The Futility of Comparing Yourself to Others

compare

Today’s post is by guest author Leo Babauta, creator of the blog zenhabits. I’ve found that one of the most pervasive ways that people disempower themselves is by comparing themselves to others.

One of the biggest reasons we’re not content with ourselves and our lives is that we compare ourselves to other people.

Picture it: you see photos of what someone else is doing on Facebook and think your life isn’t exciting enough. You see someone else who has a cool job and think you’re not doing that great in your career. You see someone with a hotter body, and feel bad about yours. You see someone who has created an awesome business, and think you’re not doing enough. You read about people who are traveling the world, learning languages, going to exotic resorts and restaurants, and wonder why you’re not.

Of course, you’re comparing your reality to an ideal, a fantasy.

It’s not a comparison that makes sense. You can’t compare apples to apples when you compare yourself to anyone else. Which means it’s a dumb comparison — why would you compare how tangy an orange is compared to a beach? They’re not similar things.

Let’s take an example: I’m out running in the park, and I see someone running past me. Obviously he’s a faster runner, and better than me! Oh, that makes me feel horrible about myself as a runner!

Except I can’t compare myself to that faster runner, because I don’t have all the information. I don’t know:

  • How far they’re running (I might be running 12 miles and they’re running 2)
  • Where they are in their training plan (I might be starting out on my plan, while they’re in week 20)
  • Where they are in their particular run (I might be warming up, while they’re at the hardest part of their workout)
  • How many years they’ve been running (maybe I’ve only started, and they’ve been running for 15 years)
  • Their injury status (maybe I recently injured an ankle while they’re not injured)
  • What event they’re training for (maybe they are training for a mile race, or a bike race, and I’m training for a 50-mile race)
  • What else is going on in their lives (maybe they have nothing else going on, while I’ve been working hard, socializing, and moving to a new house and getting little sleep)
  • What motivates them (maybe I just like the peace of running mindfully, while they want to beat everyone else on the path)

Given these and a bunch of other factors I don’t know anything about, why would I compare my speed at this moment with the speed of another runner? They’re irrelevant to each other. We just happen to be both running on the same path at the same time, but that’s coincidence, and nothing else is the same.

And even if everything else were exactly the same (would never happen), how would the comparison be useful? It would be meaningless even then.

The only thing I should focus on, as a runner, is myself. Enjoy the run. Learn about myself as I run. Keep going, and in doing so, I’ll get better — compared to myself.

And that’s the only thing we should focus on in life — enjoy the walk, learn about ourselves, keep taking steps and drop the comparisons. You’ll love the journey even more.

 Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger & author. He created Zen Habits, a Top 25 blog (according to TIME magazine) with 260,000 subscribers.
 

Are You and Your Body Friends?

CRI_203940

Today’s post is by guest author Tarnie Falloon, Licensed Physical Therapist and Transformational Healer. Tarnie emphasizes mindful movement as a way to health and wellness.

Are you friends with your body?  Do you love, appreciate, and honor it just the way it is?

Last week I was talking to a woman who hated her body. Her sense of self loathing was so great that she could not look at herself in the mirror without feeling sick.  She could see nothing that was truly “good” about her body.

As a young girl her body had suffered a great deal of traumatic experiences. Due to this suffering she had learned to retreat to her mind. Her mind became her “safe place,” and she had disconnected from her body’s feelings as though it had “failed” her.

As a way of surviving traumatic events it is typical for people to “disassociate” from the experience, and we protect our nervous system by “checking out” from our body.  We retreat to our mind, which serves us initially to survive, but ultimately does not do us any good. Our lives will start to reflect this disconnection, either through health issues, relationship issues, work issues, money issues, or feeling like we are not living with purpose or meaning.

Many of us leave our bodies without realizing it- we don’t even know we are not living in each moment, and we honestly forget how to be present. When we are not present, and not living in our body, we are literally unable to take care of ourselves. It’s as if there is nobody “home.”

I know this pattern firsthand from my childhood. While I was growing up I had an alcoholic father, and a very critical mother (both of whom I loved). I had to disassociate from my body to survive. I did not start to really feel “at home” in my body until I was in my mid 30s. That’s when I started authentic movement classes. There is nothing like movement to bring us to the present, and living in our bodies.

Osho’s quote exemplifies the importance of our body relationship, he says:

Be loving towards your body, befriend your body,

revere your body,

respect your body, take care of your body – it is God’s gift.

Treat it well,

and it will reveal great mysteries to you.

All growth depends on how you are related to your body.

Learning to be present, being in our body, and accepting ourselves just the way we are is a sign of good health.  Being connected and grounded in our body is a way of saying “I am here, right now, and I am safe at home within myself.” As we befriend our body we allow for life to open in ways we didn’t know were possible.

