Reframing Thoughts

Sharing vs. Comparing

By Trudy Menke 8/28/19

Sharing always sounds so kind. We've been told it's important (and polite) since we were young. Share your toys and share your candy. As we grew older sharing expanded. Share your time. Share your money. Share your life. And now what used to be shared in person among friends is now shared in great detail by everyone we know on a daily basis on social media! 

Add to that, much of the advertising we see everywhere we look is asking us to compare ourselves unfavorably with others and buy a product or service to restore the balance or get ahead of someone else. What an energy suck!

Sharing begins with an intention or belief that someone has seen, done or experienced something that others would enjoy knowing about or taking part in. We can receive that sharing with support or comparison, and comparison often comes with a quiet intention to define winners and losers. In fact we tend to "compare" as a knee-jerk, first response most of the time, and we can do better by making a couple subtle shifts in our thinking.

“Comparison with myself brings improvement, comparison with others brings discontent.”
Betty Jamie Chung 

Here are some situations at work and in our personal lives when we compare ourselves to others in a destructive way:

1. When we see someone who has something we don't have (and doubt our ability to attain); or 

2. When we see someone achieve something we haven't (and doubt our ability to accomplish); or

3. When we see someone experiencing something we aren't (and doubt our ability to participate).

“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.”  
Iyanla Vanzan

When we are the one initiating, we say we are "sharing or inspiring others with our good news, excitement or success." We don't say, "Let me put this out here so you can compare yourself to me."

Yet when we see other people "share", we often jump into an unhealthy, unproductive form of comparison. Regardless of their intent behind sharing, it doesn't determine what our response should be. You know what I mean. We've all done it. These comparisons take different routes, but they ultimately boil down to one of these expressions that seek to make us the loser or the winner in comparison:

1. (My fault) "I am not good enough;" or

2. (Their fault) The person sharing "is having opportunity or success because they aren't as moral/balanced/oppressed/fill-in-the-blank as me;" or

3. (Someone's fault) "It must be nice..." – an overriding thought that covers a multitude of limiting beliefs with sarcasm and sour grapes. 

"Stay in your lane. Comparison kills creativity and joy.” Brene Brown

How do we avoid these knee-jerk responses and replace them with something that creates energy? Here's some positive reactions that enlarge our thinking when we are "being shared with" and allow us to live in the land of Support instead of Comparison. 

1. Respond with a feeling of inspiration for what's possible. Remind yourself that great possibilities exist, and you can work toward achieving your own desires with real hope and commitment.

2. React with an acceptance of abundance. Realize that just because someone else has something wonderful happening to them, it doesn't mean there's less "wonderful" out there possible for you.

3. Reciprocate encouragement. Truly congratulate people and give encouragement to help them maintain the momentum they need to keep going. Give what you want to receive when it's your turn to share big news.

Next time someone shares their good news with you, receive it in the spirit you would intend it when it's your turn. When you think about it, it's always your turn in some area of your life. 


Monthly (1/2-day) public trainings now at La Porte County Public Library - Main Branch

See our new schedule for Fall, 2019, and register yourself or your team - seats are limited:

Want to schedule a meeting by phone or in person to explore possible training or executive coaching for you or your team? Schedule a call or meeting quickly and easily at Connect_With_Trudy

Trudy Menke                       219-716-2108    



Copyright © 2019 Trudy Menke-Reframing Leadership, All rights reserved.

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