By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
I don’t know how familiar you are with the use of “itis”. It’s one of my absolute favorite things in the medical profession. I know you probably thought I would say taking care of other people was it, but really, it’s these nerdy, fun things that brings joy to my soul. “Itis” means inflammation and can be added to any word. Seriously. Appendicitis, inflammation of your appendix. Tendonitis, inflammation of your tendon. The real fun is when you start adding it to non-medical terms, hence, today’s diagnosis of comparisonitis, an inflammation of comparison.
President Theodore Roosevelt once said the infamous phrase that “comparison is the thief of joy”. Oh, so true. And, if comparison alone is the thief of joy, comparisonitis is the thief of so much more. (Because, duh, it’s the inflammation of your comparison.) It’s the thief of your dreams and goals. It’s the thief of kindness to others. It’s the thief of feeling good about yourself. It’s the epicenter of self-loathing, self-criticism, self-limiting beliefs. Comparisonitis is robbing you of the best life that you deserve.
Bleck, yuck to all of that.
Cue the superhero music...da ta da daaaa! Never fear, SoulShine is here to save the day with a cure to this life-sucking force of comparisonitis. The positivity potion to bring back the joy and happiness to your life by not only giving you back dreams, hope and inspiration but also those same feelings towards others’ success and happiness. Seems an impossible feat? Not with this awesome strategy and mindset shift, DreamChaser; it’s totally possible.
Here’s the key. Set your own personal record, or as runners like to call it your “PR”, and try to break it. Let me explain. I don’t know if you are familiar with this running strategy. I will admit; I am in fact not a runner. I try and try to embrace running but it’s just not my jam, but rock on for those that are! So, how do I know about this? My son, Ethan, is a cross country runner, which inspired me to see a bigger application for PR in everyday life and not just the running world.
If you are unfamiliar with cross country as I was until last year, it is an interesting sport set up. You are both an individual runner as well as a contributor to the overall team’s success. The interestingness does not stop there, DreamChaser, this is perhaps the most positive and encouraging environment I have ever witnessed. Your effort determines your success on the course and in the sport, and nothing else. You run your first race, which sets your initial time. Then, throughout the season, you work by building your stamina, breathing, and pace with the goal of beating your OWN initial time and setting a new PERSONAL RECORD at the next race. Then, guess what? You just keep repeating this action. Working on what you can control and knowing that you are doing your very best to improve your time. Whether this moves you up in the team or not may be out of your control or individual ability, but improving yourself is 100% in your control. This allows you to be supportive, happy, and joyful of your other teammates' success rather than jealous and angry. This boosts your confidence and belief in yourself, defeating self-loathing and self-limiting beliefs.
You can use this PR strategy to cure your comparisonitis in a similar way:
1. Set something to work for
Pick something on your heart, something you really want in your life that is worth going for!
2. Set you initial timeThat finish line always seems far away when you start, and there are always people that have achieved what you desire already. Before you get too far down the rabbit trail of it being too hard or far away, just start. Take that first step you need to move in the direction of your heart’s desire. Like in a cross country race, this is your initial time. Your first attempt. Your beginning. You have to start somewhere, this is it!
3. Set a new PR
Work to improve your attempt towards your heart’s desire. This progress, no matter how small, will compound over time and move you in the right direction.
4. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat
5. Enjoy the journeyFailures, including plateaus or feeling stuck, will happen. Put in the work and stay the course. Each attempt will make you better. Don’t forget to celebrate the wins!
It’s easy to get caught up in the highlight reel of social media of seeing other people’s achievements. Know what isn't prominent on the highlight reel? The failures, struggles, and work it took to get there. Every single person that has achieved what you desire started at zero, as a novice, a beginner setting their initial record. The reason they got what you want is they stuck with the challenges and obstacles to beat their initial record and set a new PR. Know what else? The only person stopping this race is YOU.
That, DreamChaser, is how you cure comparisonitis, and, for that matter, comparison. By focusing on your own very best effort and improving yourself, your confidence will soar and comparison will be kicked to the curb. Then, and only then, can you see what other people’s success really is...the evidence that if they can do it, so can you. Inspiration, dare I say inspirationitis, instead of comparison.
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.