Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of Recovery Talk brought to you by The SHAIR Podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about comparing ourselves to other. Do you ever find yourself comparing yourself to somebody else and then do you ever stop to think about the feelings and the emotions that are going on inside your body as you’re doing this. When you compare yourself to someone else, then you’re really setting yourself up for some unrealistic expectations, for resentment, for sadness, depression, anger, depending on who it is you’re comparing yourself to. Now, there’s the other side of the coin of course, where you’re feeling better than, superior. For example, you’re driving down the street and you see somebody smoking crack at 6:00 in the morning that looks like they haven’t taken a shower in a month. Then you think, “Wow. Well, isn’t that a shame.” This sense of superiority kind of creeps up on you.
We compare ourselves to people all the time either consciously or subconsciously and it immediately evokes a response. We have an emotional response to what we feel and what we think about this person. This can send you into a tailspin, a rollercoaster of feelings and emotions that, for all intents and purposes, could send you back out to drinking or using. I bring this up recently because I’ve caught myself doing it. It evokes a lot of emotions. It does exactly what I just described. It sends me into a tailspin where I go up, I go down and ultimately what comes up must come down.
Let’s talk about where I am today. I’m the host of the SHARE podcast. I have thousands of listeners that tune in every week to listen to the show. I starting a thriving community for recovering addicts, the SHARE podcast Private Group. The way I produce the show is 100% unique and tailored to my style, my personality and my take on recovery. Because of that, I have all my wonderful, loyal listeners that tune in every week. You would think that because of all this, that I would have a deep sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, gratitude but then as I start to change different aspects of the show, for example, these little mini episodes. They’ve been so hard for me to do.
As soon as I turn on the mike and start recording and there isn’t a guest in front of me then the imposter syndrome kicks in and limiting beliefs kick in and fear kicks in. I start thinking that I’m not good enough and who would want to listen to anything I have to say. This little itty, bitty, shitty committee starts rambling and this internal dialogue starts to happen inside my mind. All of a sudden I’m thinking to myself, “Man, well, you’re never going to be as good as Tommy Rose and you’re never going to have as many people listening to you as Rich Roll. You’re not even a vegan. You’re certainly not an ultra-marathon runner. Who do you think you are? You’re obviously not good enough. I don’t know what we were thinking.”
Now, some of you may be listening to this and actually laughing but this is the shit that goes on in my mind and that was just a few seconds. Imagine of this internal dialogue just going nonstop. Every time I press to record one of these little mini episodes, it just starts and I get stuck. Sometimes the best way to get rid of that poison, to get rid of that stinking thinking is to share about it. I thought we could do this together because it’s a mindset. It’s nothing more than just a simple mindset. The thought comes in and I judge that thought as truth or false. It’s my decision. I can either believe that I’m not as good as or I can believe that this thought has no merit. If I compare myself to Tony Robbins or Rich Roll or John Lee Dumas, God forbid, I’d be able to host a podcast as good as John Lee Dumas. This is just crazy thoughts.
The question is, how many of you out there are comparing yourselves to somebody else? God made me the way that I am for a reason and I wouldn’t be able to host a SHARE podcast or have produced the SHARE podcast or connected with all the thousands of people that I have connected with over the last two years if I was somebody else. I used to hate my name, Omar Pinto. Imagine being Omar Pinto in high school. I grew up in California, San Luis Obispo, the land of the John Smiths and the Mary Smiths and here is Omar Pinto. I remember when the teacher used to call my name and I would wish that my name was anything other than Omar Pinto. I would sit in high school and I would compare myself to everybody. “This guy’s smarter than me, this guy’s taller than me, this guy is faster than me, that guy is stronger than me. He’s better looking than me. Actually everybody’s better looking than me.” I would spend my entire day comparing myself to everybody else.
Low self-esteem, low self-worth. Who was I? What is my value? Do I have any value? It’s a crazy merry-go-round ride. When I first got clean and sober, man, I would have traded places with anybody. Right now I compare myself to Tony Robbins and Rich Roll but when I was getting clean and sober, I compared myself to the gardener. “Look at that guy. Man, he’s out there cutting the lawn, out in the sun. He’s in shape, living his life on his terms. He’s got his own business. Look at me. I’m going to fucking meetings and I’m an emotional wreck and I lost my wife. Will I ever be able to hold a job again?” I start to compare myself. It just becomes this natural evolution when fear sets in and I am not comfortable in my own skin or with who I am, then I start to look outside myself.
