Last week I had a mentoring session with an amazing group of women and I was struck by the small ways that we as women downplay ourselves through comparisons with others. There were statements like: ‘What I’ve done is not as good as ______’; and ‘they are so amazing, I could never do that’.
We need to stop this talk.
The problem with comparison is it’s misguided humility. In reality it’s more of a shield that saves us fully to stepping into our own unique blend of weirdness.
The greatest casualty of comparison is connection. It robs us of the ability to stand beside someone and say ‘I see you’. The greatest gift we can give anyone is the gift of being fully present when we are with them.
That statement was so important I want to say it again (in bold).
The greatest gift we can give someone is to be completely present with someone.
To paraphrase Sarah Kay's brilliant TED Talk true connection happens when people aren't just waiting for their turn to speak, but that they 'hear you, they feel exactly what you feel at the same time that you feel it. It's what I strive for'.
Present to what they are saying, present to the subtle things they are not saying, present to their struggles and their greatest achievements. The second we start comparing (which we all do) we disconnect from our ability to be fully present.
The next time you catch yourself doing this, take a deep breathe. Remind yourself you don’t know their heartache and what keeps them awake. Reassure yourself you are exactly where you need to be in this world and then turn up...fully present to the here and now.
And if what the other person is saying or doing isn’t serving you, have the courage to say ‘thanks but no thanks.
We are connection creatures. You deserve love and belonging, and so does the person standing in front of you.
P.S I came across this beautiful experiment demonstrates that power that just 'being with' another person can have on deep connection.
I've sat in a similar experiment of simply sitting with a relative stranger for 1 minute. It was a profound experience: Watch this intimate video here