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Comparison Breeds Self-Aggression

“Comparison breeds self-aggression.”

I heard Tami Simon say that phrase during an interview. She was talking about social media. When we go out into the world and offer our talents, gifts, skills, and passions, it is a risk. Who does she think she is? What does he think he’s doing? Everybody knows you can’t do THAT.

The term I hear from younger people is “imposter syndrome.” While they aren’t the first generation to experience it, they gave it a name.

When we go on Facebook and see what people want us to know about them, most people’s lives look wonderful. Smiling travelers, beautiful food, sunsets, gatherings, and happy people. None of that is bad. It’s nice. And, when things aren’t going along perfectly, it can turn on us and we can wonder what we’re doing wrong?

Self-aggression is a strong phrase. We live in a very comparative culture. We worship celebrities and sports figures. They aren’t represented as real people. Most of us are doing the best we can to make a positive difference in the world by showing up and offering our talents, skills, and ourselves.

When I first started as a self-employed coach, I saw many articles in the coaching journals suggesting that “If you don’t make 6 figures, coaching is a hobby.” I wondered back then what that means. Is income the sole measurement of success and impact?

Tami Simon’s phrase came in the context of an interview with a brilliant Buddhist leadership coach. She works with the Institute for Compassionate Leadership. ICL serves to empower socially conscious, self-aware, and compassionate leaders by educating aspiring change-makers in meditation, community organizing, and 21st century leadership skills built for today's workplace environment.

I’m not promoting a specific approach to making a positive difference in the world. There are many powerful models of support in the coaching profession.

I am promoting the truth that we must continually do our own work within. Deep self-awareness isn’t for everyone. It takes commitment, practice, support, courage, and willingness. And, self-compassion.

Ewam Garden of a Thousand Buddhas. Arlee, Montana

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