How do you get past comparing?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2011
How do you get past comparing?
Wed, 02-01-2012 - 3:28pm

I was reading the Brene Brown article that Kim posted, and one of the things that stuck out was the dangers of comparing.

Community Leader
Registered: 05-23-2003
Wed, 02-01-2012 - 4:54pm

I see the common theme in your comparisons is "coming up short". I think that is probably the place to start, right there. :)

Actual actions...well, getting comfortable with myself. Liking myself. Getting to be secure with who I am. Accepting myself. I think that for me, once those things started to happen, I found that I didn't do as much comparing.

And, figuring out what was at the root of the comparing - which nine times out of ten, turned out to be my old friend, insecurity. And I think that almost 100% of the time, that insecurity was a lie, anyway. It was the "not enough" voice whispering to me - but it wasn't really based in reality, once I started really looking at it.

If someone likes someone else better than they like me - then I can take that personally. I can take that as some sort of final word on my likeability in general, and live my life from that head space. Or, I can decide that well, they're allowed to have a preference, that maybe it doesn't really have anything to do with me - but is only about them - and not take it personally, or as any kind of final word on who I am.

I think I had to settle in to the idea that it's okay to be enough in my own mind, and that I am the one who can best define what that "enough" really is. Letting other people define whether or not I am enough...well, I've done that before, and funny, even when they said I was, I was never able to truly believe it. So it was a losing battle, from the start.

Does that make sense at all?

I don't know, Lu. I think maybe you have to get a little selfish, to start with. I think that maybe you have to try to develop a little 'tude about it. Like a "so what?!" kind of thing, said in your most belligerent, combative tone.

Where is the "not enough" voice originating from, anyway? That one is coming from you...not from anyone else, right?

Oh. And I talked to that "not enough" inner voice, too. Out loud. And used bad words at it, too. Um, yeah. I'm the weirdo that you see driving in her car, all alone, yelling at no one.

And I said the inner voice things out loud - so that I could really hear how stupid they sounded. And how wrong they really were. They were all things that I could never, ever even DREAM of saying to another human being - so...why was it okay to say them to myself?

I don't know, Lu...have you ever tried saying those things out loud? Just to hear how they really sound?




iVillage Member
Registered: 04-28-2010
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 12:43pm

Hi Lulu,

I don't think you can really compare any of those things, it is like apples and oranges. You didn't come up short, you are good enough, it's just that the A wasn't enough for your xAP. xAP wasn't rejecting you, but the relationship you had. It wasn't enough and so xAP made a choice to end it. The only way you come up short when comparing yourself to xAP's current girlfriend is the fact that you are M and new GF is not, so she is available to be in an R with your xAP. You did not have the freedom to have a real R with your xAP because you were M. Who knows what their R is like, yes in the begining we all know it is fun and exciting, but who knows if they have what it takes to make it last like you and H do. You are a wonderful, warm, loving person and more than good enough. It was the situation, the A, not you, that wasn ot good enough for your xAP.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-24-2011
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 4:59pm
I find it helps to think about whether I "could" have had that other persons life and if so would I really have wanted it. Like you "could" have left your H to be with xAP and then you would be going on nice vacations with her - but is that really what you wanted? To be away from your family and with someone who plunges from one relationship to the next? Or I "could" have married a rich alpha male like my xAP and been a stay-at-home lady of luxury with horses and a huge fancy house and $1000 a week of "spoil yourself honey" money. But is that what I really wanted? No, I'm actually much happier doing a job I love, earning my own money, and being M to a man who is less rich and less charismatic than xAP but a thousand times kinder and more loyal. I did feel jealous of xAP's life at times but when it comes down to it, I would rather have my life than hers.

I'm not sure if that helps at all?


Kat xx
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2011
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 8:09pm
Kim, You are totally right that the "not enough" voice is my own. No one else's. Self acceptance is a long journey, but I am getting slightly better as time goes on. I found that trying to tell myself positive things that seemed more aspirational than actual wasn't helpful to me. So I've started to remind myself of more doable positives instead. I will say to myself, "I am peaceful and kind.". That is something I can buy into. I haven't said any of the bad stuff outloud because I know it would sound ridiculous. That's the point, I know. :) Thanks sweets, Lu
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2011
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 8:21pm
Hi jersey. Thanks for the kind words about the rejection.piece of things. It seems I can never hear them enough. But what your post made me realize for the first time maybe is that this really isn't about the ending with xap as such or even about xap's gf. It is about (at least partly) wanting to win. You know how they say happiness is the best revenge? It's like that but I don't just want to be happy. I want to be happiER than xap. That's not very "peaceful and kind" of me now is it? I'm really going to have to think about this more. Xx, Lu
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2011
Thu, 02-02-2012 - 8:29pm
Kat, That is great advice and you hit the nail on the head. I don't really want their life and God knows xap wouldn't want mine. This strategy is applicable in a lot of settings where I find myself comparing... the moms who volunteer more at school, the coworker who gets all the accolades, etc. Thanks Kat. That really does help. Hugs, Lu
Community Leader
Registered: 05-23-2003
Fri, 02-03-2012 - 6:39pm
Oh yes - aspirational rather than actual, yep, yep, yep. Figuring out what is doable is excellent, because then you can have a real way to measure your progress.

Plus, a lot of the aspirational stuff can just be yet another way to beat yourself up, if you don't end up making it up that mountain. And the last thing we need is for you to have anything else to whack yourself with. :)

I still think you should say the bad stuff out loud, though. Because yes, it does sound ridiculous - but if you say it out loud, it will give you a chance to counter all of it out loud too. You know? And maybe sometimes, we need to say the good things out loud, to remind ourselves.

Yes, Lu. I am totally telling you that I would like it if you start talking to yourself. Arguing with yourself. Point, counterpoint, all at top volume, with bad words, and rude hand gestures. It's time to get tough on that stupid, negative voice, to get mean with it, and to show it that you are not going to take it anymore. That voice is STUPID - and you should tell it that.

Are you with me?




iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2011
Sat, 02-04-2012 - 12:40pm

Amazing thread. I am walking in your shoes feeling a lot of what you have been expressing. And Kim, wonderful replies! It has really helped me how you wrote about people having a preference and trying not to take things personally.

Lulu - my xap ended things and it takes a lot of energy dealing with that. I also have to deal with him choosing to chat with my BFF at work and it triggers all the insecurities in the way Kim describes and me feeling like I am the least preferred.

The questions you pose are always so insightful. Love seeing them. I'm going to be talking out loud and very loudly to my inner voice today!

Much love to you

Yellow xx

"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves." ~Henry David Thoreau~