Comparison, The Thief of Self-Worth

Apr 18, 2024

It had been a few years since our bankruptcy and we had tried, with very little success to get traction in creating another business. A highly successful mentor whom I had deep respect for, offered to fly out to work with me and meet with potential clients.

As I prepared for our two-day visit, my mind became riveted on the fact that the only car I had to drive my mentor around to our appointments, was an old Buick that my mother-in-law gave us.

As I imagined taking him in that car to meet potential clients, mental catastrophe set in! I was already feeling embarrassed, what would people think? What would my mentor think?

In this state of mind, I told my wife that I was going to rent a car while he was with us. She, in her clarity, said, “NO! Ask him if he is comfortable riding in the car with you.”

As I think of that experience I am reminded that research shows that the number two cause for low self-esteem dialogue is the subconscious habit of thinking in comparison.

In comparison we use our physical attributes—the things we own, wear, and do, and how we do them as a measurement to determine our self-worth. And even as Dave Blanchard has said, “this habit of thinking might want you to believe you are your ‘things’.”

That is where I was with the “old Buick”. In my mind, my worth and identity were what the car represented—functional, but not good enough, a “hand-me-down”, and a reflection of my inability to create desired success.

The “old Buick” was not enough and so I was not enough, and this emotional/mental comparison drove me to put on the appearance that “I am enough” by wanting to rent a car that reflected success.

It strikes me that we live in a world where we are constantly told through social media, what success looks like, feels like, and acts like in business and personal life.

When we consume this narrative, it can trigger us into the “old Buick” Identity and dialogue. We can move under the microscope of a judgment of others and what they have and do or criticism of who we are and what we have and do. Gratitude is absent in this internal dialogue.

When we are absent gratitude for what we have and are, the lens of comparison can suffocate our clarity, and self-worth, and diminish the value of the price we have paid to become who we are, have, and what we can do.

The day I picked up my mentor in the old Buick, (my wife won the discussion) I told him of my struggle with driving him around in the car. He looked at the car and then me and asked, “Does it run okay and is it paid for”? I said, “yes”. He then said, “That’s good enough for me.”

I now see the true value of the old Buick. It took us (people of infinite value) to where we needed to go to bring value to others, not to impress them.

Re-centering into the habit of gratitude can remove the chase of finding self-value in things and accomplishments.

If it would serve you to quiet the subconscious noise of comparison for yourself or your team, please set up a time to talk.