The answers are always within. The answers are always within. Who I am is not only good enough, I’m perfect because this is how my higher power created me. It is my purpose to discover what it is that I am on this earth to do. That is not possible if I am so busy comparing myself to everybody else, putting myself down, feeling sorry for myself. That consumes all of my time. My time should be spent trying to become the best version of myself, learning what my purpose is and then heading in that direction. Forget about everybody else. That’s easier said than done because obviously I started this out by telling you about what’s going on in my head. There’s nothing that I can do about the thoughts that come into my mind. Absolutely nothing. The thought comes in, go bang some dope, go smoke some crack, go drink a fifth. That’s the thought that comes in. You’re not good enough, you’re not worthy, and you’ll never amount to anything. They are better than you are.
If you are consciously aware of your state of mind at all times and you’re living in the present, then you can take that thought and I can either react or I can respond to it. If I react to the thought, I am being emotional but if I respond to the thought, then I’m being rational. I can either be emotional or I can be rational but I can’t be both. Now the thought comes in, “God, I’m never going to be as good as that guy.” Then you feel depressed, sad, down. Then you ask yourself, “Wait a minute. What is this feeling? Why am I having this thought?” I analyze it. I take a moment to think about the thought that just came in and the feelings associated with it and now I have a decision to make. If you make the decision that that thought and that feeling is true, then you’re going to react to it, an emotional reactive state. When you take action from an emotional state, then your outcome is completely unpredictable.
If you choose to dismiss it and go, “Oh, my God. There’s my crazy thoughts coming in again, trying to make me feel like a piece of shit. I do. I feel crappy. I feel down because I wish I was so-and-so or I wish I was somebody else.” Then you go, “Wait a minute. That’s bullshit. I’ll never be that person because that person’s already taken.” They are them and I am me and so now I need to stop focusing on that person and start focusing on me. Now let’s go inside. Let’s do some work. How can I be the best version of myself today? In this moment, right now, what can I do right now to feel better? Well, wallowing in self-pity is not going to help but there’s so many self-esteem-building things that we can do in our lives.
Exercise, yoga, meditation, walks in the forest, walks around the block, spending quality time with your family, being with people who care about you and accept you exactly the way you are, eating healthy or finding out, learning how to eat healthier. Taking courses, taking classes that interest you. If you decide that there is a direction that you want to go in and you go, “I think this is the direction that God always intended me to go into. I really love this. I’m passionate about this. Let me learn more about this.” Then that takes you from that thought of I should be like somebody else into how do I become the best version of me and start heading in the direction that God has intended me to be in. That’s my purpose. My purpose in life is x. It’s already predetermined. God has it waiting for you.
You are the only person that can delay the inevitable, the truth about who you are and where you belong and what your contribution is to the people around you. When you make the decision to take that action, then the outcome becomes very different. Instead of moping and feeling sorry for yourself and then maybe just saying, “Fuck it. What’s the point of all this? I’m just going to go get high.” Ultimately you make the decision. You can live in the problem or you can live in the solution. You can choose to accept the thoughts that come into your head as truth or you can challenge them. Take a moment, analyze those thoughts, analyze those feelings and decide for yourself, is that really true? Am I really a piece of shit? Is that guy really better than me? No, it’s bullshit.
This recording is not just for you guys. I live with that little fucking diseased brain every single day. When I wake up in the morning it’s already awake. It’s telling me I’m not good enough, I’m not fast enough, I’m not strong enough. Who the fuck do you think you are? I have to make a conscious decision to think about what the thought is, how it’s making me feel right now and whether or not I’m going to react or respond to this feeling. If I decide to respond instead of react, then I’m going to make a rational decision.
My next action is going to be, “All right. I need to go do something that’s going to get me out of this mindset.” You determine the outcome. If you make the effort to get out of that funk, to get out of that mindset, once you learn how to do that, then you can do it every time it happens. We are amazing, awesome children of God. We are all one and we all serve a specific purpose here on this planet. Our obligation is to find out what that is. It certainly is not to do drugs and kill ourselves. I’ll close with this, a quote from Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
See you then!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.