I know this has been very true for clients I have worked with. I have one client that recently shared how she feels so much more present and safe within herself. She has new found meaning and joy in her life that she could not have conceived of before we started working together a year ago. “I am in my body for the first time in my life, and the changes have been amazing,” she said. “I never knew I could love what I do for work, and have the money flow into my life. My family is happy, and I am enjoying my life for the first time in many, many years.

It gives me great joy to work with clients that want to “get out of their head,” and “find what they are here for.”

People consistently call me saying that they:

  •  are ready to find their and meaning in their lives.
  •  want to heal their issues that they have been bumping up against for years.
  •  know that there is more to their life, but they just don’t know how to get there.
  •  want to deepen their life experience, and they instinctively know that deepening their body connection has the answers for them.

I will leave you with this thought to ponder today, “How can I be more loving towards my body today?”  and /or “How can I revere my body more today?”

I always enjoy hearing from you, and I look forward to your responses to this question.

Much love,

Tarnie

Tarnie Falloon, PT, MA is the creator of Body Freedom™, a unique transformational method integrating the body, mind and spirit providing proven techniques to transform your life. To find out more about Tarnie, visit her website at www.BodyFreedom.com.

 

Learning to Be Assertive

eyes2

Today’s post is written by guest author Cristina Mardirossian, MFT.

STEVEN’S STORY

Steven has been with his girlfriend for almost two years and is tired of not getting his needs met. According to Steven, he has a difficult time in asking for what he wants and needs. A simple decision, for example, about where to eat dinner is challenging for him. Instead, he allows his girlfriend to pick the restaurants, while he gets frustrated with himself for not speaking up. Steven acknowledges that he is passive in many of his relationships. Non-assertive people such as Steven are often unable to express emotions of any kind, negative OR positive.

It’s very harmful for a relationship when the person can’t be open about their thoughts/feelings. Read more

Ready for 2013? Let’s Start by Breathing Away Some Stress…

Serenity

The holidays are over. What’s next? A brand new year brimming with possibility. Ready to start working on what you are going to create in 2013? Why don’t we start by letting go of any stress that we might have dragged into the New Year?

In other words, let’s get centered, grounded and clear in mind and body. Today’s post is written by Dr. Harrison Darling of Health Advantage Health and Wellness Center in Pasadena, CA. In this excellent article she gives us an effective technique for breathing away stress. 

It’s the middle of the night. You are all tucked up warm and safe in bed when the quiet is shattered by the explosive sound of breaking glass. You are awake instantly, heart pounding, acutely aware of your surroundings, and moving before you have the time to figure out where you are going. Read more

12 Laws of Life, Part 2

948497_36c1fdd2

Photo by James AllanHere is Part 2 of the 12 Laws of Life, an article by a man named Tom Hoobyar, who was an inventor and high tech CEO.  Tom Hoobyar died on September 25th, 2001. I really don’t know much about him or his life, but I very much appreciate his wisdom. I hope you do too. To read part 1, click here.

12 Laws of Life (Part 2) by Tom Hoobyar

7. EXPECT LESS FROM OTHERS AND MORE FROM YOURSELF. Most people expect way too much from others while they themselves actually get very little done. Inertia and distraction are insidious and damn near universal — expect it in others but guard against it in your own behavior.

Everyone listens to his or her favorite mental radio station — W.I.I.F.M., which stands for, Read more

12 Laws of Life, Part I

settingsun

Recently I came across this article by a man named Tom Hoobyar, who was an inventor and high tech CEO.  It contains some of the wisest words I’ve ever read. Tom Hoobyar died on September 25th, 2001, but his words live on. Take some time to read one of my favorite guest posts.

12 Laws of Life by Tom Hoobyar

1. SELF-MANAGEMENT AND PEOPLE SKILLS ARE THE KEYS TO YOUR SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS. This is a MAJOR fact of life. And it took me a long time to get this. If you want to be smarter than me you’ll give this first principle serious consideration. Your skill level in these two areas will determine the quality of your whole life. Every champion and high achiever knows this. These simple skills are the clear difference between winners in life, and losers.

If you learn to manage yourself you can accomplish anything you can dream up. You can deal with negative experiences wisely and you can add skills as you need them. You can become unstoppable. Self management puts you on the launching pad to all the success you desire.

Most people limit themselves by their unwillingness to consider personal change. They won’t learn new things and they won’t change their behaviors even when they discover they’ve been wrong. The funny thing is, self-change is EASY. You are the one person that you can get to anytime you want. You don’t need permission or an appointment, and no one can stop you from learning and changing whenever you decide to. The only obstacle is you! Self-management is actually the first step to building people skills.

Once you commit to changing yourself into who you can be, you will notice the people around you in a different way. Now you see them as fellow beings with their own fears and drives. And they will see you with new respect and attractiveness.

You are surrounded by people who can help or harm you, based on how you treat them. Learning how people work is a skill, just like learning how you work. These people can multiply your efforts and supercharge your success It takes leadership and persuasion skills – people skills.

