“Suzy is so attractive.” My mother would remark.
She would then offer helpful suggestions as to how I could be more like poised and perfect Suzy, which we both knew was impossible. I was a late bloomer who wore a superfluous training bra until the age of 19.
But that didn’t stop me from trying to be like Suzy.
I went on diets featuring grapefruit and popcorn. I tried to get a tan using sun reflectors – which is why I am on a first name basis with my dermatologist. I even took a Dale Carnegie course to help me “win friends and influence people.”
I also became a comparison junkie.
My current Suzy’s include those who pray out loud more eloquently than I (even though I know God doesn’t care about such matters), those who have a better backhand, those who are more extroverted, better read, friendlier, funnier, braver, better at Suduko. Etc etc.
Such wasted energy! It’s time to get my mother’s voice out of my head. I will never be Suzy and nor should I be.
Psychology Today offers some helpful suggestions to help us drop the comparison habit.
-Know what our triggers are and avoid them. For instance, we may choose not to read People magazine or watch Entertainment Tonight, or gaze at Facebook’s vacation photos.
-Remind ourselves that what we see on the outside may not match what is really happening in people’s lives. All of us like to project images suitable for social media.
-Use the comparison trap as motivation to improve on what is truly important. Do we want to be as kind as Marguerite? As generous as Donna? As humble as Brett? Look for those who are honest, fun, giving and emulate the qualities we admire.
The author, Dr. Susan Biali Haas, ends the article with this —
“Imagine if you could elevate the comparison game to a useful art form. Stop falling prey to its dark underbelly, which does little more than increase feelings of misery and lack in your life. Use comparison, instead, to become a better person and maybe even make your little corner of the world a better place. ”
Great advice, I’d say. For ALL we have is our little corner. And the responsibility to make it better — one constructive comparison at a time. I may not be as attractive as that Suzy, but I can work on being more generous, kind, and loving. To try to be better today than I was yesterday. The only comparison that matters.
Today’s Takeaway –
-Limit your scrolling through social media, especially if it tends to trigger that comparison junkie in you.
-Take a walk instead. Make a gratitude list. Tidy up your corner.
And enjoy the ride!
Barclay and Joy