Bitten by the ‘Comparing Bug’

Ouch! That old  but familiar “comparing bug” stung me again.  Yikes!  It feels like a swarm of ants— only 100 times more irritating, nipping at my self-esteem.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen him.  I first recognized the “comparing bug” and comprehended his destructive power in my early twenties.  With a few simple techniques I released myself from his power to experience years of comparison-free living.

But just last week, he turned up again.  My first “comparing bug  nibble” was triggered by a comment shared  by another couple who invited our  family  for dinner.  Then I unexpectedly got bit again by the  “comparing bug” when a client I hadn’t seen for a while came in pregnant in her 40s.

If we let him, the “comparing bug” will gnaw our soul, leaving us unsatisfied with ourselves and our lives.  But the “comparing bug” can actually become our friend, if we know how to tame him.

We compare areas that are tender and not where we want them to be.  Striving for Christian perfection is a lifelong process.  When the “comparing bug” bites it’s giving us a clue on where we need to focus our efforts and attention.

Tune in next time when I share the remedy to the “comparing bug”—  benchmarking.  Use benchmarking to turn those jealous twangs into a lovely music that will guide your path to Godly excellence.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Be honest and aware about when you compare yourself to others, for deep inside it holds the secret to your greater happiness.

Frog Fat

In a heroic act of motherly love, consistent with my philosophy of taking every opportunity to get into my kids’ element, I volunteered to help the kids dissect frogs in my 6th grader’s science class.  The aversion to anything medical, needles and beyond, originates genetically.  The first time in the presence of a cadaver, my father passed out.  He immediately transferred from medical school to the psychology program.  Fortunately at my frog dissecting debut, unlike a couple of  white-faced students who had to sit down during the exercise to avoid tumbling to the floor, I survived to curiously explore God’s creations with the kids.

Ian and friends cut and pulled back the skin and muscle to expose the abdominal cavity.  The science teacher Mrs. Sauber directed the kids to identify the organs in the frog , comparing to the diagram in their handout.  The kids found the liver, the heart, the gallbladder, and more. Our group initially mistook the banana-like structures that we say for the lungs, later to find out they were fat deposits.

The amount of  space the fat took up surprised me, as we lifted the organs and found more “fat bananas”.  Peering at neighboring frogs, we noticed the amount of fat varied.

I’m not a herpetologist (someone who studies amphibians)  and I don’t know the optimal amount of fat a frog should have.  But I can see how easy it would be for the fat to crowd out the essential organs, making it cluttered and crowded, maybe even impeding proper breathing.

I could easily equate this to the fat I feel like I am shedding as a result of working Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University alongside with implementing the meal planning ideas from dietician Diane Greenleaf.  Frog fat and human clutter are not that different as you will see in my next blog.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Is the “fat” in your life crowding out what is most important?

Saint with a Capital “S”

One of the gifts of my coaching experience with my coach Ryan was the tool he shared with us to overcome limiting beliefs. Self-limiting imposed restrictions on ourselves, blocking us from becoming who we and how God has created us to be in favor of a much lower, less lustrous version of ourselves.  I’ve utilized his  Dicken’s Technique with myself and my clients and testify to its potency.  Based on the Charles Dickens character Scrooge, the process takes you to a dark unconscious place displaying in full color animation the potential ugly outcome of clinging to your self-limiting belief.  You respond by running towards the healthier path and mindset on both  conscious and unconscious levels.

After using it, I encountered a trigger that would have typically spiraled me into self-pity and unproductive rumination around one of my limiting beliefs I am working to replace with an empowering one.  But the Dicken’s Techhnique image I created at the bottom of the exercise always snaps me into a place transcending  the insurmountable obstacles I thought I was saddled with.

One day, as if the Holy Spirit was my new coach speaking to me, I heard myself uttering my ultimate self-limiting belief:  that I could never be a saint with a capital “s”.  Of course, I planned to be a saint because that meant I made it; I got in; I will be invited to the final and most important, universal, eternal party.

But I was comfortable being a second-tier saint, the person people liked and thought was a good person, not a John Paul II or Mother Teresa who mark their Christianity on the world.  Is coasting into heaven really my best self?  Is that really what God wants for my life?  Or am I letting the ultimate self-limiting belief that I can’t ever be a saint with a capital “s” hold me back?

As we celebrate the Easter season, challenge yourself to become a saint with a capital “S”.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Are you limiting how holy you can become and the impact you can have on the world?

Leading with Weakness

Photo from

In reference to his election as pope, Pope Francis joked at a roast with his fellow cardinals and said, “May God forgive you for what you have done”. Humor, humility, and leading with weakness have always been effective tools for leading and effectively motivating people. There’s something about displaying your humanity that gently encourages others to lay bare their souls to let the light heal their ailments.

In the therapy world, however, an early supervisor cautioned us not to self-disclose too fast and freely, as it is a cheap and often vain way to promote joining.  (Who likes going to a therapist who talks about themselves too much anyway!)  But for a specific purpose, calculated self-disclosure in and out of the therapy session powers the healing process.

In my coaching business, in addition to being completely open about my faith, by deliberately revealing my struggles and victories I aim to lower people’s resistance, encouraging greater awareness and honesty about their strengths and weaknesses. Creating emotional and spiritual safety guides people to accept themselves exactly where they are.  Only from that place can they join in our fraternal effort to let God transform all of us into the beautiful images of Him as He created us to be.

I always want to help. But some uglies are a little easier to disclose than others, as you will see in my next blog.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  When is leading with your weakness actually leading with your strength?

Falling Short (Part 3)

Discouragement takes root when we fail to celebrate the mini successes in our lives and we let the secular world define for us what is successful.  For example, while stay-home moms love spending time with their children, they may feel at times burdened with the demands of this role and the feeling of losing a sense of self that sometimes accompanies limited adult contact.  But there’s no need to fall in this trap.  In our previous post, we listed steps 1 and 2 to  keep discouragement at bay. Below are two other steps you can take to triumph over discouragement.

Step 3: Celebrate mini-successes – Take time each day to be grateful for the beautiful parts of your life.  Even the not-so-pleasant aspects can be reframed as sacrifices you choose to make to be of service to others.  Acknowledge your role and your choices.  People who feel like victims don’t take ownership of the decisions they actually are making directly or by default in their lives.
Step 4: Get into action – Discouragement is a mixed bag. Sometimes we’re discouraged about things that aren’t real.  Sometimes we’re discouraged because things really are not working as we would like.  We want them to be different.  Getting into action produces results that extinguish discouragement.  If we are bothered by our weight, reach out for support to help us take better care of ourselves and our bodies.  It’s sitting in our lives when things aren’t working without thoughtful action that becomes a pool for negative emotions.

So, diagnose the source of your discouragement and give yourself a self-corrective gift.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip:  Don’t indulge discouragement, but rather take action.  See it as the Satan’s stealthy weapon to  get you off track.