I think comparison should be the 8th of the deadly sins. It’s one of the most toxic things we can do yet we do it all the time, especially with the rise of social media. There’s such a fine line between following people we love because they inspire us to live a bigger and fuller life to also comparing ourselves to them, which can lead to feelings of “I’m not good enough, I’m not doing enough….” and so on.
As Benshen has grown over the years, I’ve become exposed to some of the most successful influencers across various industries who have inspired me to want to live a bigger life, one beyond anything I could image. And at the same time, I’ve also started dating men who have higher levels of success than I have ever seen, with gorgeous, massive apartments and jet-setting lifestyle to boot. I’ll never forget the time I was dating one guy in particular who used to run one of my favorite magazines. The first time we went back to his place, smack in the middle of the hottest streets in the LES, the elevator doors opened to his apartment. We both took off our shoes and I looked down I saw his were ACNE and mine Steve Madden. Let alone the fact that the apartment jaw dropping, I never dated a guy who had nicer shoes than I.
I wanted more growth, more success, more traveling, more money. I, from a distance, saw how others were living their lives and I could see and feel like I could live a big life too but could never quite get there. It was like there was a glass wall between me and my success.
It took me a very long time to realize and accept that the glass wall was put up by yours truly. As I continued to compare myself to others, the wall got thicker and thicker, and I felt more and more stuck, guilty, and ashamed of my life,
Especially lately as I feel myself getting clearer and clearer of what I want my brand and my life to look like, I’ve had to learn how to manage my urge to compare myself to others in a way that leaves me steady on the path to feeling the best version of me possible. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things on how to stop letting comparison f*ck up life and what to do about it when it starts to creep up.
CLARITY | One of the most important things for me was to really get clear on what I want, not what I think I want or how I think I should live my life. I always said to myself and to my friends, “If I could write the way I wanted to write I would be so successful and it would be EASY.” I said this for years and never wrote the way I wrote because I was comparing myself to others in the industry, worried what people might think if I wrote authentically and honestly rather than sprinkling fairy dust on every topic and topping it off with a green juice. The big hit came when I recently ended things with someone I really liked and it hurt like hell. That rock bottom sent me sky rocketing towards clarity: I wanted to write about dating, about insecurities and how to deal with them, about how to feel beautiful, about how to increase self-worth, and all the other topics that go along with being a single woman living in a big city in 2018. These are all topics that I talk about on end with friends, loving every minute of laughing and/or crying over the stories and our challenges in our careers, conversing about modern dating and how to feel like an empowered woman, but I never wrote about it. After that relationship dissolved it hit me like a truck that that was what I needed to be writing about and to stop dancing around it. Once I had that immense clarity I felt a newfound sense of power because I knew what I wanted vs. what I thought I should do.
RESPECT THE TIMELINE | One of the biggest things that’s missing from Instagram is a timeline. Take Taryn Toomey for example. She has mega blown up in the last year and for damn good reason (my god, have you ever taken The Class?). So it’s easy for many to look at her level of success and say, “Wow, she’s killing it. Why am I not at her level?.” What I adored was a Instagram post the TT team shared a while back about how they spent a long time carrying the yoga mats themselves up and down many flights of stairs to make The Class happen. Now, they have the most beautiful studio in TriBeCa (yoga mats included). It was such a reminder that any dream takes work. It takes time. It takes blood, sweat, and tears. Other people’s success, the success we see in the present moment, could have taken them YEARS to get to. Whenever I find myself comparing myself to someone else’s success I take a second to look back and see how far I have come rather than looking outward to see where they are at. I look at what I have accomplished, who I have met, what I have done, how many goals I’ve surpassed. If we keep looking forward we’ll never have that gratitude and appreciation of how much we have already done, which makes life feel like a never ending rat race.
SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX | A few months ago, one of my Kundalini Yoga teachers Guru Jagat advised me to do a month off of social media and it was one of the best things I have ever done. I continued to post to Benshen and share content but I stopped looking at other peoples feeds because I was subconsciously copying their work. It also reconnected me with my own creativity and how I wanted to show up in the world. Once I stopped looking at how other people were doing things to get to their success I could start feeling what my own success would look like. This is so important because it get us out of the comparison cycle so quickly and we can begin to actually live our lives rather than trying to live someone else’s life. I remember when I took a break I was able to stop and say, “Holy shit, my life is pretty fucking good. I may not have the biggest apartment, or biggest paycheck, or travel around the world all the time, or _______ but wow, look at what I’ve done, look at how much I am doing, look at how much I’ve accomplished on my own.” I also noticed that comparing ourselves to others and worrying about what others think about us is the quickest way to fuck up our hormones but that’s another blog post for another time.
LEAN INTO THE FEELING | This is so, so important and it’s taken me a very long time to realize this so I hope I can save some time for you. Rather than using the word compare for this part I’m going to use envy. Envy in small doses can be used as a tool for us to see what we want. I’m not saying that envy is a good thing, I’m just saying that its a natural human tendency to feel envious. But rather than holding onto the envy, which is extremely detrimental, we can say, “Oh hello envy, thank you for showing me what I want. Now I’m going to drop you cause you’re drama and I’m going to figure out what I need to do to get what I want.” Let’s say someone is having a lot of success. Their business is blowing up, they look amazing, things are really taking off for them. You take one look at them and boom, there comes the envy. But really, what is it that you’re envious about? That they are stepping into their power, their confidence is radiating, they’re showing up bigger into the world. So take that insight of what it is exactly that you want and in your meditation practice visualize yourself as having it already, in your own version that’s authentic to you. What would power look like in your life? More money? More confidence? A successful relationship? So often we look at others and see how they are living that we have absolutely no idea how it feels to us. Once we practice feeling it ourselves, we can begin to attract what we want more easily when we match that feeling rather than fighting an uphill battle trying to make things happen based on other peoples success.