Tuesday, 03 October 2023

Linda-maree Conyard

One consequence of comparison is jealousy, which can deepen the experience of not being good enough. We forget that we are unique, and comparisons are rarely helpful.

Comparison can be a relentless companion, especially for women striving to fulfil their potential. This week's Trauma Bytes delves into the challenges of comparison, shedding light on the hurdles women often face when measuring themselves against others and how understanding this struggle through a trauma-informed lens can pave the way for creating an improved relationship with yourself.

Comparison is a pervasive challenge for many women, often fueled by societal standards, personal insecurities, and past traumatic experiences.

Comparison isn't just a fleeting thought; it's a potent force that can shape our self-perception and limit our potential. In this edition of Trauma Bytes, we'll explore:

  • ​The Comparison Trap;
  • The Influence of Trauma on Comparison; and
  • Tools for Liberation.

1. The Comparison Trap: Why women often find themselves in the web of comparison and how it hinders their journey to achieving their full potential.

The comparison trap is a subtle adversary that lurks in the shadows of many women's lives. It begins with societal messaging that suggests our worth is intrinsically tied to how we measure up against others - in appearance, success, relationships, and more. This external pressure can lead women to constantly evaluate themselves in relation to their peers, creating a sense of inadequacy or competition.

From a young age, women may be bombarded with images of the 'ideal' woman – flawless in appearance, highly accomplished, and effortlessly balancing personal and professional life.

These unrealistic standards, perpetuated by media, advertising, and even well-intentioned advice, create a relentless undercurrent of comparison.

Women are led to constantly evaluate themselves, not based on their unique qualities and aspirations but in relation to their peers, colleagues, and even strangers on social media. This external pressure fosters a pervasive sense of inadequacy and competition, diverting focus away from personal growth and authentic self-expression.

Healing Movement: Awareness is key to being able to eliminate all subliminal messaging about what defines a woman. It's essential to cultivate awareness, enabling the conscious unravelling of both explicit and hidden layers of societal expectations and perceptions.

Take some time to sit quietly and bring into your consciousness what your thoughts are about being a woman. Then once you have written those down, sit quietly again and take a few more minutes to take some deep breaths. Feel the breath going into your body. Feel the out-breath leaving your body. Now from your inner knowing, notice what your perceptions are of being a woman. Write this down. Is there any difference in what you have written?

2. The Influence of Trauma on Comparison: Discover how past traumatic experiences can amplify the effects of comparison.

The comparison trap is further intensified by the haunting echoes of unresolved trauma, whether they be overt or insidious.

Past traumatic experiences can:

  • ​erode self-esteem;
  • intensify self-doubt; and
  • exacerbate feelings of not measuring up.

Trauma survivors often grapple with feelings of powerlessness and a distorted sense of self-worth. Women who have experienced trauma may find themselves perpetually caught in a cycle of self-critique and comparison which becomes a reflection of the trauma's lasting influence on their self-perception.

Unresolved trauma reinforces negative beliefs about themselves.

Healing Movement: Let's take a look at what you have internalised from past hurts and trauma. Again take some time to sit quietly as I described above. This time I invite you to contemplate the words of your inner critic. What do you say to yourself over and over again in relation to your perception of yourself?

Once you have those words or sentences, take time with each one and read it to yourself or say it out loud to yourself. Notice how it feels in your body. Then ask yourself, is that really true, or did someone tell me that, and I took it on? Regardless of your answer, the next question you ask yourself is, if that wasn't true, what would the truth be?

3. Tools for Liberation: Practical techniques for breaking free from the comparison trap and embracing uniqueness.

Liberating yourself from the grip of the comparison trap requires a multifaceted approach rooted in self-compassion and self-awareness.

Women can initiate this transformation simply by recognising that societal standards are often unattainable, unrealistic and don't define their true worth. This recognition is a critical first step in disentangling oneself from external pressures.

Reflecting on past traumatic experiences and seeking healing support can help untangle the web of negative self-perception. This journey can involve professional therapy, which can help you to see and separate from false internalised perceptions of yourself, which are often difficult to identify because we have made them so much a part of ourselves.

Numerous women's gatherings celebrate the essence of femininity. These gatherings offer a supportive space where we can embrace our diverse body shapes, sizes, and unique qualities while recognising the shared aspects of our experiences.

Through these connections, we often encounter both subtle and, at times, quite evident forms of healing. When women uplift and support one another, it creates an opportunity to address the underlying causes of self-doubt, negative self-conditioning and insecurity. This process gradually releases the hold of comparison in our lives. To make the most of this opportunity, we must be consciously aware of our beliefs about ourselves.

Mindfulness practices, gratitude exercises, and self-affirmation techniques can support the change process by gently adding in positive self-talk. My suggestion would be to take these on slowly (one at a time until you have it) because if you can't feel what you are saying to yourself is true, then nothing will change.

These practices are meant to encourage you to celebrate your unique qualities, acknowledge your individual journey, and embrace your full potential. By fostering self-compassion and nurturing self-awareness, you can transcend the limits of comparison and create a path of authentic self-expression, embodiment and empowerment.

May this week's Trauma Bytes be your guiding light on the transformative path toward self-liberation and authentic self-expression.
I love hearing from you and receiving your updates, so please keep them coming.

May you be well, may you be happy, and may you have inner peace.

Linda ♡

If you try out any offered practices, I’d love to hear how you found them and what you now understand that you didn’t before. I love, love, love hearing from you guys.

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