Updated: Feb 10, 2019
You’re never going to find your joy in someone else’s life because the only place it lives is in YOURS. When we start looking outside for what we need inside, we’re in trouble. We all do it. We start looking outside when we’re feeling insecure or avoiding our own discomfort. But the thing is, as Brene Brown tells us, we can’t selectively numb. When we numb the pain, we numb the joy. And comparison is no different, we can’t look outside to avoid our discomfort without also avoiding our joy. And that’s just not okay because we are not made to live a joyless life. Hear me Sister, a joyful life is meant for ALL of us…yes, you and me!! Here’s the good news – comparison also has something important to tell us if we’re listening.
The Canary in the cage
Comparison is the like the Canary in the cadge. It’s warning us that we need to pay attention to what’s happening inside. Back in the day before carbon monoxide detectors, the coal miners would take a Canary (bird) down into the mines with them. When the CO2 gases got too high, the Cannery stopped chirping …or maybe it croaked…I’m not sure. But the point is, the Canary was there to let the miners know when they needed to pay attention to their internal world, and to take action to save themselves. Well I’ve learned that comparison is like this too. For me, when those gremlins start chirping it’s because I’m either feeling insecure about something, or I’m ignoring an area of discontent in my own life.
"Comparison has something important to tell us if we’re listening."
For years, I used to be really insecure around my lack of a college education; 95% of my peers had one. Even though I was successful in my job, earned the same salary they did, and got high achieving awards, I still found myself struggling with comparison. I’d look to how my peers were doing to determine how I was doing. That showed up as snarky harsh judgments directed at myself, or too often than I care to admit, it was judgements directed at my co-workers. You know when it stopped….when I finally stopped beating myself up and instead encouraged myself to go back to college.
What comparison wanted to tell me
What I didn’t know then, that I know now…those comparison gremlins were my Canary in the cage. They were telling me the two things that they ALWAYS want to tell us. 1- Pay attention to your insecurities, they need you to feed them love. 2 – Pay attention to the areas of discontent that you’re ignoring in your life, they need you to tell them the truth. In my case it was both. I had to look at my insecurity and give it love. I had to love myself and own my worth regardless of my education level. I had to love my real story…that I had worked my way, rather than educated my way, into my position, and I could choose to be proud of that. I also had to tell myself the truth. And that truth was that I really did want a college education. But I was scared, because I wasn’t sure I could pull it of at this stage in the game.
1- Pay attention to your insecurities, they need you to feed them love. 2 – Pay attention to the areas of discontent that you’re ignoring in your life, they need you to tell them the truth.
What I know for sure…comparison is going to happen for all of us. Because Sister- we all have insecurities, and we all have areas of life we struggle to face. That’s the human condition…it just is. So when we find ourselves comparing, instead of beating ourselves up for it…let’s get curious about it. Ask comparison what information it holds for you. Because it’s trying to tell you to pay attention to what’s in front of you in your own life, and what’s inside of you. It’s showing you where you need to love yourself, and where you need to tell yourself the truth.
The Magic Sauce
Once you start loving yourself and telling yourself the truth...you will find your joy sitting right there in the middle of your own life. Oh, and guess what puts those comparison gremlins to sleep? You guessed it….JOY!! So the more we cultivate our own joy, the less we’ll find ourselves comparing. Now Sister, that’s something to chirp about (cheesy pun intended).
Big Love & More Joy,