How to stop comparing yourself to others
Its often said that comparison is the thief of joy - and from my experience that couldn’t be more true. We live in a society where we constantly measure our success in life by comparing it to the success of others. Social media enhances these comparisons - as now more than ever it is easier for us to see what our friends, family, colleagues or complete strangers are getting up to. Oh Rebecca just bought a new car, has been on six holidays and got engaged all in the space of a year. Why haven’t I done those things? She must be doing something that I’m not. She must be more successful than me.
But where does comparing yourself to others get you. Does it make you happier? Make you work harder? Or make you feel more superior? In the majority of situations it makes us feel terrible, destroys our self worth and leaves us feeling completely unmotivated. If you’re in the minority that feels superior to others by comparing yourself to them take a step back and realise what is it you measure your life value on, which metric are you using to measure success. Simply because you go on more holidays or have nicer cars doesn’t mean you’re more successful than someone else.
You see success can be measure in a multitude of ways. For some it’s having plenty of money in the bank or seeing as many countries as possible, but for others success might be measured by the happiness of their children. Comparing yourself to others isn’t a fair comparison - as our goals, and metric for success are completely different from person to person.
Someone I know works incredibly long hours, makes an obscene amount of money and drives around in flash cars. Some more look at him and think he’s incredible successful if the metric for success that they are measuring him by is the amount of money he earns. However what does he sacrifice to earn that money. He’s up early and home late, misses the chance to spend time with his wife and rarely is home early enough to put his children to sleep. Now if the metric wasn't the amount of money he earns - would you consider him successful? Now think about if you saw his posts on social media. Him driving his flashy cars, living in an incredible house and building his own swimming pool, would you compare your life to his - and would that comparison be constructive or like we already mentioned would it just make you feel terrible about yourself.
This is why comparison is the thief of joy. On the surface someones life might look incredible if you measure your life by the same metric. However you never truly know what it is they have had to give up to achieve that life or what is going on behind the picture.
Now if you’re anything like me - comparing yourself to others can be difficult to stop. I still sometimes find myself looking at other people and judging my success as a person by what they have achieved. I still get caught up by pop stars being half my age and achieving so much more than I have. But have they achieved more than I have. Yes they have an army of adoring fans, more money in the bank than I can count and a private jet. Yet in comparison I might not have those things but I do have a devoted and loving husband, a place to call my home, some truly inspiring people in my life and a passion for what I do.
So to help you kick the habit of comparison here are my 5 tips to stop comparing yourself to others
- Awareness: Comparing yourself to other is so ingrained in our society that we do it subconsciously so the first step to stop yourself from comparing is to become more aware. If you feel your mind drift towards those comparative thoughts take a step back and think about the entire situation. Think about what I mentioned about how life tends to look on the surface not always being true to what is taking place behind the scenes.
- Don’t knock others down: Sometimes comparison can lead to us feeling better about ourselves, by mocking others lives. Ultimately all you’re doing is projecting your own insecurities onto someone else. Feeling better about yourself based on shallow and superficial comparisons might give you a instant high for a few minutes but ultimately wont benefit you in the long run. Instead of tearing someone else down build them up instead.
- Focus on your journey: life isn’t a race and ultimately you’re only competing with yourself. Just because someone might be married, have 2.5 children and a detached house by the time they’re 25 doesn’t mean you have to. Life is a journey and regardless of how far ahead someone might seem in comparison to you it doesn’t matter. We are all on our own path, with our own ambitions and desires. Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing, focus on your own growth and your own journey.
- Think about what you have, not what you don’t: In a consumerist society its ingrained in us from a young age to aspire toward having more. More money, more cars, more friends. This desire for wanting more will undoubtedly lead to us never having enough. Realise what it is you have already and your see you already have enough.
- Be Present: Experience every moment in its entirety and your soon realise how blessed you are. We often try to multitask, take on too much, over work and be in two places at once and all this is does is split our attention. It takes us out of the moment and distracts us from what is right in front of us. Take time to appreciate what it is you already have. Tell your friends you love and appreciate them, look in admiration at the children you’ve raised or simply quiet your mind and enjoy a cup of tea - because honestly nothing quite beats a cup of tea.
So there you have it my top 5 tips to stop comparing yourself to others. I know its difficult and the world as it is today thrives on comparison and the need to aspire to more, but be thankful for what it is you already have. Focus on your own journey and be present in the moment. Like I said life isn’t a race and the only person your competing against is yourself. So just do you boo