4. Comparison

Join me on this episode to discover if it’s true that “comparison is the thief of joy,” why it’s sometimes useful to compare and what to do when we done comparing ourselves to others.

What You’ll Learn:

  • If it’s true that “comparison is the thief of joy,” why it’s sometimes useful to compare and what to do when we done comparing ourselves to others.

0:00 Hey, what’s up everybody is Jennie the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission podcast episode number for comparison. I’m Jennie, the LDS mission coach and whether you are preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a return missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things than let’s go? I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again, it’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next. Hey, everybody, I am so excited to be with you today on the podcast. Thank you so much for listening. Today, we are going to talk about comparison. And I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of comparing. Maybe you’ve heard terms like Comparison is the thief of joy. That is one that we hear quite often. Or maybe you’ve heard a term like compare and despair. On this episode, we’re going to talk about why maybe comparison itself is not the thief of joy. And why maybe, sometimes we compare, and we despair, but we don’t have to. And that’s what we’re going to talk about on this episode, our brains like to compare, comparison is just something that our brain does. This is your lower part of your brain that is in charge of keeping you safe and small, warm and stuck inside the cave, not wanting to go out and venture out and face any pain, either emotional or physical pain. This part of our brain, the comparison wants to see how we fit in with other people, and how we relate to other people. It’s also kind of that competitive part of us that wants to see where we fit in line or in a race where we’re measuring up. But because this is just part of our brains way of keeping us safe, it’s actually normal to compare. A lot of people say I just don’t want to compare myself. And we’re gonna get to that, I’m gonna give you some tools that can maybe help so that you don’t compare yourself. But just know that it is totally fine if you do sometimes, many times we compare ourselves to other people, we compare ourselves to what they’re doing, the vacations that are going on the clothes, they’re wearing, the schools that they go to the education that they have. We also funny enough, compare ourselves to ourselves many times, sometimes, I’ve had some of my clients that like to compare themselves now to their past self, their past self, who’s maybe made some mistakes. And then they use their current self to judge their past self. They compare those two, or sometimes we even compare ourselves to a future version of us, that doesn’t even exist yet. Someone we think might be better than we are right now, or more well off or smarter, or skinnier, or more educated, or whatever it is. And we use our future self to judge where we are right now.

3:54 So our brains are in the business of comparing. They like to do this. they’re problem solvers. They like to put us into categories. They like to put other people into categories. It’s a way that our brain uses to sort out information. I want you to think back to elementary school and the first time that you were taught to compare. Remember, we compared shapes, we compared words, we compared colors. I even remember watching Sesame Street and remember that segment that they always had, which was one of these things is not like the others, right? And we had to differentiate even very subtle differences between two pictures or two items. There was also that highlights magazine, my dad was a dentist and he always had like loads of highlights magazines, in his office for the kids to look at. And they had different puzzles to compare different items. Which of these two pictures is different? And so we used our brains to compare them It’s a developmental thing that happens with our brain. It is awesome when we can start to understand the differences and the nuances between what we observe in the world. I’m not a very good gardener. I’m I try. We didn’t get a garden in this year. But I do have this climbing clematis plant it. It’s a plant, and it has these really beautiful blooms on it. A couple of weekends ago, I went out of town. And as I was kind of packing things up, I was looking at my kitchen window, and I’m like, wait a second, that clematis does not look like the way I think it should look. Normally it looks much healthier. Normally, it has bigger blooms, it actually started kind of turning brown, my brain was comparing it to the way that the clematis had looked much earlier, or the way that the clematis had looked last year. And my brain told me, hey, something’s off here. something’s not quite right. Well, sure enough, like climbing flower, the clematis needed more water, the sprinkler to it had been closed off or shut down or clogged. Think about if we couldn’t perceive differences. If we if we never compared ever, then my clematis plant would have died.

