I’ve got a crazy statement to make today.
Comparison actually helps your confidence.
Now I know you are probably thinking I am crazy for even saying this. You may be saying, “but Nikol, you’ve always said comparison actually KILLS my confidence! How can it possibly be helpful? Isn’t this something I am supposed to avoid at all costs??”
So, today I am going to outline how comparison can be a stepping stone to reclaiming your confidence and then share a sweet story as an example.
Let’s begin with what comparison actually is and how that may show up for you. Comparison is when we look at another person and how they look, act, or speak and measure ourselves against what we perceive. You may see someone who looks “perfect” to you, they are wearing a bright vibrant color and you look down self consciously at a drab dark shirt you are wearing. Or someone else may say something really funny and you feel clumsy with your attempts at conversation or making a joke. In your work, especially in front of your audience, you may see someone else who just seems to be at complete ease, and meanwhile you feel like a nervous wreck.
Comparison only exists by including someone or something outside of you. All your focus is on an external object, one you usually deem as being better than you in that moment.
For example, the sun is shining, and you feel dark and gloomy. Everyone around you is laughing, and you really want to curl up in a ball and cry.
In essence, you are viewing an opposite of what is actually alive within you, and in that difference you may think how you feel is wrong. You may even feel you are wrong at your core.
But, it is that actual moment of comparison that is the FIRST step to reclaiming your confidence. How?
View your comparison as a warning sign, a wake up call to tune in. You starting to compare means you are disconnecting from your body and your power. When you notice you are comparing yourself to others, you can first take a moment and say, “hey, I’m noticing I’m comparing myself to that person.”
Then, place your attention inward and ask with compassion and without any judgement, “what am I feeling?”
Now, you have gone from placing all your attention on something outside of you that you can’t control, to coming back to your inner world, where your power actually resides.
It may be when you return to what is actually occurring, you realize you feel sadness, or fear, or perhaps anger. And then you can be with the actual feelings and allow them to MOVE, allow them to process, instead of trying to get rid of them through comparison. A way you can process difficult feelings is to hold your heart and just say, “even though I feel sad, I deeply love and accept myself.” Or you can just say, “I am allowed to feel all I am feeling.”
Because at the end of the day, what heals is love. And in the moment of comparison, you can give this compassion and understanding to yourself when you feel challenged.
This ability to turn back within is what builds your confidence, because you are reclaiming your ability to transform the moment. You are reminding yourself that you are ok just where you are. And you are forming new pathways in the body that are sending signals of safety
In this way, comparison can be the cold breeze that reminds you to wrap a scarf around your neck or grab a warm blanket. Comparison is going to happen, but now you are using it in a way that affirms your life and helps you get back on track. There’s no need to beat yourself up, and instead it can be an ally as you reclaim your confidence. Here’s the sweet story as an example.
This past week I was on a virtual women’s circle and the leader was encouraging us all in these tumultuous times to share what we were actually feeling. She was inviting us to step away from listing out things, going practical or theoretical, and just share what was actually alive right now. And the first woman to speak shared how inspired she feels, that she sees all that is happening as an opportunity. And after her, another woman came on and just started to cry, sharing how her nervous system is a wreck and she’s really struggling right now. Each woman was smiling after sharing, because they were able to just be honest with where they were. They weren’t made wrong or “fixed”. And their beautiful example gave permission to the other women on the call to share what was inspiring them AND how scared and anxious they felt. The circle became a giant permission slip. We were all expressing every color of the rainbow, and at the end, it was an outpouring of gratitude.
We got off the call feeling BETTER, feeling more confident to face our lives, because we had taken that hour to just self connect and check in. I can only imagine some women heard the first woman, and felt, “oh no, I DON’T feel inspired!” but then they were able to take that comparison and for it to open what was actually alive.
I know I did. I just joined this group in August and it was the first time I actually shared in front of the over 100 women on the call. And for me, I actually felt BOTH of the things those first women expressed.
So, allow comparison to be a wake up call for you. Feel the chill, and bring warmth by bringing your focus back within.
Reclaim your confidence and know you are ok.
You are ok exactly where you are, because that is where your power lies.