Meditating My Way Out of Comparison

Using mindful thinking to stop the cycle of negative feedback

Jenna Goldsmith

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People compare themselves to each other. I don’t know if it’s an evolutionary thing or something we’ve conditioned ourselves to do over the course of thousands of years. But, it’s something we do.

It’s not inherently a bad thing, as it helps us learn where we need to improve ourselves. If we see Bob building a better fire than us to cook his meal, then it makes sense we’d want to try to be more like Bob. It enables growth and an understanding of where we’ve come from and where we’d like to go.

But it’s a double-edged sword, and it’s easy to fall into the loop of discouraging yourself: “I’ll never be as good at that,” “I’ll never be able to do that,” etc., etc. If you can break yourself out of the cycle of discouragement and see it as another avenue of determination (ie, “How do I get to their level?”) then you can turn the sword on its head.

This negative loop is powerful though, and it’s been used against us in many ways.

For example, women face this every day as this comparison cycle is used as a way to market products of all shapes and sizes-without them, obviously, we will never be as attractive or successful or anything.

This negative loop, though, gets me every time and I have yet to find a way to break out of it while it’s happening. And, honestly, I’m tired of it.

Recently, I went through a short but intense period of imposter syndrome. My fellow writers will know the term as it’s a widely talked about phenomenon.

If you don’t know, it’s the feeling of being an imposter and not believing that you are qualified or have the skills to be where you are. You spend your time waiting for someone to call you out as the phony you feel you are.

The feeling can apply to anything.

But, I was feeling particularly bad about my writing career and the fact that I seemed to be surrounded by amazingly talented people, all of whom seemed to have books coming out this year or next. Instead of feeling inspired and happy that I was amongst great talent, I got into the comparison cycle of doom.

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