Confession: on a pretty regular basis, I will go on Facebook and look at certain people’s pages. (Who am I am kidding—I FB stalk.) While dare I say this is normal behavior, this would not be such a big deal. Except for this caveat: the people I look at tend to put me in a bad mood!
Rather than baby pics and celebrating friends, I look at the exes, the people I compare myself to, and the people whose lives I covet. You see, I am a comparison junkie. No matter how many times I Chaturanga, I can’t seem to quit.
I am certain I am not alone in this.
What Comparison Really Is
By definition, comparison is a juxtaposition of similar things. In fact, the Latin origins of the word (comparare) mean to pair or match. Simply, comparison does not mean to hold someone (or something) up against your life and make you feel like shit! It’s not in its vocabulary.
Nowadays though, comparison is nearly synonymous with ‘a way to feel less than.’
We compare ourselves all the time and we seldom afford ourselves the kindness of asking: is this fair to me? Take Facebook, for example. When was the last time you put a bad (to you) picture of yourself up? Yeah. Me too!
Still, when we see someone’s perfectly edited life, we instantly go to: “I’m not enough!” Against the backdrop of Facebook or Instagram or magazines or even our relatives, we allow ourselves to feel less beautiful, less worthy, less intelligent—simply less.
This is both unfair and untrue! Being in touch and connected with yourself on this journey does not make you less. It makes you human. I wish there was a ‘like’ button for that!
Still, ‘perfection’ seems to sell! I recently took a training where the director said: “When you here at the studio you are always ‘Great!’ Period.” Not you are always ‘kind,’ or, ‘open,’ or, yourself, even! The directive was: “Great!”
While I am not advocating depression yoga, when did real become so unreal? Why are we editing our vulnerabilities? Who does this editing actually serve?
Certainly not me.
Here’s me: I am an Olympian, a business owner, an Ivy League graduate, and a friend (That’s my ‘good on paper’). I am also someone who curses more than she needs to and eats food standing at the refrigerator.
I’ve lost a best friend because I’ve been selfish, and I work constantly to accept my body. My fiance and I need to be better to each other, and that currently includes not cooking with onions (True story!).
I’ve been in active recovery from an eating disorder for more than eight years, which means that sometimes I think ice cream is a meal. I share this now, not because I am acutely suffering, but because I believe, I deeply believe, in the value of real. I believe that claiming real is the antidote to comparison.
The Yoga of Comparison
In yoga, we talk about ‘mind-stuff’ or chitta vritti. Much of the practice is about not being pulled from ourselves by our mind, or running tape of comparison-asana. Asana is a practice embodying the real. If you’ve been practicing a while, you’ve probably noticed that the real is a far cry from your stories!
Developing a celebratory relationship with the real you is also what sets you free. This is my practice. Join me in true comparison.