Have you ever participated in the Comparison Game? I am pretty sure at some time or another, we have all participated in this game. Some have even judged their value or the value of others based on superficial criteria. Back in the day, this was called "keeping up with the Jones'". If a neighbor got a new car, another person may judge their car as not good enough, in comparison to the Jones' new car. To go further, the person with the older car may also believe that they are not good enough. This judgement can lead to other distortions. Maybe, going out to purchase a car that is not affordable, avoiding the Jones family all together, making up stories about the Jones family to feel better.
Now, the Comparison Game has leveled up and grown tentacles across social media. We can scope "neighborhoods" throughout the world and spend hours playing this game, losing our sense of time and self. We browse and even stalk social media in a voyeuristic way looking at the chosen images, through filters, red eye elimination and blemish free fix-it apps, and we judge ourselves and others, making up stories that are untrue and have enough potency to change our mood and self perception. We are drawn in even further, when we can open another tab, and Apple Pay for a "solution", in hopes that it will do what it promises. It's really easy to be mesmerized by comparing our insides, to others outsides. What we don't realize, is that no one can win this game.
The Comparison Game is a ravenous thief, that steals our very sense of who we are, identity, value, and leaves us with shame, guilt, and a disconnection that cannot be filled with stuff. This game causes us to live behind walls, keeping us from genuine relationship. This game keeps us in our heads and distances us from our hearts, that place of authenticity. This game, eventually imprisons us in a false self that has been constructed by judgments we have made about ourselves and others and the stories we've told ourselves about those judgments.
5 ways to see if you are playing the Comparison Game:
1) You spend a lot of time thinking, talking about and living in the past
If you compare yourself to previous times in your life as a reference point and you believe your past was better than your present and you imagine that everyone you knew back then, is better off than you are, you are playing the Comparison Game.
Maybe, this can become an opportunity to make a small change, to do something you have been procrastinating on, to keep a gratitude journal, to ask for help, if you are feeling stuck.
2) You often make it known either to yourself, others or both how you contributed to someone's success.
If you find yourself having a twinge of attitude, when you are not acknowledged for how you helped someone in succeeding and you are thinking or saying some version of, "if it hadn't been for me..." You are playing the Comparison Game.
Maybe, this kind of thinking feels better than acknowledging that you are feeling jealousy and insecurity. Tell someone you are feeling jealous and insecure. Check in with yourself to determine what you are really upset about.
3) You are overly focused on money
Sometimes, no matter how much you have, it is never enough. You count your money, you measure your money, you are tight with your money, you are indiscriminate with your money, your esteem is based on your balance. If this sounds familiar, you are playing the Comparison Game.
Take some time to reflect on what you learned about money growing up. Was it "people with money are more important than those that do not have much." Think about what you are trying to prove and to whom. Has your relationship with money been prioritized over your relationships with yourself, your higher power, friends and family? Set aside some time and dialogue with money. You can start with asking money, about the lessons it is here to teach you. I know it sounds strange, and if you allow yourself to engage in the process for just 5 minutes, the wisdom within, will speak to you.
4) You project your anger on those closest to you
In public, you are very "nice and even tempered" and most everyone would be shocked at the level of anger you express to those closest to you. When those that hear others talking about your public self, they have no idea that they are talking about you. If this is true, you are playing the Comparison Game.
This might be a great time to become aware of these two sides of yourself, when you are afraid and why you are afraid to be more congruent. What are the negative beliefs you have about yourself, that you are masking with inconsistent behavior.