The Comparison Trap

One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

The temptation to compare in this day and age is rife and I know a lot of you can relate. The comparison trap is as close to you as your next chat with a friend or relative, or your usual perusal of social media. And whether, after your comparison, you come out on top or come up wanting, there is simply no win in comparison. It’s a trap. I repeat. It’s a trap!

My first attempt at gaining admission into the Varsity ended in tears 😥😥. I wasn’t that disturbed tho, because my mates who also tried to get it failed. So, as far as comparison went, I was not a failure.

My second try was completely different. I shuffled between preppn’ for the exams and working with my dad in his business centre in Lagos, while my mates had the luxury of going for lessons or just staying in the comfort of their homes (for the very first time I truly understood the concept of imbalance and unfairness in the world). Well this time around, my mates got into private universities. I felt bad because my dad didn’t have the capacity to send me to a private university. I blamed myself for not being able to get into the university…again. When I compared myself to my mates that got in, I felt defeated. I failed. I felt a crippling sense of disappointment. And it sucked.

Fast forward to when I finally got admitted on my third attempt and started reconnecting with friends from my past, I noticed that I might have been comparing myself (no, I definitely am) to them to see if I’ve held up as well as they did over the years! FOR SHAME NAYA, FOR SHAME!

I used to (and still catch myself from time to time) compare where I was to where someone else was all the time.  I would compare their skill set to mine and theirs always seemed so much better. I know it’s not the easiest of things to talk about. Quite frankly, admitting to yourself that the comparison trap has gotten you on several occasions is downright embarrassing, but empowering.

Comparison is linked to competition and since I’m not very competitive(scratch that, I’m not competitive at all. Sometimes I feel I’m not even as “ambitious” as I should be), I would just retreat. Ever so often I would feed myself with negative talk to justify my falling into the comparison trap:

“I’m so far behind, I will never be able to catch up or do something truly meaningful.  So what is the point of even trying?!.”

“Just give up now and save yourself the stress Naya.”

“Wow things are really happening for her and I just can’t seem to catch a break. I can’t seem to get anything going for me. I’m lost. Broken. Directionless“.

I will never be able to start up my own business, discover my “side hustle”, write a book. What do I have to say or do that someone else hasn’t said or done a million times already.”

And then I would want to give up and accept mediocrity.  The root was that I had low self-worth and low self-esteem (I would make a post on why this is).  Watching and comparing myself to others was a great way to look at the outside so I didn’t have to look on the inside. 

But then I realized that comparison sucked.  Literally. 

It sucked all of the energy, all of the joy, and all of the excitement right out of me! I felt drained and unworthy all the time.

I stopped following people online that made me feel bad. I felt uninspired and negatively influenced by social media “influencers” with perfect lives and self image. I was hypnotized by my media environment. The few people that really know me know that I take periodical hiatus from social media to avoid hurting my soul and drowning myself in self doubt and self pity because social media has a way of stealing bits and pieces of my peace of mind and self esteem . Okay, I’m pretty sure some of y’all are like “relax sis….its never that serious”. Actually, for me, it kinda is.

Here’s the thing about social media, we all show the world that which we want them to see, and the beauty is that we get to decide if we want to see what that person is sharing or not. 

I’ve decided to start follow accounts that inspire me to strive to be my best self, to make God the centre of my universe, to improve my mental health, to appreciate nature and help save it. 

Melissa Ambrosini says that “we are all worthy, we are all here to share a message, and we are all here to serve.” I realize now that I am not an accident.  In fact, no one is. I also realize that I’m really not in any competition with anyone and I should remind myself of this subtle truth every day.

I’m far from fully overcoming the comparison trap, but I’m making concerted efforts to catch myself each time I’m tempted to compare myself with the next person and to remind myself of God’s promises . Truth is all it takes are intentional ‘baby steps’ to move past always comparing yourself to others. Remember, no one can be like you and that’s your super power. Let that sink in 💕.

Guys, let me know in the comments if you have struggled with the comparison trap and how it’s been for you dealing with it.

‘Til my next post….. stay beYOUtiful😗😗.

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