How easy is it to feel badly when we compare ourselves to others following a similar path?
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Is it HEALTHY when we find our mind doing this, and how can we harness it?
I’ve been looking at this subject for a little while now, ever since I published the first edition of my book “How to Heal Your Life on a Deep Heart Level“.
The euphoria of completing the manuscript, researching how to e-publish and then seeing it up on Amazon had been diminished when I found out that a whole new stage of work had just now started: learning to ‘Market The Book’ and ‘Building An Author Brand and Platform’!
I’ve been awed and amazed how some first-time published authors have zoomed way past me in learning how and where to market themselves, while building a platform that is just, well, awe-inspiring.
There have been moments when I saw how much they’ve accomplished, and when I compared my progress and successes to theirs I felt discouraged.
I had to look a little deeper into this feeling… why was I feeling it? …where was it coming from? …was it true? …how could I harness the negative and turn it around?
My past history of self-blame, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence was threatening to insert itself, and the old feelings of paralysis were threatening to take over. Doubts, huge doubts were growing in my mind.
I didn’t wish to be sucked down that vortex again, so I looked at it head on and asked myself some questions:
- Was I comparing myself unfavorably with those authors because I had an inferior message/book?
- Was my time-line of learning and progress inferior to theirs?
- Was I supposed to have known all this before publishing?
I think that there were many more nebulous questions swirling in my head, but these three seem to encapsulate most of the strongest feelings and thoughts I was having. As you can see, just the tone alone of these questions shows a deep level of self doubt and blame, which in blue moments like to clear its throat and tap me on the shoulder.
At first I tried to dismiss those thoughts, but we all know, this isn’t a good tactic! It keeps rearing it’s head, and with each new difficult event, it gets more and more insistent in how it wants to be looked at!
Brushing our thoughts under the rug, so to speak, or trying to banish them to some back room in our mind, isn’t a good strategy, because like the naughty children they are, they’ll keep bursting out, stronger and stronger!
So, how to deal with those thoughts, without being sucked down into a deep pit of depression?
Denying these negative questions or trying to find arguments against them is useless I found, because I wasn’t able to find strong enough arguments to convince myself and erase the self-doubt. I could always find the flaw in my weak reasoning, and became more discouraged as a result.
The best way to really deal with the negative, is by using the positive!
Turn on the light and the darkness flees!
I looked at what I had been able to accomplish, and I took note of the circumstances I was in while doing it. Many of us accomplish things not when all is going well for us, or when we’re on the top of our game, but some times in spite of difficulties or barriers!
1) I wrote during a time one might think would be impossible to write in: my job ended, I moved in with daughter to help with the kids when my baby grand-daughter was re-diagnosed with cancer (she’s back to being healthy again!), my marriage went down in spectacular flames. (I knew it was over when he was calling me on the phone while I was in the hospital with the baby and demanding I somehow get more money to him, even though I was out of work… No, I no longer harbor ill feelings towards him, since he has since succumbed to Dementia.)
2) In spite of going through this round of trials and becoming angry and overwhelmed with what was happening, I knew I needed to put the lessons of the book into practice, and work on a) becoming healthy and balanced for myself and my family, b) work on healing my emotional hurts from the divorce, c) be open to figuring out what new/deeper lessons I was being taught through this process.
3) I researched a) different self-publishing vehicles, and what they offered, (I chose to go with Amazon first, because of their size) b) how to prepare a manuscript for publishing to Kindle format, c) how to publish.
4) After publishing the eBook, I found out about the need to market it, build an author platform and build a readership/fan-base. I followed the advice given to me.
5) I started a blog, and have been trying to take care to write articles which will inform, entertain, and inspire my readers. I’ve been sharing my journey and the how to’s freely to help others who are in the same position I was not too long ago.
6) I decided my branding and sharing needed to be more than just about selling books: I needed to genuinely help people, to become a resource if I could… after all, that was what was driving me to write books in the first place!
7) I needed to share my blogs on other social media sites, and as I find out information about one, I’ve been trying to be an active participant, rather than just posting information.
8) As an active participant on social media sites, I keep my focus encouraging and uplifting when I comment on other peoples posts, trying to help and amplify a message that is being put out there… again to share information.
As my list of my accomplishments grew, I started to feel much better about myself!
I may not be growing my sales/branding/readership at the warp-speed that other authors are doing, but when I look back at my own progress, I see a steady-as-she-goes approach!
I have made great progress! Even from a year ago, I’ve accomplished quite a lot… I realized I can be quite proud of myself!
Those negative thoughts and feelings just shrivel up and float away with the wind when I go over my list in my head! *I’m smiling now as I write these words!*
“Yes girl,” I tell myself, “You’ve been doing well!”
I may not be the fastest, but who said it needed to be about speed?
A job well done is very satisfying!
Really, if we need to compare ourselves to anyone, I think taking a look back at what WE’VE ACCOMPLISHED is the WAY to do it!
Compare your abilities to how you were a year ago or ten years ago!
Life happens so fast, with many urgencies vying for our attention that we don’t always do this useful exercise! If we don’t take the time to acknowledge all we have accomplished and hold fast to that in our minds, when a sneak attack happens where we compare ourselves to others, it can take an unfavorable turn.
Beat those sneak attacks to the punch and prepare yourself mentally. You’ll be glad you did!
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