the best I can!”
There are at least a million ways to be a great mother, and not one of them hinges on breastfeeding or any of the other hot-button issues. Great mothers know that they are worthy of love and belonging, and as a result they raise children who know they are worthy of the same things. Shaming other mothers is not one of the millions ways to be a great mom. — Brené Brown in Rising Strong
And when you wholeheartedly trust that you’re doing the best you can, you tend to judge and criticize yourself less. You’re not chasing perfection, but you are accepting that your choices and actions are a true reflection of your best.
Knowing your Voice of Comparison on a first-name basis is better than pretending like she doesn’t exist, or ignoring her altogether. I even invite you to say “Howdy, girl!” the next time Ms. VoC shows up. And then, you can call her bluff by using your awareness. After all, your happiness IS worth defending.
If you are in need of non-judgmental and compassionate support in liberating yourself from faulty thinking patterns and beliefs, contact me for a private consultation.