How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

One sure way to undermine your confidence is to compare yourself to others.

When you compare yourself to other people are you asking yourself "What skills, strengths, qualities and wisdom do I have that I don't see in others?" or are you asking yourself questions more like "What do they have that I don't? "Why are they so much (More attractive/better/ smarter/ happier/wiser/funnier) than me?" I suspect I know. 

 If comparing yourself to others is a problem for you then most likely you are asking the latter questions. Your questions are actively looking for flaws or failures that you have. Think about it. “Why is she is so much smarter than me?” This question shines a light on this persons ‘smartness’ and in doing so puts all your other skills, strengths and qualities in the dark. Also in this comparison you are assuming that you can measure ‘smartness’, when in fact it is foolish to think that you can accurately compare one persons qualities to another. What we see on the outside has little to do with what is going on inside, or where that person is at on their journey.

For example, take one mid level manager who can captivate an audience with his
presentation skills, and take another who fumbles through a heavily detailed slide deck and bores the audience with his monotone delivery.

On the surface, these two comparisons may seem fair but beneath the surface perhaps our first manager had a fear of presenting and has thrown himself in to learning all there is to learn about how to present. He actually has crippling nerves each time he has to deliver a presentation but he has invested the time and energy getting this in hand so that it doesn’t become a problem for him. Manager 2 has never done any presentation training and will continue to stumble through his work. The comparison is unfair. Manager one has earnt his charisma, it isn’t a god given talent, he’s worked hard, practised and is still on his journey.

Comparing yourself to others kills the joy in your achievements. If you look hard enough, you will always find someone who is ‘doing better’ than you or ‘has more’ than you. It’s a big world out there, how do you define who gets to be on top of it?

What does success mean? What are you actually comparing? Let’s take money, this is one that comes up a lot. Someone you used to go to school with, shares the same career stream as you but has promoted 2 levels above you and is earning a great deal more than you. You look at her and feel envious. But is she happy? Would she trade her wealth for a family? Perhaps she is desperately trying to keep up the pace of the lifestyle she's created and hates every minute of it.  Would she rather be in a low stress role but now can’t afford to step down because she’s tied into living a life that her current salary allows.

You have both made different choices, that doesn’t make one person better than another. You can never have the full picture when you compare yourself to others. Don’t take away the joy of your achievements by focusing on what you think are the achievements of others.

Each time you focus on someone else you take your focus off your own journey and
therefore waste your time. There is nothing you can do about where someone else is in their life, but you can control and influence what happens in yours.

So, what do you do about your habit of comparing yourself to others?

Here are my 5 top tips

1) Stay focused
Focus on your own goals and what you want and need out of life. If you look to others be it for inspiration, guidance or ideas. If you catch yourself feeling envious then redirect your attention and efforts to your own journey.

2) Appreciate others
Learn to be happy for people who you see as having the success you desire. Learn about them, what did they do to get there? What challenges did they face? How did they overcome these? What is their life like now that they have this ‘success’. Envy puts you in a place of not being good enough, whereas appreciation leads you to be OK with what others have and sharing in their efforts and their joy.

3) Reduce your social media time
There are too many ways to indulge yourself in the art of comparison and if you’re a
comparison junkie then maybe it’s time to detox from social media. As you scroll through, look at the posts or pictures that give you negative emotion and unfollow or unsubscribe. You don’t need that in your life and if you’re going to stay focused then detox is a good place to start.

4) Accept where you are
Learn to be OK with where you are today. Draw a line. Today is day 1. You can achieve
whatever you want to achieve with the right support, guidance and mindsets. Maybe things have happened which have led to you being where you are now, maybe you’ve made decisions which in hindsight you wouldn’t have made. That’s OK. Take what you have to learn from these and move on. Focus on what you DO want and accept the journey you’ve had. It will all be part of your story

5) Stop ‘shoulding’ all over yourself
Every time you hear the word should I want you to ask yourself “who says?” The word
‘should’ is someone else's opinion of you/your situation. Maybe that’s a parent, maybe it’s your perception of society but ‘should’ points to external pressure not internal motivation. Delete should and instead insert ‘could’ then choose. “You should go to the gym more” becomes “You could go to the gym more”. Do you want to? What would that do for you? Be clear on what’s yours and what’s someone elses


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