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This is Part II of a Meditation on Comparison
At the risk of sounding like every other self-help article, I will plainly detail a few things that can help you if you find yourself in the grip of comparison.
These suggestions come from experience.
Number I: Return to the present moment.
Being caught in a mental cycle of comparison takes us immediately outside of what’s right in front of us and places us smack dab in the middle of our regrets, negative projections, and fear. None of these illusions are happening RIGHT NOW.
So, in shifting into the present moment, we are able to tap back into the reality of ourselves, which is that we are endless and imperfectly perfect.
Energy cannot be destroyed, it can only be transformed. And therefore, any hangups we have about our mortal need to perform, accumulate, excel, or acquire are all made meaningless in the face of our actual, timeless brilliance.
In order to get back to that space, my suggestion is that you take yourself to a place where you can calmly and quietly breath. Deep three-part breathing is great for this.
Super Simple 3-Part Breath Exercise:
Lie down and get comfy. Start breathing from the very bottom of your belly, moving upwards to your mid-chest, and ending at your upper chest. Feel your lungs completely expand to their max capacity. Repeat.
Your breath is part of the ecosystem of every living thing, and it’s the quickest way to tap into something which is larger than your insecurities,
Number II: Commit an extremely simple act of self-love.
Self-care is self-love in action. You don’t need to feel like you love yourself in order to practice self-care; if you reject yourself constantly, self-care is what will, over time, build your self-love muscles.
Simple self-care actions can include…
Drinking a glass of water, slowly, feeling how perfect your body integrates it and applies it to where you need it most.
Taking a nap in a place where you feel safe and comfortable.
Sitting with a plant for five minutes and watching the breeze weave through its leaves.
Writing a quick note of gratitude to someone who has helped you, even if it’s very small.
Taking a shower at a temperature that relaxes you and makes you feel cared for.
Number IV: Take a break from your triggers.
My trigger for a long time was facebook, and so, I quit. Yours might be a netflix show filled with characters who make your life feel boring or meaningless. Or a magazine that makes you feel broke and ugly. Try to stay aware of when your trigger pops up—and if possible, take a break from it.
Number III: Unabashed self-appreciation.
There are some who claim that comparison is a distinguisher—that it helps us discover what we truly want by creating the uncomfortable feelings of jealousy, envy, self-hatred.
For example, if you’re jealous of someone because they are thin, it’s an indicator to start working on loving your own body and/or setting goals that will help you achieve your ideal body goals. For some this might work; they might be able to flip the feelings of comparison into a backdoor method to discovering what they subconsciously want and need to work on.
But, in the very beginning stages of chronic or compulsive comparison, it can feel impossible to switch tracks in your mind and suddenly feel inspired as opposed to shitty. Plus, this way of thinking can keep us stuck in the paradigm of “when I achieve/have/acquire X I will attain peace and presence.”
It is my experience that with practice, you can access peace and presence, right now.
Which is why I suggest writing at least 20 things down that you appreciate about yourself as another step towards releasing the grip of comparison. These steps are the beginning of cultivating a deeper, more grounded sense of your own power to self-soothe and cease the spiral of comparison.
In fact, this year I caught what I’ve nicknamed the “birthday blues.” The birthday blues make me feel small, insignificant, and powerless. They usually revolve around negative thought patterns that tell me I haven’t done enough or achieved enough. This year it was extremely helpful to write down 20 things that I’ve accomplished in the last year to help get me back to “right-sized” thinking. Some of the items on the list were (seemingly) small, like making a new friend who cares about me and swimming at least 2X/week. Another was rather large – buying a house. Remembering these things was important—not to pat myself on the back, but to snap myself back into reality.
To quote Shakespeare: “nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as a change in perception, and several Western esoteric traditions identify magic as “a change of consciousness at will.” So by engaging in the above practices, you might find that the shift is simple and yet, miraculous.
Obviously, there are many more ways to shake out of the grip of comparison, but these can be immensely helpful when you’re just starting out on this journey of returning to your true self.