People skills are like a booster rocket propelling you to your dreams. And the process of succeeding with others can be learned just like you learn to make toast. If you follow directions and practice, you can develop the skills that will make you very happy and prosperous.

2. YOU ARE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR UNIVERSE. STAY THERE! As a young sailor I learned the hard way that Read more

The Inner Critic: Listen Up

Today’s post is by guest author Craig Mollins, who writes about why your inner critic may have something valuable to tell you. In the process of personal transformation, we seek to be open to what our minds, as well as our bodies, are telling us, even if we don’t want to hear.

The inner critic gets a bad rap ever time. “Silence your inner critic!”, “Avoid the inner critic, it will sabotage your best efforts,” or “Your inner critic is your worst enemy”, are common wisdom we often hear about this negative voice inside. However instead of running from this negative voice inside, perhaps we might slow down and take a good look at it. We might be very surprised at what we discover.

Facing our Demons Head On

This is like facing our demons in our dreams. If you are having a recurring nightmare where something big, bad and ugly is chasing you, the advice is to turn around and face it, head on, eye to eye. Suddenly the demon stops being a demon, you realize that it’s simply something that has been trying to get your attention. You have been so dedicated to avoiding it that it grew and and got stronger and eventually took the form of a demon hunting you down.

It’s the same with any negative energy in our life. If we take the approach of simply shutting it off and avoiding it, we may set ourselves up for trouble later on.

What is your inner critic trying to tell you? If you stop and listen you can find out. There is a message buried beneath the negativity. It’s not all bad, there is something wise coming from the depths. You just need to see through the blindness of the negativity to see the jewel of wisdom shining beneath.

The Wisdom You are Missing

For example let’s say you want to start a blog, but whenever you begin you run into the self sabotaging thought, “I can’t write, nobody will read my blog posts…” When this happens, you hate yourself for having the negative thought, so you react with, “Darn, why am I so negative!!!” You blame yourself for your negative thinking, but you never really get down to the heart of the matter, which is to listen to the negative thought and see why it is there.

Perhaps you are right, perhaps writing is not your thing at all, and it would be wise to move on and find what it is you really want to do. Or perhaps you are a great writer but you’ve settled on a topic you don’t really know anything about, and you simply need to look more carefully at your choice of topic. Or maybe you are a brilliant writer after all, and this blog idea has been your way of avoiding the challenge of writing that best seller.

But meanwhile, you have been so dedicated to silencing your inner critic that you didn’t take the time to discover what is actually going on inside of you. So the next time you hear a voice inside screaming, “You can’t do that!!!”, slow down and listen to why that voice is there. You might be amazed at what you will learn.

Craig Mollins promotes a mindfulness approach to anger management at: mindfulnessangermanagement.com.

If you liked this post, please leave a comment and/or share it with your social networks.  

Your companion on the journey to transformation,

Ted (TMan) Moreno

Mastering Your Inner Game

MM900234752I’d  like to share a great article with you by Dan Kennedy. In my opinion, all success starts with mastering what goes on in your head. As a hypnotherapist, most of my work with students, athletes and business people involve helping them to master their inner game.

Thanks to my friend Craig Valine, Marketing Performance Coach & Strategist of the Los Angeles area Glazer Kennedy Insiders Circle chapter (http://LAAreaGKIC.com), of which I’m a member, for permission to share this article with you today.

MASTERING YOUR ‘INNER’ GAME

By Dan Kennedy 

We’re going to talk about the inner game of building your business. I believe that the inner game is simply all-important. “The inner game” is a new term for a classic idea explained many different times, many different ways by virtually every success educator, and even philosophers.

In the book Think and Grow Rich, Read more

How I Changed My Life, In Four Lines

HaarFager at en.wikipedia

HaarFager at en.wikipedia

[/caption]

(As a hypnotherapist interested in transformation, one of my favorite bloggers is guest author Leo Babauta. He writes about simplicity, getting things done and how to be happier, among other things. Today’s post is by Leo.)

Changing your life can seem an incredibly tough and complicated thing, especially if you’ve failed a great number of times (like I did), found it too hard, and resigned yourself to not changing.

But I found a way to change.

And I’m not any better than anyone else, not more disciplined, not more motivated. I just learned a few simple principles that changed my life.

I’ve written about them many times, but realized they’re spread out all over the site.

Here is how I changed my life, in a nutshell. Read more

YOUR BRAND NEW NAME

  • Bookimageforfacebook_small

This week I’m honored to feature one of my favorite authors, Rob Brezsny. I’ve been following Rob’s horoscope column since the 90’s and now follow him online at Freewillastrology.com. His book “Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia” magically appeared in front of me one day as if  gifted by the universe (seriously!) and is now part of my daily reading.

In some spiritual traditions, devotees attempt an arduous process of self- transformation as they retrain themselves to perceive the world from God’s point of view. If they succeed, they’re honored with an initiation ritual and given a new name to consecrate their altered state. Read more