Wake Up To The Joy of Not Comparing Yourself — We are all unique individuals and have our own life path.

Mark Twain famously wrote, “Comparison is the death of joy.” We’re constantly told that we should all stop comparing ourselves to others. Sounds great in theory, but how can we do that?

Social comparison has gotten a bad rap. The truth is, comparison is a natural human tendency. It’s one of the ways that we measure ourselves; we try to get a sense of how we are doing against how others are doing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it all depends on how we relate to it. In fact, comparison and jealousy can show you areas where you need to start fully participating in your own life. After all, when you are aligned with your own path and focused on your own life, you no longer look left and right, or second guess yourself.

But most of us use comparison negatively, to only turn on ourselves and feel like we are losing. This addictive pattern can get triggered anytime we see others who have what we think we want. For example, if we’re not in a relationship and see couples around us who look so happy and in love, it’s easy for envious thoughts to come up and to start to believe that we fall short. We undermine ourselves and we feel bad by thinking that we can’t have the things we want.

One option is to observe our envy and use it to dig deeper. We can say to ourselves, “OK, what this person has is something I would really like to manifest in my own life. Now what do I need to affirm or what actions can I take to bring me closer to it?” Ultimately, negative comparison is the lazy man’s approach to life. When you think, “Other people have something and I’ll never get it,” you give yourself permission to not do the inner and outer work required to have it.

If you have a tendency to use comparison to feel like you are somehow losing, you are holding the remote in your hands and you have the ability to change the channel. It’s a choice that’s available to you: You can start, at any moment, to feel like a winner. I was recently listening to a TedTalk by my friend Tristan Harris, an ex-Google employee who founded Time Well Spent, a movement to connect technology with our humanity. Tristan’s findings, and the work of many researchers, have confirmed that social media can amplify negative comparison. So ask yourself, when you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook: Are you seeking evidence that everyone else is living a better/happier/more successful life?

The minute we compare ourselves negatively, we reinforce a part of our brains that tells us we are less than or that we are lacking in something. Of course, it’s a part of the human condition to experience the feeling that we are not enough. We are all unique individuals and have our own life path.

Why is this mind-set so hard to break? One reason is that we rarely compare ourselves to the people who have far less than us. But if we want to overcome the negative comparison cycle, the number one tool is what I call “radical gratitude.”

That concept really came into focus for me recently when I was speaking at the World Domination Summit in Portland, a gathering of people from all over the world who are doing good things to help others in their lives. I had the opportunity to hear a fellow speaker, Scott Harrison, the Founder and CEO of charity: water, give an inspiring talk. Scott told story after story about what people have to go through in many parts of the world just to get clean water. Imagine being a mother and having to protect your child from water with leeches and debris in it—water that causes disease and makes people sick and even die.

When we’re redirecting our thoughts from what we lack to what we have, we can start with our most basic needs. Most of us not only have access to clean water, but hot water and cold water—not to mention the many options of bottled, sparkling, or even vitamin water. It may sound simple, but instead remembering that you’re being taken care of in the most fundamental ways can help shift you from “lack” mode.

But we compare ourselves to people who we think have better jobs, better looks, better love relationships, more success. And sometimes we’re right—the grass may be greener on the other side…. but, really, who cares? And more importantly, do you really want to put your energy into what other people have, rather than putting all that focus in creating your own life? Once you start to see the comparison habit as a distraction from your life—and the person you can become—you may feel more willing to redirect your thoughts and focus on your unique gifts.

I was very blessed to be raised by a mother who was so passionate about people standing in their uniqueness. Growing up, I was a terrible student and hated math; I prayed every day that my math teacher would retire. I was only concerned with the arts and going to my dance classes. My sister Arianna, on the other hand, was a brilliant student who got all A’s. School was torturous for me, but instead of comparing me to my sister, my mom would say to me: “We didn’t bring you here for the math, we brought you here for the joy.” Can you believe it?: Years and years later, I would end up writing a book called Wake Up To The Joy Of You. My mother’s point was that we all have our own paths; focusing on your own is the surest way to fulfill your life’s purpose.

When you dwell on what other people have, you’re putting energy into their life and ignoring your own, which derails you from your own destiny. You’re essentially taking the slowest-moving train to your destination—making stops in the village of Self Pity, Doubt, Despair, and Low Self-Worth. Wouldn’t you rather be taking the express Amtrak Acela that puts you full speed toward your own dreams coming true?

As an actress, I suffered from my own form of self-doubt, and I experienced many times the cost of comparison. When another actor got the part, I would be filled with feelings of inadequacy. I would rob myself of my joy and stop looking at other opportunities which didn’t allow me to blossom the way that I was meant to. This unhappiness ultimately led me to a soul-searching path and helped my find my true calling. I had to experience my own value regardless of whether I had an acting career or not.

