Tools and Topics Tuesday: Kill the Comparison Monster!

I recently read a blog post called “The Comparison Monster,” a demon I believe many of us fight on a daily basis. 
The author of the post (who is my new blogger and Facebook friend 🙂  said, “I just read some other women’s blogs and felt my heart growing two sizes too small.The Comparison Monster sprung to action and I need to shut it up. I am envious of women who have started their own jewelry businesses, photography sites, and other assorted entrepreneurial gigs of bravery…”
So honest, so real… and so brave in itself.
She went on to quote, “Comparison is the thief of happiness.” 
This statement rings true for me and many of the women I know. We are constantly comparing ourselves as mothers, wives, friends, teachers…you name it. 
Whose Christmas card is better, whose house is cleaner, whose furniture is nicer, whose clothes are cuter, whose problems are bigger, whose life is easier/harder/happier?
We may not say it out loud but I know we feel it.
And, the more we compare, the more inadequate and shamed we feel. I read tonight in Brené Brown’s I thought it Was Me (but it isn’t) that shame leads to a feeling of powerlessness, which often leads to acting out in ways we are not proud of.

“Shame often produces overwhelming and painful feelings of confusion, fear, anger, judgement and/or the need to escape or hide from the situation…we are often thrown into crisis mode…we find ourselves becoming aggressive, wanting to run and hide or feeling paralyzed…I often act out in ways that are inconsistent of who I want to be.”

I would love to kill the comparison monster, let go of the shame.

The more I read and write about it, the more I hope to overcome shame and avoid getting trapped in the shame web. In I thought it Was Me (but it isn’t) Brown says we are all capable of developing shame resilience…that ability to recognize shame when we experience it, and move through it in a constructive way that allows us to maintain our authenticity and grow from our experiences.”

For this week’s Tools and Topics, I’d like to offer a few questions for you to ponder in your journal to help build your own shame resilience and kill your own comparison monster.

1. When do you feel the “comparison monster” take over? What do you notice about yourself? Are your actions inconsistent of who you want to be?
2. How is comparison sometimes the thief of your happiness? How can letting go of your comparisons return your happiness?
3.What feelings resonate with you when you hear the word shame? What is your own definition of shame?

4. Do you agree that shame is the voice of perfectionism? From, I thought it Was Me (but it isn’t), “Whether you’re talking about appearance, work, motherhood, health or family, it’s not the quest for perfection that is so painful; it’s failing to meet the unattainable expectations that lead to the painful wash of shame.” How can connecting with others by sharing your own experiences help you to overcome these feelings of inadequacy?

5. In “The Comparison Monster” the author ends by saying, “I looked to see my husband with my daughter’s head in his lap, my cat coming to join the fun. Dog is cuddled up at my feet. The Christmas lights are twinkling behind them. This is what I really need: my deepest loves, this moment, right now. This is my life. Heart just grew back to the right size, maybe a little larger. I’m going to get off the computer now and start seeing what is right in front of me, comparison completely and utterly meaningless. Nothing could feel truer right now.”

How can you replace your comparisons with what is true right now…what you really need…your deepest loves?

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