The Least Talked About Game that Women Play—The Comparison Game
Written by Jared Walker on December 16, 2019
Do you play the comparison game? You know the one…your best friend shows up at your door and she looks beautiful. In the face of this beauty, you begin to doubt your own beauty and start down the rabbit hole of self-criticism by picking yourself apart.
Not only does this effect the way you see yourself, but your every experience is judged by this one thing…Do I look good enough? Am I skinny enough? Do I look too big compared to my friend?
Your memories of this fabulous night out with your friend are clouded because you were so busy measuring yourself against everyone else, that you forgot to have fun.
Now that is a bummer!
I used to be filled with so much self-criticism that I would have sharp pains in my stomach the whole evening. It would not only be painful, but my stomach would swell. That is what you call emotional pain being reflected into physical symptoms.
As you may have experienced, the comparison game leads to self-criticism and judgement. Next on the emotional circuit is shame and unworthiness. Then we finish up with a plan for future restriction and punishment.
You devise a great strategy to eliminate the enemy, your body. The next day’s schedule consists of an early morning run, followed by fasting with the intention to shrink the stomach, followed by another form of exercise because the run wasn’t enough to make you feel better about not measuring up. In your eyes, you haven’t earned that right yet. At this point you are so hungry that you give up fasting and you overeat, not just mildly, but punishingly overeat.
The result is shame. Shame that you can’t even go 1 day without eating. Shame that your body isn’t what you want. The cry for mercy is; “Why can’t I have a cute figure like everyone else?” or “Why can’t I eat whatever I want and not gain weight like everyone else?”
Do you see how shame is taken to the extreme? The rampage started with only 1 friend and it ended with “everyone”. The result of this tirade is a feeling of true aloneness.
This is a disconnection.
Not with your friend but with yourself. Once you are disconnected with body and soul, you take on eating and exercising behavior patterns that do not get you where you want to go. In fact, in this place your body responds in only 1 way, with stress. In a stress response the body stores fat and burns muscle along with a host of other physiological reactions that sabotage your goal.
As Don Miguel Ruiz says in his book, The Four Agreements Companion Book, “we believe about ourselves what everyone and every mirror has ever told us about who we are and what we look like.” We can’t see ourself, so we take everyone else’s word for it.
All of these perceptions are distorted. They are UNTRUE. Yet, we believe them anyway.
So, how do we overcome this tendency to rate and judge our own body? After all, she is rather lovely J and truly a miracle of a being.
First, understand that we are all made differently. We are each blessed with the physical body that is needed for our own personal journey on this earth.
Here is the logical point of view using physiological fact. There are 3 main body types: ecto-morph, endo-morph and meso-morph:
- Ecto is long
- Endo is curvy
- Meso is power
In short, an endo will never be an ecto and a meso will never be an endo and an ecto will never be a meso, and all vice-versa. There are combinations of all of these and these combinations make us who we are individually. Not only physical shape but our likes and dislikes as well. It is really quite fascinating.
In the case of my example, the friend that comes to your door is long limbed and you are curvy; it is unrealistic to be critical of yourself. You, being curvy, will never be long limbed…no matter what stretching machine you put yourself on…it – will – not – happen.
So the big question is…Why are you not happy with the way your body is now?
The more soulful point of view is:
It is time to give your belief system an overhaul. You cannot continue to live your life in judgement, comparison and criticism. The body cannot withstand this type of anxiety and stress without being effected by it later.
First, meditate and mull over this beautiful scripture, Psalms 139:14: I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works: my soul knows it very well.
This verse shows the incredible and unique essence of our physical body. Each individual is created differently, each having their own characteristics, curves, strength, power, length, breadth and so on. Each one is unique and very special. Once you see yourself from your creators eyes, things will begin to shift for you.
To solidify this, I teach my clients to integrate body love rituals into their day. For example, a mindful shower where you bring all the senses into play from prepping for shower to applying lotion after the shower.
Use body love rituals to integrate the connection between body and soul so they coalesce in a beautiful dance. This is how you stop the comparison game.
Be embodied, one with your body.
This brings love, appreciation, gratitude and forgiveness.
This has you operating from your heart. When our heart guides us, we see the world and the people in our world differently. Most importantly we see ourselves differently and only then will we begin to treat ourselves differently. We begin to take care in how we eat, move and exercise, how we treat and show honor to others.
Dropping the comparison could change your life.
When the heart leads our mind isn’t on our physical body tripping us up on judgement and criticism. We can finally Experience Freedom from the Comparison Game.
The next time your girlfriend shows up at the door, open the door with your heart. Not your head.