6:20 Or if we noticed, like, a couple of times, as we’ve gone out to the car, my husband’s like, did we have a scratch on here before, we were comparing what the car used to look like, to what the car looks like now. So this is a very useful skill that our caveman lower brain has is to compare, it helps us separate the differences of the things that are out side of us for for a good reason. But here’s what’s true, our caveman brain thinks that finding these comparisons is actually a matter of life or death. If you think about the caveman days, let’s say, what we were doing, as cave men and women were, we were looking around to see how we measured up, we were comparing ourselves to other people in our tribe. And we always had to know where we fit in the tribe. Otherwise, if we were the lowest on the totem pole, we were kicked out, if we were the weakest, or if we were least favorable, we could have been kicked out of the tribe. And that meant death. So we’re constantly looking around, and we have that same brain now that lower brain that instinctual brain it is with us all the time. It’s there, 24/7. And even still, now we’re looking around to see how we measure up, whether we’re walking into the middle school, whether we’re walking to our into our ward on Sunday, whether we’re at a zone conference on the mission, and we’re scoping people out. Or maybe we’re walking into a first day of a new semester in our economics class, and starting to kind of measure people out and and compare them to us and to one another, to see where we fit in. As I was getting ready for this podcast, I started thinking about I have this visual that I’ve seen many times on like Animal Planet, or Disney nature, some of those Disney nature films, either the lion ones, or the penguin ones, where they talk about how in nature, this more animalistic side of us. The weakest one is the one that usually becomes the prey. It actually is life or death for those animals. Because if you’re the slowest one, if you’re the weakest one, you are the prey to the lions, the slowest gazelle. The weakest Gazelle is the one who gets eaten. Now, I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, but all animals have this lower brain that we have that instinctual brain, the ones that’s in charge of our survival. All animals have it including us. So it has knee jerk reactions. And it is constantly trying to keep us safe and protected. This is the same brain that the gazelle has. It’s like, if there’s a lion, we should probably get out of here. But now what happens with this lower brain that we have, by the way, we also have a higher brain that can organize and reason. But we still have this brain that Heavenly Father gave us to keep us safe and alive. But what happens now is our brains can’t differentiate between emotional pain and physical pain. Pain to our caveman brains. Even emotional pain feels like death. And, and I can totally understand. Have you ever experienced like really negative emotion in your brains like, you do not want to feel this, you might die. That’s, that’s your caveman brain kicking in trying to protect you from emotional pain. So all of this to say that caveman part of your brain wants you to feel like you’re part of a group. It wants you to feel like you fit into that group. Now, we can have a whole nother podcast about connection, and love and acceptance and all of that. But it is part of your animalistic, instinctual brain, your human brain, it feels safer. When we compare. We can scope people out and figure out where we fit in. So like I mentioned before, I’ve sort of been thinking about this quote, that comparison is the thief of joy. And based on everything that I’ve taught, you hear so far, comparison actually isn’t

11:16 the thief of joy. What I teach my clients is that joy is an emotion that comes from what we think. Now, when we’re comparing, those are thoughts, but when we compare squares, and circles, that doesn’t take away our joy, or when I was comparing my healthy clematis plant, to my needed watering, Columbus plant that doesn’t take away my joy. What takes away our joy is the meaning that we give to the comparison or observation that we’re making. We give added meaning to what we see happening with other people. And what’s true is our caveman brains like to make what other people do mean something about us, I’ve noticed that when I am in comparing with other people, and what they’re doing, typically the thought that comes to me, the meaning that I give to it is a thought that sounds something like this, I’m not good enough, I’m doing something wrong. Or maybe I should be different. Now, it’s these thoughts. It’s this line of thinking, when we compare, that makes us feel inadequate, or hopeless, or frustrated, or insecure. When we feel inadequate, or frustrated, or hopeless, or insecure. We don’t want to do anything. We actually instead of coming out of the cave, to like face the world and do the things that we want to do. We instead retreat and go back in the cave, we don’t want to get out there and do our best missionary work, or do our best ministering or do our best effort at school or on the mission. When we feel inadequate, and hopeless. And insecure. It’s actually true that we can’t fully be invested into our schoolwork, or job or calling or missionary work. We start to doubt our own abilities. And then we don’t use the abilities we’ve been given the best that we can we hide. By the way, our brain actually our K membrane actually loves this comparison is a trick our brain uses to conserve energy. Because when we feel inadequate, we actually do less, not more for not out there doing the things we want to do. The other thing inherent in comparison, usually comes hand in hand with it is judgment. When we compare which we’re going to do sometimes it leads to either judgment of someone else, or judgment of ourselves. Our brains are always going to tell us that there’s a right way to do things. And there’s a wrong way to do things. Our brains love black and white or all or nothing thinking. And so we look at what someone else is doing. And either we think they’re not doing it right so we judge what they’re doing. Or we see what someone else is doing. You, and then we judge ourselves, because we think we should be doing it. Now, again, nothing wrong with the judgment, it’s going to happen sometimes. But again, it’s never the comparison, that’s going to be the thief of our joy, the thief of our joy is going to be the fact that we make it mean that we should be doing what they’re doing. Or they should be doing what we’re doing our brains want to kind of know who’s doing it better. But the interesting thing about this, and why our brains keep coming back to this comparison is because we will never know how do any of us know what the best way to do something is, what’s best for one person might be not good for me. Our brains like to seek this out, we’d like to figure out from other people, if they’re doing a good or a bad job. Or if we’re doing a good or a bad job. But notice, there is actually no such thing of goodness, when it comes to being human.

