The Expensive Habit of Comparing

I’m writing from Hermosa Beach, California today. In pursuit of walking my talk, I’ve taken a few days away from caregiving and coaching to focus on rejuvenating myself. Visiting the ocean is a sure-fire way for me to restore, regroup, and reorient myself to who I want to be and what I want to create.

While taking a long and vigorous walk along the shore, I realized I had slipped back in to the toxic habit of comparing. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Southern California beach, but generally they draw what I’ll call the ‘cool people.’ You know who I mean — thin and fit men and women jogging along with beautiful dogs or baby carriages, sporting lycra, white headphones and swinging ponytails. After all, it is Hollywood.

My imagination has them being financially free (It’s quite expensive to live here) and doing some super-amazing work that supports their Cool California lifestyle.

And they always look so freaking TOGETHER. Like being fit and healthy is simply WHO they are, pounding their feet while effortlessly carrying on a conversation without gasping for breath (like I would).

And then there’s me. Middle-aged, unfit, and not quite yet financially free. At least that’s what I see when I compare myself to those I’ve been passing by today.

But WAIT. I’m so much more than those things. Let me send my inner critic to the fucking back seat, and allow spirit to inform me about who I really am.

My soul knows that while I’ve been on earth for 57+ years, I’ve earned wisdom, intelligence and compassion — for myself and others. I may not look like the ‘cool people’ but my heart is healthy and I am committed to keeping it that way.

My work is fulfilling and I’m currently developing a new project that will create more time and money freedom while serving thousands of midlife women. Because in midlife I seem to care less about how others see me, I’ve gained peace about what I’m not so good at; learning to embrace my superpowers and let go of my need to improve what I’ll never be good at doing.

I enjoy a wildly happy almost 38-year long marriage, having created two successful, heart-open children. I’ve been blessed with my first grandson who is a bright light in my life.

Making assumptions about those ‘cool people’ is wrong-headed. Comparing myself to others is an expensive habit, costing me valuable energy I could be using to create something beautiful.

How do I know they are without heartache? Basing my opinion of them on their appearance is seriously ridiculous, right? Comparing myself to anyone is neither healthy nor productive.

Do I have work to do to be my living my most fully expressed life? Yes. I will be a work-in-progress until I draw my last breath — and likely so will the so-called ‘cool people.’

What about you? Have you fallen into the comparison trap? What has this habit cost you?