Compare and despair. This was an expression I heard recently in my health coaching training with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and it stayed with me. Though comparison is something we all do, I find it’s worst amongst women.
Not long before I heard this, I had written a post on social media about the challenges I faced growing up with female friendships – something I had long attributed to the damaged relationship I used to have with my mom. So many women commented on that post that they too had struggled with the same, leading me to question: why are we so hard on each other as a gender? Is it because we are so hard on ourselves? Is it because we compare?
The truth is that we often compare to reinforce fears and insecurities we have about ourselves and as a bar to assess how well (or not) we think we are doing. It is a form of self sabotage that feeds the stories we create to keep us apart.
So why are we so hard on ourselves and each other? Like comparison, I find that we are hard on ourselves because we tend to approach things from a place of judgement. Perhaps by belittling others we can feel better about ourselves – except that that energy is used in equal measure against ourselves.
What if instead of focusing on the bad so often we focused on the good? What if instead of jealousy we looked at others with inspiration? What if instead of seeing our shortcomings we learned to see our potential? Such a slight mind shift would alter the way we see ourselves and how we see and treat others. The more we work on ourselves the more understanding we become of others as well. We are all facing our own obstacles, wouldn’t they be easier to take on with the support of friends? “Vulnerability” may be a trend right now but it’s a human necessity for connection and understanding. I’ve realised that it helps us find the support we need from likeminded people. Instead of comparing and coming from a place of judgement, if we could be more vulnerable and supportive of one another, there’s really nothing we can’t do.
Be brave enough to share who you are – you never know who that will draw into your life. Be inspired by others and know that we all have unique qualities that make us special and there is room for us all. Let’s have each other’s back and try our best to not be so hard on ourselves. Live with compassion and kindness and there will be no need to despair.