5 Ways to Beat the Comparison Trap

Comments (0)


Picture this scene: You re-arrange your work schedule to attend a party in your child's classroom. You happily hug your child hello as you arrive. Then you notice a table laden with adorable ceramic dalmations, hand-painted, personalized and beribboned for each child in the class by one child's stay-at-home mother.

Now try another: Your alumni magazine features the stunning accomplishments of one of your former classmates. Unlike you, she has not let motherhood slow her professional advancement one bit. Her children, smiling beside her in the magazine photo, seem to be turning out fine.

If you're not prepared, either scene could drag you into "the comparison trap."

Maybe you've been there -- times when you compared yourself with someone else and experienced unpleasant results.

IT'S A NO-WIN.

Comparisons just don't work. For one thing, they're a greased slope into a pit of envy, resentment or guilt. More fundamentally, comparisons fail to honor each individual's unique path in life.

FORTUNATELY, YOU DON'T HAVE TO FALL IN!

Here are five ways to beat the comparison trap.

TIP 1: GIVE YOURSELF MORE CREDIT.

Your thoughtful, loving choices to create the right balance for your family is a splendid achievement. It takes heart, intelligence, imagination, resourcefulness and strength.

So, try this tip for building immunity to comparisons: Look inside, and give yourself credit for the fine personal qualities you bring to living life your way. You might even mark times on your calendar to pause regularly and give yourself credit for all you are.

TIP 2: COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.

Here's another comparison immunity-builder: Direct your attention to all that is happening in your life that you would like to keep happening. Make a list, including the benefits of doing paid work and raising a family at the same time. You might enjoy having your family help make your list longer.

As an alternative, keep a daily journal of the blessings you experience.

Whichever way you count your blessings, you'll gain perspective and be better able to resist making comparisons when you see how others are blessed.

Tips 3, 4 and 5 can be used in the moment when you begin to compare yourself with someone else.

TIP 3. EXHALE.

It's amazing how a timely exhale can create space for serenity and perspective.

Start by bringing your attention to your breathing, at your belly. Don't try to manipulate your breath. Just notice it, following the in-breath and the out-breath through several cycles. Then, on an out-breath, let the thoughts of comparison leave your body.

Once you've blown the comparison away, you might ask yourself, "Is this where I want to put my energy today?"

TIP 4. ACKNOWLEDGE LOSSES.

When you find yourself making a comparison, notice whether the other person's success is reminding you of a hope or dream you have set aside. If so, be kind to yourself, and take the time to recognized your loss.

TIP 5. SHIFT INTO GRATITUDE.

Try this tip now. Sit back comfortably. Think back to a time when you were feeling the pull of the comparison trap. Now, try shifting to a perspective of gratitude. Once you make the shift, notice how you feel.

Gratitude is tremendous empowering. Shifting easily into gratitude may take a few tries, but it's a skill well worth cultivating.

YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR CAREER ARE UNIQUE. As you learn to focus more and more on your own life with calm, loving attention, you can leave the comparison trap far behind.

(c) 2004 Norma Schmidt, Coach, LLC

About the Author

Norma Schmidt, Coach, LLC, specializes in helping women who are both professionals and parents to create balance. She draws on her experience as a parent, pastor, cancer center chaplain and writer. She edits "The Balance Point," a free bi-weekly e-zine, and offers free sample coaching sessions. Visit http://www.NormaSchmidt.com.

Comments

This article hasn't been commented yet.

Write a comment

* = required field

:

:

:

:


* Yes No