What we forget during times of comparison is that what is ours will find us if we trust and if we are true to ourselves. If you catch yourself, don’t judge yourself. Observe what is going on and tell yourself “There is that bad habit again.” When you forget this and you fall into the habbit of comparison, you can turn to one of favorite quotes by the Sufi poet Imam al-Shafi’i: “My heart is at ease knowing that what is meant for me will never miss me, and that which misses me was never meant for me.” It’s then that you will know that you will be at peace with who you are and what you have, to create more of what is yours to experience.

Wake Up to the Joy of You

j@jessicarthompson.comWake Up To The Joy of Not Comparing Yourself — We are all unique individuals and have our own life path.
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A New Dawn Presents: A Evening with Agapi Stassinopoulos May3rd @ 6:30PM — Bedminster Township, NJ

Please join us as we rekindle our joy and reconnect with our hearts, our creative selves and share an inspiring evening of Wisdom, Love and Laughter.

“An evening spent with Agapi brings joy like no other.” Dawn Jiosi

WHEN:
May 3rd at 6:30PM

WHERE:
Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club
811 Rattlesnake Bridge Rd, Bedminster Township, NJ 07921

RESERVE MY SEATS NOW

j@jessicarthompson.comA New Dawn Presents: A Evening with Agapi Stassinopoulos May3rd @ 6:30PM — Bedminster Township, NJ
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A Facebook Live Event with Sarah Gibbons, founder of Conscious Working Mama, and Agapi Stassinopoulos 3/17 @ 9:30am

Join Conscious Working Mama clients and other moms for an inspiring and vivacious conversation with Agapi Stassinopoulos. Agapi Stassinopoulos is the sister of Arianna Huffington and recently released her fourth book, Wake Up to the Joy of You.

Agapi and Sarah will talk about how to:

  • Ignite your joy and learn to live in the fullness of your heart.
  • Cultivate the building blocks of self-care.
  • Confront common obstacles to happiness that modern moms face
  • Trust and express your creativity

Join us on 3/17 @ 9:30am PT. See you there! Click on the event link and join… https://www.facebook.com/events/1277073502370087/

j@jessicarthompson.comA Facebook Live Event with Sarah Gibbons, founder of Conscious Working Mama, and Agapi Stassinopoulos 3/17 @ 9:30am
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Talk and Guided Meditation — Unplug Meditation Los Angeles FEB 25 @ 2PM

unplug meditation
Join me at Unplug Meditation where I will give an inspiring talk about how we can live in our calmness for a happier life and how to fill ourselves up with goodness. There will be a guided meditation and interactive exercise to tap into our joy and leave with a joy buddy so everyone can leave feeling lifted and connected. Book signing at the end of the event!

Feb. 25th
2 PM – 4PM
(Free Event)

Unplug Meditation
12401 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 101
Los Angeles, CA 90025

RSVP on the Unplug Meditation class schedule, scroll to Feb. 25th 2pm-4pm and you will see the event sign up:
Click Here to RSVP Now

j@jessicarthompson.comTalk and Guided Meditation — Unplug Meditation Los Angeles FEB 25 @ 2PM
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Wake Up to the Joy of You Book Launch & Celebration — Wanderlust Hollywood FEB 17 @ 7PM

WanderLust Hollywood

I am so excited to let you know that I am coming to LA to do a wonderful event and book signing on February 15th with Wanderlust Hollywood to celebrate my new book Wake Up to the Joy of You.

I would love for you to join me for an inspiring talk, guided meditation and an interactive exercise to help you find your joy triggers and leave with a joy buddy! I can’t wait to see you all there to ignite our joy and of course there’s bound to be dancing!

Wednesday, February 15th
7 PM – 9 PM PST
Register Now

Wanderlust Hollywood
1357 Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90028

j@jessicarthompson.comWake Up to the Joy of You Book Launch & Celebration — Wanderlust Hollywood FEB 17 @ 7PM
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‘Don’t Miss the Moment’: A Tribute to Our Mother

[My mother’s] life was filled with giving moments. Wherever she was — in an elevator, a taxi, an airplane, a parking lot, a supermarket, a bank — she would reach out to others. Once, a stranger admired the necklace she was wearing; my mother took it off and gave it to her. When the astonished woman asked, “What can I give you in return?” my mother said, “It’s not a trade, darling, it’s an offering.” Toward the end of her life, she would always arrive at the doctor’s office with a basket of fruit or a box of chocolates for the nurses. She knew that in an office where patients brought their anxiety and pain, the gesture would help change the atmosphere. Her tenacity in breaking through the barriers that people put up around their hearts was both enchanting and comical. If one of the nurses was, as she put it, “on automatic” and didn’t take the time to be friendly or personal, my mother would whisper to me, “This one doesn’t want to budge,” and would start looking for a way to give her extra attention. She might produce a little treat from her purse — a package of nuts, a special kind of chocolate — and give it to the woman, knowing she would get a smile. Giving was a way of being for her.

