Have you ever observed people or yourself feeling taunted by social norms?
I’ve noticed the history of this for myself, spanning back to childhood, and I’ve noticed it time and time again for others I encounter in my work, where people have fallen into the hole of comparing themselves to others and comparing themselves to socially accepted norms and measures of ‘success’. Granted, it’s a pretty darn big hole, so actually it’s not that hard to fall into! When I’ve witnessed this Comparison Conundrum as I like to call it, it’s like hearing a cry echoing from deep within the hole, which sounds a bit like this:
- Everyone else is married now, and I’m not. Something’s wrong.
- Everyone else is buying houses now, I guess I should too.
- I’ve got this job but it’s not really a career like other people have.
- They’ve found their passion, I still don’t know what mine is.
- I’m falling behind.
- I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
- I want to ‘switch lanes’ in life but I don’t want to go backwards. It’s too risky.
- They are successful and did it that way; I should do it that way too.
- They are thinner/more attractive/more fashionable/more successful/braver/stronger than me. I’m not enough. I’ll never be enough.
- I’m not capable like them, I guess I’m just not destined to have a life like them.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This hole is so easy to fall into because often we’re invited into the hole, with our mind reinforcing that we’re falling behind via negative thoughts, supported by well meaning people telling us that we should do this and that. So of course we’d then end up in the hole when everything points that way. Our mind reinforces what we see and hear, telling us it is true and if only we could figure out what we need to be and do in order to be like everyone else, then everything would be fine, right?
Except, you’re not everyone else. You’re you. No one is like you. No one. You make your own decisions about what you need and want, and when it feels good to you. If you want a house right now, buy one. If you don’t, don’t. If you want to travel, travel. If you want a big career, have it. If you want to do volunteer work, do it. If you want to be single, be single. If you want kids, have them. If you don’t, don’t. Do what feels good to you, not what others tell you that you should feel good about. And when I say others, I primarily include in that all the advertising, all the propaganda and all the mass media messaging we see day to day that conditions us in a way that we don’t even consciously realise. Start listening to the one thing you can trust – your soul. Your soul is your true self, below any rampant negative thoughts that are leading you astray.
And you might say, “I can’t hear my soul. I don’t know what it’s telling me!”
To which I would suggest that you be still and quiet as often as possible. Listen without fear to what rises up from within you. You do know what you want and need. You do know what makes you feel good. And, let your signals guide you home.
Listening to the advice of others, proffered from their own paradigm, will never triumph over your inner knowing and divine guidance.
- Do you compare yourself to others?
- Do you compare your situation and status to that of others?
- What prompts you to do that?
- How does that make you feel?
If you’re feeling sad, alone, disconnected, lacking, not enough or plain old exhausted from it, then give it up. Chose to let it go and be open to exploring who you are and what is important and meaningful to the real you – that is, the you below any negative thoughts, any conditioning and any fear. We all have negative thoughts, we have all been conditioned and we all have fear. If you are alive, then you have experienced all of this, it is impossible not to. But now you are awake, and you have the choice to either be defined by these things, or to break free.
Being someone you are not, in an attempt to live up to social norms, means that signals will eventually intervene to help you. As Marianne Williamson says, “The universe is self organising and self correcting”. If you are not aligned to who you really are, your true self, the natural order of the world in which we live will eventually assist you to see this. Intervening signals are not always pleasant, but they are signposts to help us head in a new, better, healthier, more beneficial direction. When things in your life ‘turn to custard’, it could well be because you are not in your flow, you might have accidentally swam into someone else’s flow. So, get out of their river and get in your own
Here is my final word on this subject, and when I say it to you, know that whatever I write is really a message to myself as much as it is to you. For in saying it to you I am reminding us both:
- NEVER compare yourself to others. EVER.
- NEVER try to be someone else. EVER.
- You were born extraordinary and unique.
- Any time you compare yourself to others, trying to be something else or like someone else, you deny the beautiful individuality that you were gifted when your soul chose to come into this life.
Create your own norms in life. The norms of society have no bearing on you, unless you choose them. At all times, be yourself. There is nothing more magical, perfect and beautiful than you being you.
With love, Bernadette
Bernadette Logue (known to everyone as “B”) is the Leader of The Daily Positive, a Transformation Life Coach and the author of 3 personal growth books – guiding you on how to master your mind, to live consciously and soul-aligned. To receive regular coaching resources and support, join B in EvolveHQ, The Daily Positive’s private personal growth membership and community. To find out more about B click here.