Comparison is the thief of joy~ Theodore Roosevelt
The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion. If you find that you are comparing yourself to others, you are not alone. Comparison to others can hinder our self-confidence and can impact the joy in our lives.
There is an infinite number of categories upon which we can compare ourselves and an almost infinite number of people to compare ourselves to. Once we begin down that road, we never find an end.
As a business owner I’ve found myself comparing myself to others or looking outside of myself for inspiration to how to do it. Or I have questioned how I should be, do or not do. I finally had to stop. It was taking me further from who I truly am, who I want to be and the gifts I have to share with the world.
Here’s the thing, comparison is often unfair. We compare ourself to people’s greatest success or their “highlight real” on social media. You are too unique to compare fairly. Your gifts, successes, contributions and value are entirely unique to you and your purpose in this world. They can never be properly compared to anyone else.
Comparison puts focus on others. You can change one life—yours. But when we constantly compare ourselves to others, we waste precious energy focusing on other people’s lives rather than our own. We are looking externally for the answers instead of inside and finding our own.
So, what to do if you find yourself in the comparison cycle:
1) Get quiet and listen to your own inner guidance. It’s there ready to be heard. Allow yourself time everyday to get quiet, tune in without the distractions and listen. This could be meditation, spending time in nature, journaling, etc.
2) Unfollow the people/peers that you find yourself comparing to. Take a break and choose yourself. Take a pause from social media scrolling or focus on the things that light you up.
3) Remind yourself of your own successes. You have a unique perspective, unique experiences and gifts. You have the capacity to love, serve, and contribute. You have everything you need to accomplish good in your section of the world. Become aware of your successes and use this motivation to pursue more of what you want.
4) Compare with yourself. We can strive to be the best possible versions of ourselves—not only for our own selves, but for the benefit and contribution we can offer to others. Work hard to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Commit to growing a little bit each day. Learn to celebrate the little advancements you are making without comparing them to others.
5) Remind yourself nobody is perfect. While focusing on the negatives is rarely as helpful as focusing on the positives, there is important space to be found remembering that nobody is perfect and nobody is living a painless life. Triumph requires an obstacle to be overcome. And everybody is suffering through their own, whether you are close enough to know it or not.
6) Find inspiration without comparison. Comparing our lives with others can bring us down, but finding inspiration and learning from others is entirely wise. Humbly ask questions of the people you admire or read biographies as inspiration. But if comparison is a consistent tendency in your life, notice which attitudes prompt positive change and which result in negative influence.
7) Pursue the greater things in life. Some of the greatest treasures in this world are hidden from sight: love, humility, empathy, selflessness, generosity. Among these higher pursuits, there is no measurement. Desire them above everything else and remove yourself entirely from society’s definition of success.
There is so much freedom found in comparing less is entirely worth the effort. You get to determine what it means to be successful for you and chances are it will look different than someone else’s success.
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Life and Leadership Coach, Licensed Counselor, outdoor enthusiast, yoga lover and passionate about wellness.