Agapi‘Don’t Miss the Moment’: A Tribute to Our Mother
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Work-Life Integration: The Power of Daily Practices

My mother would often say to my sister, Arianna, and me: “Take care of your capital.” She wasn’t referring to money or power. For her, the real capital was YOU, and you had to look after yourself. She would preach about sleep, eating well, exercising, interacting with energizing and non-toxic people, and taking time to reflect and reconnect with ourselves. She was adamant about it.

Unfortunately, most people haven’t had the luxury of my mother’s advice. Most of us operate feeling depleted, stressed, and overwhelmed. When you type the phrase “why am I” in Google, it automatically suggests, “why am I so tired?” We take better care of our smartphones than ourselves; but just as our smartphones need to be charged, so do we! It has become harder to know when our resources are depleted because we have numbed ourselves and have become very good at ignoring the warning signs.

We have put ourselves on the wrong track, forgetting the essential part of our lives, which is our wellbeing. We have left ourselves behind and allowed the endless demands of work and life — in the form of deadlines, emails and endless meetings — to sweep us away.

Belgian philosopher Pascal Chabot once called burnout “civilization’s disease.” It is a delusion promoted by our culture that we have to shut off our humanity in order to be efficient and it is costing us our health let alone billions of dollars in health care costs. So we have to interrupt the insanity and start prioritizing the core values of what our lives are about. We have to ask the fundamental question: What is a good life and what would we have to do differently to make that good life a daily reality? We all know what we need to do. The question is how to give ourselves permission to start taking microscopic steps and building keystone habits to create the life we want and replace the life we settle for.

What we really value, what defines us, what enhances our well-being, and what really makes us thrive, is often out of sync with how we conduct our lives and what we spend our time doing.

There has been a lot of buzz around the concept of work-life balance, but it is a myth! And if you try to aspire to it, you will always feel as if you are failing. So you might as well delete that phrase from your vocabulary; it might be better to replace it with work-life integration, a concept that Padmasree Warrior — CTO of Cisco — embraces. It’s wiser to start thinking about our lives as a whole with an attitude towards thriving, as opposed to just surviving and start discovering and implementing strategies to get you there.

Creating daily practices that restore us back to ourselves is one of the keys to work-life integration. Implementing new daily habits such as: more sleep, a few minutes of meditation before we start our day, putting our devices down one hour before bed, mindful exercise, prayer, reading (yes — actual, real books), or sharing your talents with others to help in areas where they need support or encouragement. As these habits become part of our daily life, we begin to discover that we have more energy for the day. We become more present, better at prioritizing, better at accessing intuition, making smarter decisions and ultimately have more quality time to spend with the people we care about. All these things are possible because we are giving ourselves the opportunity to operate off a surplus instead of a fight or flight mentality. We will be in the driver’s seat, no longer operating on autopilot.

As we tap into the source of our wellbeing, by reinforcing these habits, we can start to experience as if we are in the center of a hurricane and in the hustle and the bustle of our everyday world we can experience that the center is completely still, like the eye in a hurricane.

It is important to build a support system for people at work to reinforce daily habits to care for each other’s well being and make it hard to fall off course. We can then create a culture that is more integrated. This simple skill of the daily practices becomes a huge performance enhancement because people at work are learning to access more of their whole selves when at work and not leaving themselves behind. As we put the spotlight on how vital it is to recharge ourselves, we find that people can generate more mental clarity, alertness, exercise innate wisdom and know when they need to back off and do the things to replenish themselves.

About 70 percent of our time is spent at work, so we are doing a disservice to ourselves to think it is not our life. And so we urgently need some new blueprints to start taking better care of our human capital and why it matters. They must both come under the umbrella of one principle that we need to look at ourselves as whole human beings, where our personal life and work can no longer be fragmented. In doing so, we will create a healthy environment where people will be able to create, inspire, and prosper.

 

 

AgapiWork-Life Integration: The Power of Daily Practices
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The Power Of Daily Practices

Creating daily practices that restore us back to ourselves is one of the keys to work-life integration. Implementing new daily habits such as: more sleep, a few minutes of meditation before we start our day, putting our devices down one hour before bed, mindful exercise, prayer, reading (yes — actual, real books), or sharing your talents with others to help in areas where they need support or encouragement. As these habits become part of our daily life, we begin to discover that we have more energy for the day. We become more present, better at prioritizing, better at accessing intuition, making smarter decisions and ultimately have more quality time to spend with the people we care about. All these things are possible because we are giving ourselves the opportunity to operate off a surplus instead of a fight or flight mentality. We will be in the driver’s seat, no longer operating on autopilot.

