Striving to be me, not comparing

Photo © Jenn Shallvey 2015

Photo © Jenn Shallvey 2015




I have a mentor that lives and breathes these qualities. She does not know I am writing this. I will not tell her. I see her as an example of these qualities in the way she lives and works completely true to her self. She comes from the heart with no intent to harm. She makes no apologies for her beliefs, yet stays open to learning and adjusting. She steps out and takes risks. She speaks her truth and does not hide. I value these ways she lives as an example for others.

Though I rate my mentor highly, I do not compare myself to others, well not much anymore. I used to a lot. I used to always end up on the lesser end of the equation. So these days I strive to not compare. Instead I strive to be me.

I do learn from others’ examples. There is a big difference in this type of learning.  When I see how others act, behave, live, be and do things in their own way I gain insight into another possibility. It is up to me to choose whether I would like to adopt such ways or not.  I also notice and observe the results of others’ actions. I see the consequences.  I am better at doing this with others than my own self, but do pretty well.

I recoil at the comment people make when they say “why can’t you be more like ______?” or “I wish I was like so and so or had their life.”  For me it is the opposite. I now say to myself ‘Why can’t I be more like me?” or “I wish I was being me.”   Then when I stop chastising myself I ask "How am I being me?" or "How can I be more me in this situation?” Where it is easy to adjust I have the opportunity to do so. Where it is a little more challenging I consider a bit longer or ask for help. I figure that life is this journey so I am in it.

For most of my life though I was much more in the earlier camp.  School years were fraught with anxiety through constant comparison. Who hasn’t been through this phase?  Work life was a constant rollercoaster of pleasing others to get promotions, pay and other rewards. Dating and romance was about comparing my body, looks and personality with others for the prize of attention and love. Living was about having the things others had.    It was always about comparing and fitting in, adjusting me to be like others or some imaginary expectation I created in others.

Over the years though as I consciously committed to learning, personal development and growth I found me.  My realisation is that life is a journey about coming home to me. Not in a selfish way, but in a comfortable fit feels good and real kind of way.  I am still on this journey. Yet I feel so much more comfortable than ever before. So I am sharing this with you.

I know now that I am much further along in this comparison journey. I know because what used to trigger me does not now.  I also see what used to trigger me flare up in others. I am not able to change their view. All I can be is my own example.

So how do I do this? I knew you would ask me that so I thought about the question.

  1. I don’t care, most of the time. Yes I stopped caring what others think in most situations. The big risky ones still push my buttons - I still ask my kids or husband for their opinion on a new outfit. Actually there are bigger ones where I do need to get help to get past the comparison. 
  2. I see past the surface more and more.  When I am in a situation where comparison starts to creep in I make an extra effort to see the other as more than what they present. This is challenging. On my end I need to actively change my thinking, step out of my emotions, etc. If I am connecting with the other person I engage and ask questions. The more I discover about the real person the more I can let go of the comparison. Usually my natural curiosity gets me quickly past the surface.
  3. I do not refer anymore to reports and measures that compare me to others. I used to be into this. I used to like ranking. I loved profiles and analysis of my personality. I used to like to know if I was achieving more than others or rated highly. I do not seek this information out now. If I do it is not to compare. It is instead to inform and gain feedback. Very different intent means very different result. 
  4. I am increasingly and more often valuing what I offer. This is key. With my personality I tend to diminish my contribution.  Then I stop and realise that there are just different ways and mine is equally as valuable as the others to whom I might compare.  So I don’t do searches as much anymore to see what other coaches do that I don’t do - ha ha.   
  5. I connect with others who are great examples but don’t compare. It is refreshing to be with people that do not compete with me. It is refreshing to be with others who show me the example of being who they are without worrying what people think.

So rather than compare, I aspire.

I aspire every day to be more and more me.

I aspire to be an example even in the way I learn and make mistakes.

I aspire to live with



and consistency

of self.

What do you do?


Jenn Shallvey