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This post is from 2011 and still very relevant today. I wanted to share this post today, because this week at the Live Happier Loft I am teaching the class Are you Green With Envy? which deals with letting go of the comparison trap and learning how to trust your own internal wisdom. If you want to register–visit the Live Happier Loft.
Let’s say you are struggling to make a life decision–you have been debating it for awhile and you just can’t figure it out. So you decide you need to do some research, figure out the best way, the right answer, see what other people are doing. You get on the internet, or you ask those around you, “Have you ever experienced _____ ?” or “What would you do if you were me?” And before you know it you are inundated with advice, insight, information. Your head starts spinning, you’ve lost all perspective on what YOU want, and you find yourself stuck, no closer to a decision and more confused with what is the right path.
I confess I am guilty of the above, looking outside of myself for the RIGHT way, comparing myself to other’s to see if I am ok or if I am ‘normal.’ To some extent this is human, we all want to fit in, we need other people to help us, we need the guidance of people who have been there before or know us well. And to some extent, this iself-sabotagege. When comparing ourselves to other people, or looking to others for advice makes us feel bad about ourselves, incompetent, insecure or feeling like we are doing it ‘wrong’ then we have crossed into the danger zone of comparison. There is always someone out there who is doing it different, better, smoother, easier, and with more finesse. But there is only one YOU…there is only one person who has your unique set of needs, skills, life circumstances, gifts and challenges. So yes, we can go out into the world to see what others have done or are doing, but we always need to bring that information in and check it with our own unique situation.
Too often I get on-line to see what other coaches and counselors are doing, or I look at my friends to see the ‘proper’ way to handle a certain situation. I know when I am doing this too much I lose sight of what I want, of what makes me passionate about my business or what makes me unique in how I handle situations. The point is there is no right. Yes, it is always helpful to seek advice, gather information from those that have gone before us, but when that information gathering starts chipping away at your self esteem or drilling down your dreams then it is time to stop and ask yourself–why am I needing more advice? What is it I am really needing here?
Frequently we are needing a little support, a little compassion, a little gut check to remind us of who we are and what we value. So the next time you catch yourself looking for advice or input…make sure input is what you need and you aren’t getting too caught up in Comparison Danger. Because honestly all comparing does is keeps us from moving forward towards a happier life.