Shall we talk about comparison?
Every Monday I share what I’m grateful for that week on Instagram and encourage my followers to do the same.
And every time I talk about gratitude I sense the pull of fear: fear it will sound twee and fear that my successful IVF treatment will only serve to trigger someone’s pain when all I want to do is support and empower. Fear that it will be misconstrued as false positivity - to only look for the beauty and good in life and gloss over the grief and sadness. Fear that I will come across as smug and privileged.
I have to use all my tools to acknowledge my fear and get out of my own way so that I can go ahead, and share what I want to share about gratitude in the knowledge that it can genuinely change how you feel about your experience.
So yesterday I shared my gratitude that three years ago this week, a tiny embryo transferred into me is now a walking, talking Frozen obsessed 2 year old madam (and I mean that not in the brothel sense of the word…).
It opened up some gorgeous, positive comments and shares on the Gram, and I always feel so honoured that I can share small parts of my life as well as offer the support and encouragement that I want to.
But it also opened a dialogue about how hard it can be to summon up gratitude when you’ve been trying and trying for many rounds of treatment and it’s not working. Another follower said she just couldn’t feel gratitude right now and she was stuck in a cycle of just feeling ‘gutted’ that other people can just get pregnant and they have to go through so much without any success so far.
It’s horrendous. I know. The pain, the sadness, the gut wrenching sense of injustice. There’s no getting away from it: it sucks bum.
So, what can you do?
I think it’s the same process as always. I think it’s acknowledging the pain and letting it be there. I think it’s crying if you need to. Once the feeling of pain has been acknowledged and validated, I think it’s about the next step - and that’s the bit most people don’t do. But it’s the magic bit. It’s the bit when you do the work, and ask yourself - how can I find peace with this now? I believe the route of so much of the pain I felt was down to comparison.
Last year, I had an amazing conversation with Lucy Sheridan, the Comparison Coach. She said, when I was asking her about her route to starting her particular brand of comparison coaching and why she specialised in it: she realised when she was heading down into a comparison spiral on social media, she was just thinking and feeling herself into this state. And so, if it was possible to think and feel her way into comparison, would it be possible to think and feel her way out of it?
Through trial and error, she found she could. I found the same.
We all do it guys, we allll do it. I am a work in progress just as much as anyone, but clarity builds and grows the more I spend focussing on what I want my life to look and feel like every day. The sort of clarity where I really do see the way things can be: easeful, gentle - where pain and sadness are given their space and healing is paramount - but where development, growth and positivity are at the top of the list and are simply your default setting.
I’m going to be bold and brave and say, today, that I know it is possible to feel calm, content and completely whole, before you know whether or not fertility treatment is going to work, the more time you spend on your own self development and ending comparison.
Let's talk about it more on a Live later. I'll pop on to Instagram at 8pm and will be in the Facebook group too; see you there.
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