We live in a world of differences, colour, beliefs, politics, aptitudes, resources. Most of us handle these differences by judging them; this is good, this is bad, this is neutral, I like it, I don’t like it, I don’t care about it. When we turn these judgements against ourselves we suffer.
Negative comparisons are the bread and butter of a lack of self acceptance. Thoughts of “I’m not as good as …“, “They are better than me …” and perhaps surprisingly “I’m better than …“. It’s true that we all have different capabilities, in a world of differences that’s inevitable. That’s not the problem. When the comparison causes us to feel dissatisfaction with ourselves or judge ourselves then we may suffer.
I am a runner, I’m not a very good runner, I’m certainly not a fast runner. It’s true to say that Paula Radcliffe is a much better runner than me. I don’t feel badly about that fact, I don’t judge myself or find myself wanting in that regard. I’m happy that she is so good, it’s impressive and inspiring.
However that’s not always the case, sometimes I compare myself against a colleague or acquaintance. I may have the thought “She is better than me at X” or “He is a better <Y> than me“. In this I find myself wanting or put another way: I don’t accept myself. I’m using someone else’s ‘superiority’ to beat myself up. This may not happen all the time there may be comparisons you make that have no negative feelings associated with them, the trick here is to notice if the comparison causes you some discomfort.
Try this out for yourself, think of some of the ways that you compare yourself unfavourably with others by completing the following sentences.
… is better at … than me
… is a better … than me
As you say them to yourself pay attention to how you feel about them, is there a negative or neutral feeling that goes with them? Those sentences can be used as ready made setup phrases for EFT.
- Even though Jack is smarter than me I accept myself and how I feel.
- Even though Jill is slimmer than me I accept myself and how I feel.
How about the flip side? If we think we are better than someone else are we accepting ourself more? I don’t think so. “I am better at soccer than Joe” may be just be a statement of fact, however if you need to be better than him at soccer to feel good about yourself then you don’t accept yourself just as you are. If your wellbeing is dependent on being better than others or the recognition of that fact by others then you don’t accept yourself. In a more extreme form this way of thinking can lead to arrogance and snobbery.
To see if this kind of thinking might be true for you try completing these sentences for yourself.
I am better than … at …
I am a better … than …
… is a worse … than me
… is worse … than me
Notice in your examples how you would feel if this statement wasn’t true or was reversed. For example: if I swap “I am better at soccer than Joe” for “Joe is better at soccer than me” do I have a reaction to that statement? If you are comfortable with yourself in this aspect of your life then I won’t matter how Joe performs if you are comfortable with yourself, if you are dependent on beating Joe that’s a different matter.
A charge on any of these statements may give you a hint at further work.
If you work on all these comparisons that affect your self acceptance you may find yourself outside the previous pecking order, not better or worse than anyone else but outside those comparisons, your ‘rightful place’ in the world. You might feel a little bit apprehensive about being outside your rightful place, if so then that’s something else to tap on.