Anybody who tells you that they’ve never compared themselves to other people is lying. LYING, I tell you! We’ve all been there, whether it’s the beautiful holiday photos, or the excitable new job Facebook status, or your colleague’s amazing opportunity that you feel you deserved more. Comparison effortlessly shows up in our daily life, and social networks give us a non-stop highlight reel that can cause you and your relationships some seriously toxic aggro (and aint nobody got time for that!)
Most of us sensible lot know that comparison is the thief of joy, but when jealousy rears its ugly head it can be so difficult to shake out of that mindset. My lovely friend Lucy experienced this, and it set her on the path to become the UK’s first comparison coach, helping people get out of the compare and despair syndrome that social media breeds.
I’m so happy to welcome her to FGTS today, and I hope you enjoy our interview as much as I did!
How did you end up becoming the UK’s first ‘comparison coach’?
Comparison has followed me round since a young age e.g. wondering why I couldn’t run as fast as other kids in my class or feeling like perhaps my brother got away with more naughtiness than I did (questionable!) and yet a serious bout of comparison following a school reunion plunged me into a dark time that took me a couple of years to work out of. This was a huge opportunity for understanding, learning, reflection and change that saw me transform personally.
Then fast forward a little while and I noticed when I set up my life coaching business a couple of years ago that whenever I blogged or spoke about comparison the feedback would be vocal and overwhelming. It struck me that this message was one that needed a consistent voice and that perhaps I was one to do that to help others in this very specific way. The Comparison Coach was born!
Why is comparing ourselves to others so ingrained in our culture?
We’re benchmarked from the day we’re born when even our weights at birth are compared to other babies… comparison then shows up regularly in school and as we grow up and before we know it we have our own measures and metrics of success and what we need to live up to. If we add the power couple of social media and technology into things it means we have unbridled access to content at which we can compare ourselves – often with upsetting, disconnecting, unhelpful results!
How can you tell if a client is suffering from ‘compare and despair’ syndrome?
Often they’ll know! But if they need a bit of help spotting it there are some telltale signs e.g. They observe and talk about what other people are doing a lot, they browse social media and rather than being interested, amused or bored by what they see played back in their feeds they feel inferior, lacking direction and outright jealous of what they see their peers doing.
They may feel like they’re the only one that doesn’t have this thing called life figured out when they judge themselves against their friends or expectations they once had for themselves. They may feel like success is a zero sum game i.e. if someone gets that promotion at work or bags the partner of their dreams, then that is one less for them and signifies a loss.
How do you help them to break free from the comparison trap?
A big part of my job is snapping people out of it with a huge dollop of non-judgemental, impartial support and helping them walk though the pain and distraction of comparison, to a place of unique insight that they can use to get clear on, and move towards, what they want.
Many people stay in the jealousy space feeling like they have no resources and feeling like they’re stuck. The opposite is true – comparison is here to teach us something and signal we need to realign. When you trust your own intentions and journey it means comparison can’t get a look in because you can acknowledge we’re each individuals and someone else’s formula or time line won’t apply to you.
Comparison is also prevalent in the blogging world as it can be a competitive environment. What advice would you give to bloggers who feel beaten down by their lack of progress compared to their more successful counterparts?
I think it’s really important to recognise that you have to trust the timing of your life and not get hypnotised by the mirage of an overnight success or feeling you’re missing out on a secret formula because there isn’t one!
I hear a lot of this from bloggers that are feeling like they’re not making progress and I know for many it’s a need and want to share their message and connect with others that is influencing that feeling – it can lead to a lot of self doubt.
For this, and forgive me as I’m taking the gloves off here, the good news is also the bad news…
Ultimately, nobody gets to skip the work, you don’t deserve it quicker or better than anyone else, you’re not entitled to have it land in your lap when others have had to commit and show up for their blog and dream consistently over time to create results.
If you’re not willing to do the work you’re not going to get the results – the successful bloggers just make it LOOK easy.
Check in on your vision and vibes and stick to it no matter how strong the temptation to deviate or try and test new things all the time. Consistency, authenticity and relevance is key to your success and your peeps will be looking for that in you and your blog – if you’re a generalist or trying to emulate others you’ll dilute your engagement or cut through – it’s a sneaky form of self sabotage. Just do you, Boo!
How do you cope when a very sudden burst of envy or jealousy rears its head out of the blue?
WOW this has happened a couple of times recently – new level, new devil! When it does happen it is super rare but as equally intense so I need to ride it out quickly and purge those vibes. For me I honour the feeling for a few moments and will voice out loud my nasty thoughts, often to myself in the mirror, I then chant over and over until the feeling passes: “the light in them is the light in me, only love is real, the light in them is the light in me…’ and so on until I run out of puff!
Who or what inspires you the most?
The last few years has seen me experience a huge spiritual awakening, and as I’ve followed this journey and honed my intuition I’ve been increasingly inspired by the world around me – especially the wondrous magic of nature. I’m also inspired by my angels and guides that I’m increasing working with to help me do my best work and give everything I can to help people.
What’s the number one tool you teach that you’d recommend we try?
Get your own plan that is absolutely focussed on what makes you feel good – you’re nobody’s tribute act! Start with a blank piece of paper highlighting all the areas where you compare yourself and then challenge yourself to answer the question ‘so what?’ for each of these and let yourself write out the insight… and then answer ‘which means for me that…’ and there collect what you can actually do, say and change to use that insight to create a life on your now terms.
Happiness for Lucy is…
This is so easy – having a lie in on a Saturday morning – enjoying a huge mug or Earl Grey and cuddling my Golden Retriever, Roe.