Physically, intellectually, personally, and professionally, people – especially women – have a horrible habit that is self-defeating and destructive to your goals.
It’s likely that you do it as well. You might not even realize that you do. Comparing yourself to others is an insidious practice that gradually grows out of control. It rarely has a positive effect.
For most of us, these comparisons begin in childhood. It takes the form of random contrasts about children via innocent statements from the adults around them. How difficult one’s birth was in comparison to another newborn, how much more quickly this child spoke or walked than that one, or any number of factors from size to behavior to intelligence.
The problem is that it never stops. The comparisons worsen over time.
It is in the teen years that women become particularly adept at measuring ourselves against others. It doesn’t boost our confidence, help us in any way, or contribute to our happiness. In fact, it can lead to jealousy and resentment that you broadcast outwardly.
He’s so fit and well put together. I’m nothing like that.
She is successful at such a young age. I’m so far behind.
They are such a happy couple. My marriage is nothing like theirs.
I’m not as attractive…
I’m not as financially comfortable…
I’m not as smart…
I’m not as content…
When you focus on the supposed strengths of another person, it makes your perceived weaknesses appear larger and almost impossible to overcome. These feelings cause you to doubt your abilities and ultimately limit your potential to grow. Comparing yourself to others leads to depression, frustration, and a sense of hopelessness.
Pedestals are Overrated
Putting another human on a pedestal, idealizing them as your standard of success in any area, is unrealistic and destined to be a disappointment. Humans fail, we make mistakes, and even someone who appears superficially “happy” and “content” is likely dealing with personal obstacles of which you may not be aware.
The fact is, you cannot make judgments or assumptions about anyone, their life, or their level of happiness. Doing so leads to information that is uninformed and flawed.
The reverse scenario is also damaging to your overall life satisfaction. If you are a person who revels in “doing better” than others, you are measuring your own success with a precarious yardstick. With one life event or change that is out of your control, you could easily fall from the pedestal you place yourself upon and find yourself starting from zero.
Take others off the pedestal and refuse to place yourself on one. Instead, focus on the reality of your personal existence. Make plans to achieve your goals in ways that highlight your strengths and shore up your weaknesses.
Your life is a journey to personal fulfillment, to living rather than surviving, and finding those things that bring you joy. It is not a competition.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others in Five Simple Steps
1. Know and accept that you possess the habit. Many thought patterns and behaviors throughout daily life happen subconsciously. You might not realize you’re focusing on a co-worker who always seems to get more raises and promotions until it results in resentment or passive-aggressive attitudes.
It is important to become conscious of where your mind travels when you’re not paying attention. Once you know where you’re making comparisons between yourself and others, you can be on the lookout for future slips.
2. Pause and consider when you find yourself doing it. Humans are adept at ignoring those things that require conscious change. If you are a person who is always watching and analyzing others, then you aren’t giving your own life the attention it deserves.
When you are following your dreams and living the best life for you, you have very little time to obsess over the details of someone else’s life. If you find your mind drifting to another person – either in petty resentment or insecure jealousy – consciously bring your thoughts back to your life and those things you desire most.
3. Focus on your personal accomplishments, strengths, and joys. No matter how “content” or “miserable” you are right this moment, your life is within your power to change for the better or for the worse. There are already things for you to be grateful for and strengths for you to work on expanding.
You need to see those things, be fully conscious in your gratitude, and joyful that you possess the ability to grow your life in whatever way you wish to go. If you have the love of others, embrace their presence with all of yourself. Loving yourself unconditionally – faults and all – will help to clarify your daily choices and actions.
4. Practice positivity even when it is inconvenient. It takes far less energy to be a positive person. Negativity is exhausting, ages you more quickly, and affects your physical, mental, and emotional health. Every perceived “slight” is not a reason to react with anger, jealousy, or immaturity…even in your own mind.
Ask yourself what you admire about another person, evaluate what changes you will make in your life to emulate the positive things in their life, and then wish them happiness, peace, and success in all things.
5. Follow the “golden rule” in all ways. No matter how difficult this particular motto may be sometimes, treating others as you wish to be treated will help you to achieve true joy. This simple life map is ancient, predating every known religion in the world. Throughout history, those with or without faith in a higher power have adopted it.
It is incredibly effective to walk through the world with this simple saying as your compass. It frees you in ways that will surprise you. In regards to comparing yourself to others, the golden rule helps. You cannot be envious of another if you wish them well, are truly happy for their success, and strive to make positive change in your own life.
No one is perfect and despite outward appearances, no life is without struggle and pain. Celebrate your triumphs, treat yourself with love, and show yourself mercy when you fail.
Show this same love and mercy to people that you meet.
If you are unable to love yourself at this moment in your life, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to love yourself no matter what “milestones” you achieve.
Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. ~ Lucille Ball
The love must always come first.