16:14 Like we’re all Heavenly Father’s children, we’ve all got these cave membranes in these higher brains, and we’re just down here, doing the best that we can. So what do we do about all of this? First thing, I recommend that we understand that our brains are going to want to do this. When you do compare, you can stop judging yourself, or hating yourself. For it, you can just recognize what you’re doing, and why it makes sense. Comparison. Plus judgment of ourselves doesn’t equal less comparison, actually, usually equals more. So let’s drop the judgment piece that we have for ourselves, and just understand what we’re doing and why. It makes sense. This is what our caveman brain does. That will bring the compassion that will help you meet you where you are, and help us more easily redirect our brain to what we want to do instead of compare. That brings me to my second thing. Number two, redirect your brain. Many of us think that our brains just run on autopilot that we have no control over what we’re thinking. We don’t have always a control over what our caveman brain gives us. But we always have a choice of whether we want to believe it or not. When your brain starts to notice that missionary and how there seem to be teaching a lesson better than you, or seem to be better at talking to people. This is what I like to tell myself, what that person’s doing, and how they’re doing it is none of my business. Tell your cane membrane? Like, listen, I know you think this is important the way they’re doing it, and then ask yourself, but what do I want to do? How do I want to teach? How do I want to interact with people? This will just redirect your brain from being so involved in what the other people are doing? And bring it back to the present like, okay, right back to me. What do I want to do? How do I want to show up? And who do I want to be as a missionary, or as a return missionary, or as a college student? Or in my job? How do I want to be in this moment, regardless of what anyone else is doing? Third thing, there’s a lot of talk about Instagram, and how Instagram and Facebook we do a lot of comparing. And that’s why a lot of people don’t agree with it. Hopefully after this podcast, you’ll understand that it’s not Instagram itself. That is the problem or even Facebook, it’s all of us who are looking at Instagram and Facebook and Tik Tok, that don’t know how to manage our own brains and our own thoughts. We give so much meaning to what other people are doing and how they’re showing up. But what I want you to know, is when you are comparing to other people, they have a caveman brain too. We all came to Earth with one. That’s the was Heavenly Father’s plan. So what this means is that half the time we’re gonna have positive emotion, and half the time we’re gonna have negative emotion. I call it the 5050 rule. Your caveman brain is going to tell you there’s something wrong half the time and your higher brain is gonna be like actually, I think everything’s gonna be okay, the other half of the time. So even when it looks like someone is experiencing everything that they want to experience Doing all of the things that you wish you could do. Trust me when I say they have a 50% Negative. The Scriptures tell us there’s opposition in all things. So when I see people doing things maybe that I want to do, or I’m comparing myself, or I wish that I could be more like them, or do what they’re doing, and just like, oh, wait, wait a second, they have a 50%, negative emotion as well. The fourth thing I want to offer to you. And the last thing is, we can drop the meaning that we put behind comparison, can we look at someone, let our brains do the comparing. And instead of opting to that, that means something bad about me that I’m not good enough, or I’m not doing good enough, or I should be better? Can we redirect to a thought that creates love?

20:58 A thought like, I love that they’re doing it that way. That’s so awesome, that we have other ways that people do things, I’m so happy that the way they’re doing it makes them happy. I noticed that I sometimes compare when I, when I noticed that someone is doing something that I haven’t quite figured out how to do yet. And so I kind of want that. And it makes sense that my brain is like, oh, let’s compare this. Instead of thinking, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I do that, I should be better, I should be different, I redirect back to them. And I think, wow, if they can do that, it means I can to I love that they’re doing it that way, makes me so excited to get to that same level that they’re getting at, we can just drop the meaning we can drop the judgment part of the comparison and look at people as an example of what’s possible. Instead of using what people are doing, to judge ourselves, and think we’re not good enough. The last thing I want to offer you here is a scripture that I was thinking about as I was working on this podcast. And most of the comparing that we do, that our caveman brain likes to do is based on what people are doing, the way that they look, the way that we perceive them. And what I thought about was this scripture that the Lord see if not as a man see it for the man look if on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart, that’s in First Samuel 16 Seven. And I love this idea, it goes back to this idea that we’re we all have emotions and things that we’re dealing with even someone who is behaving and saying a certain thing, may not be feeling the best on the inside. Even though our brains want to compare, we really can’t, we really can’t compare hearts. We can’t compare emotions, we can’t compare intentions. And so I’d love to just keep that in mind also to bring love to every situation. My mom was one of the very best at this, she always said just give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Everyone’s just doing the best they can. So whether you’re comparing kind of looking down at someone thinking, they’re not doing it, right, they need to do it like me. Or whether you’re looking up and thinking, well, they’re doing it right and I’m doing it wrong. So I need to do it better like them. Just know that we can bring the love the Lord, look upon the heart. I really believe that what we do is important but not near as important as how we feel when we’re doing it. Your brain is sometimes going to compare it was pre wired that way, and it’s okay. Don’t judge yourself for comparing. But it’s what we do with that comparison. That can be the thief of joy. It’s what we do with those thoughts that matter? Are you going to use comparison against yourself? You really don’t have to, but you’re gonna have to manage your brain. You’re not going to be able to let it run on autopilot. You’re gonna have to notice what you’re thinking you’re gonna have to understand why you’re thinking it. You’re gonna have to introduce compassion and redirect your brain and drop the meaning. Always redirecting to lope Listen, using comparison against yourself, is totally optional. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast today. If you want to learn more about what I do, you can go to Jennie dildine.com. Or just come hang out with me on Instagram at Jennie dot the LDS mission coach and Jennie is spelled with an I E. And remember, no matter which part of the mission experience that you are involved in, just know that Jennie the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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