The tendency to Compete and Compare is in all of us. The Fear, Tension, Anxiety and Insecurity it triggers is no fun, isn’t it?
I had no awareness it was such a big part of me until Rinda, a Spiritual Director, called me out on this habit.
We were having our one-on-one session, the only time that we’re allowed to talk in the Silent Retreat. And I had just updated her on my progress. I was learning so much in such a short time that I was confident I’d soon be moving light years ahead of someone I had thought to be very wise.
“I hear Compete and Compare.
Let me introduce you to 2 New Cs, Complete and Complement.
We all have a role to play in this world,” – Rinda.
I was stunned and embarrassed. But the truth of what she shared, set me free. It set me free to be happy for others. It set me free to Be and to Grow at my own pace, instead of racing to keep up with everyone else.
Most importantly, it set me free from all the years of crippling Fear, Tension, Anxiety and Insecurity that comes with ‘Compete and Compare’. Whenever I slide back into this dark space, the 2 New Cs ‘Complete and Complement’ come to the rescue, releasing me to breathe easier.
This is also an important lesson in Self-Love. It’s about knowing your worth, as one who has a part to play, to Complete and Complement.
The thing about ‘Compete and Compare’, if you’re not the one doing the competing and comparing, someone else may do it to you.
Being mindful of the 2 New Cs, ‘Complete and Complement’, stops it from bringing you down.
Ever since my sis released her cover of Havoc on YouTube, she’s been rising in popularity and she has my absolute support, more than 100%! However, as I’m choosing to go down this uncertain path as a writer, her fast, meteoric rise to fame and success is like a contrast of night and day.
Even this Chinese New Year, as soon as I stepped out of the car upon arrival at my uncle’s house, he loudly proclaimed, “The star has arrived!” Then he looks past me and says of my sister, “The New Star has arrived!”
It’s hard not to feel insecure. She’s 12 years younger and doing real good at her age. And all my parents talk about these days is her progress and how well she’s doing. Everyday, she’ll have wonderful updates, a constant reminder of how far I’ve yet to go. But I take it for what it is, a lesson in Mindfulness that we don’t have to compare. Complete and Complement.
Something X said a while ago came to mind. “It’s normal, to feel jealousy, rivalry and competition among siblings.” I love how non-judgemental he is when I voiced out my insecurities. He was showing support the way he knew how and I appreciate that. Knowing, however, that I my insecurity didn’t have to translate into jealousy, rivalry or competition, is liberating. I hear my Fears, let it teach me, then let it go.
Then there are times when we, unconsciously, perpetuate the need to Compete and Compare.
My cousin had challenged me with this thought. “His issues aside, the result is, a participation of two. Know what I mean?” I resisted that statement the first time I read it. Of course I’m aware, too aware, of my own issues and of how I could’ve contributed to this ‘break up’, if it could be called that. What X and I had was undefined. The way it ended still leaves a big question mark in its void. I’m still sore and miserable from it.
But when I allowed her question to hit home, it helped me to realize something new I haven’t before. I’ve been mentioning so and so to X, informing him how ‘very successful’ they are. On one occasion he wanted to meet that person, on the other, I was pushing for him to meet them.
My intentions were for him to gain sound business advice. But I realize now that by stressing the word ‘successful’ over and over, I may have unconsciously evoked in him the same Fear, Tension, Anxiety and Insecurity that comes with ‘Compete and Compare’. It does nothing for his Ego. And while no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, I realize now that this is one habit I can drop in the future.
Or, there are times when we allow ‘Compete and Compare’ to sabotage our own dreams.
I still remember the day I got clear I wanted to be a Writer, I went to a bookstore expecting to feel inspired. Instead, Fear showed up and pitched me against the best and the rest.
For every renowned best-selling books that were prominently displayed, there were thousands of other books by unknown writers, lying out of sight and out of mind–relegated to the bottom of the shelves, at feet level.
In that instant,
I felt like a drop in an ocean.
I felt so tiny and insignificant.
I felt like dropping my dream.
Even though I walked out of the bookstore recognising those feelings as Fear, I couldn’t get that imagery out of my mind. Like a drop in an ocean.
A powerful shift of perspective occurred when I came across this quote:
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa
Today, if you’re feeling like a drop in the ocean, don’t resist it. Be that Drop. That you can make a drop of difference, in the way that you choose to be and dream and live, that’s Amazing. It’s enough.
We feel like we’re NOT enough–not good enough, not fast enough, not smart enough, not rich enough—when we ‘Compete and Compare’. The only one putting you through this miserable competition is you. Stop for a moment to reflect and reconsider.
We each have a role to play.
Together, we can ‘Complete and Complement’ each other.
And lastly, a beautiful reminder…
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb
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