AgapiThe Power Of Daily Practices
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Bridging the Two Worlds: What Happened While Riding Bike 31

Last Saturday morning, I woke up feeling out of sorts. The world was too much with me, to paraphrase William Wordsworth.

I knew I needed time to pause, unplug and recharge — to reconnect with my center, which of course is one of the key elements to how we can all thrive. So I sat down and tried to meditate before going to the gym. However, I felt as though I were in a laundromat, spinning around in the dryer. As much as I tried to center, I couldn’t seem to get to my sweet spot — the place I call my portable paradise that connects me with my calm and my joy. I don’t like going out into the world feeling that way. So I went back to bed and started to pray.

I asked for help from the one who knows me best, my inner knower, and I put one hand on my belly and one on my heart and very gently I started to say to myself: “Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me. Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me. Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me.” I repeated it over and over again in a heartfelt way.

Things started to quiet down inside of me. About 10 minutes later, I had dropped deeper into myself and felt a wave of peace come upon me. The dryer came to a standstill! I put on my gym clothes and headed to my favorite spin class, called Cycletherapy, which my dear friend, Craig Hunter, pours his heart, body and soul into.

The class takes you through the seven chakras (energy centers of the body) while you spin, connecting you to your centers and the elements of fire, water, air and earth. Absolute bliss! Spinning has always been a connection for me to my joy and my creative spirit. In fact, I wrote most of my first book while spinning.

While I spin, the linear world stops and a creative mindset comes alive and awareness starts to show up. And there, while spinning on bike 31, while my body was going through the intensity of the cycling, I had an awareness. I saw the duality of what we all deal with in our lives and I started to write this blog in my head!

We live in two worlds — the world of spirit, the invisible world, and the world of matter, the visible word. We all try to find a way to bridge the two worlds so they can somehow converge, until we feel no separation between them. We all try to navigate this journey and find myriad ways to do it. If, however, we have a clear intention to do something every day, to increase this awareness of the invisible world and make it more connected to us, we will find that everything that involves our physical existence can begin to soften and become more clear. It’s as if we sharpen the lens and we start to see with new eyes. Our perception changes, the veil lifts and we see and understand beyond the tangible world.

I believe that behind all that we do, we all crave this connection. If we don’t have it, we are bound to leave ourselves empty, with a sense of discontent, because the world of spirit is really the wind beneath our wings. Sometimes, however, touching into that reality seems more challenging than climbing Mount Kilimanjaro barefoot in the snow, because we put so much stuff between us and our spirit. We have created conditions that are very blinding. We have come to totally identify with the worldly part of ourselves and have lost sight of our true spiritual nature.

There is no class in the school system that teaches us how to navigate this journey. No class called “Who You Truly Are 101,” that prepares us to go live in the world with the awareness of who we are. Instead, there are countless distractions that often leave us empty, and when we go inside to reconnect, we run into a barricaded wall.

The easiest and quickest way to return to who we truly are is to come, present in our hearts, and ask to remember our true nature. That, in essence, is the awareness I had while spinning on bike 31.

That Saturday morning, while sweating and tapping into my spirit, I connected back to my own inner rhythm. I dropped my agenda for what I wanted to do that day. I allowed myself to have an Agapi day, and to enjoy the day instead of getting to the next thing and the next.

The world seems so sweet to me when that happens. I feel my childlike quality that knows its breathing rhythm come to the surface, and I can exhale and smile. Everything that happened during the day after that had a natural flow of connected moments.

It is amazing what happens when we unite with our spirit and ride that wave. It feels like surfing with the wind at our back. And to sum it up, all it took, my friends, was my willingness to say, “The world is too much upon me and I can’t get back to me. I need help.” In 10 minutes, the latch of the gate lifted and I got back in.

One of the songs that Craig was playing during the spinning class was “When I Ruled the World” by Coldplay. And I thought, “If I ruled the world, I would make that the No. 1 rule of the world: that everyone practice something daily that brings his or her spirit into the world and connects us back to who we are — so we can make it more visible, allowing each person to find what that is for himself or herself. Then thriving becomes a natural way of being, unique with each person’s stamp.” That is what I would do.

But I don’t rule the world, although I do rule my own world, so I can do my part and write a blog and share what I do to build my bridge between the two worlds.

Would you share with us what you do to bridge the worlds? What magic tools do you have in your pocket that you can share with us?

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

Visit Agapi’s website Unbindingtheheart.com.

AgapiBridging the Two Worlds: What Happened While Riding Bike 31
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