We start young. We compare ourselves (and are compared by others) to our siblings, cousins, classmates, parents, artists, soccer players, popular kids, nerdy kids and on and on. This gets so ingrained in us early on, that it’s no surprise that it’s hard to let this go as adults. In fact, you may not even realize how much you are doing it. But chances are, if you think for just one minute, you will EASILY come up with various people in your professional life (and personal life) you have compared yourself to.
Now look, sometimes comparisons can be used as a healthy goal of what you want to achieve based on the role models around you. But obviously this isn’t always the case, otherwise I would have nothing to write about. Of those people you have compared yourself to, how many times have the comparisons served you well? I legitimately don’t know the answer to this. I’m asking you. What I can tell you, is in my case there is a difference between comparison and admiration.
When I admire a colleague for their abilities, I don’t leave feeling worthless, because it’s not about me. It’s about appreciating the gifts they have. When I compare my abilities with a colleague, self-loathing starts rearing it’s ugly head, and suddenly it becomes all about my deficits.
At this stage in my nursing career, I know my strengths. I love my strengths. They serve me well as a nurse. And yet, I still compare myself to others who have strengths I do not. This always feels awesome….Okay fine, it actually feels horrible. Because instead of appreciating and admiring how a community is made of unique individuals with various strengths, I beat myself up. Unnecessarily. And the self loathing starts…and let me tell you, it’s not pretty. Iyanla Vanzant has a wonderful quote about this, “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” Doesn’t it start to feel like that? Borderline violent?
Meanwhile, as I’m making all these horrible comparisons and feeling inadequate, are my strengths still shining? Of course not. My strengths get pushed to the side so I can make more room for dis-empowering- makes me feel like crap- self hatred.
When I admire others for their abilities, I get to reap the benefits of their gifts while also allowing my strengths to shine.
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.”
Remember you have been given gifts that make you strong in both your personal and professional life. It does you no good to spend your time comparing these gifts to others. We need your gifts. We need you to BLOOM.
Take care of YOU.