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How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Celebrate Your Uniqueness

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Celebrate Your Uniqueness

It’s easy to say, but hard to follow. Most of us compare ourselves to others even though we know better.

We compare ourselves for (unknown) human reasons, as it’s definitely not because it makes us better, more productive, or smarter in any way. If you simplify it one could say that a comparison is a reaction and/or an emotion.

We can’t always control our emotions, but we do have the ability to control what we do with this emotion: will you let it control you, or will you take back control?

Theodore Roosevelt said:

”Comparison is the thief of joy.”

And he wasn’t wrong.

This article takes you through 7 steps that will help you celebrate your own unique superpowers and make you stop comparing yourself to others.

1. Focus on Your Strengths

Like with most things, learning how to stop comparing yourself starts with a cliché. Yes, it probably feels like a repetition. We all know that we should focus on our strengths and not compare ourselves to others, so why do people keep bringing it up then?

Well, most clichés are clichés for a reason. It’s one of those things that people know, but still somehow fail to actually to take in and live by.

People have different strengths and weaknesses. You might have heard the saying:

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A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.

And it’s true. We are all special in our unique way. Maybe we’re not all born to be Winston Churchill or Albert Einstein, actually forget about the maybe – we’re not all born to be Winston Churchill or Albert Einstein. But we still have something that sets us apart from others. Sometimes in a big way, sometimes in a small way.

The problem is that we will never be able to see that if we’re focused on others. When you start comparing (and competing) against others, you’re most likely comparing yourself to their strengths even though the same thing might be your weakness – and how is that fair?

Turn you head to the mirror. Here’s who you should compare yourself to. Find your strengths and work on them.

2. Awareness

It’s important to be aware and realize you don’t always see the full story. When we compare ourselves to others, we only see what they choose to put out there. They represent themselves in a certain way to the world on the job, on social media, and yes basically everywhere.[1]

Like mentioned above, it will typically lead you to compare the worst of yourself to the best of others.

If you’re not too sure about this statement, then take a minute to think about what you put out there for the world to see. It’s not about faking it, but most people definitely filter their life. They choose very carefully what glimpses of their life they show as well as what they hide away.

Most people probably don’t know about your struggles, so how can you know anything about the person’s struggles that you’ve been comparing yourself to?

John Lee Dumas, award-winning host of Entrepreneurs on Fire, a daily podcast with over one million listens per month and two thousand episodes said,

“We live in a world where everyone is sharing one perfect second of their imperfect day, and we’re interpreting that perfect second as a life of perfection. However, the reality is much different. They are living a life of quiet desperation like the rest of us”.

When we compare ourselves to someone else’s success, we only see the results – not the effort. You can’t compare your beginnings to their ends. You might only have been on this road for a few months – and they’ve been on it for years.

3. Don’t Knock Others Down

When kids and teenagers feel insecure, they have a tendency to take it out on others. Don’t be a kid.

All people grow up psychically, but not everyone grows up mentally. If you find yourself knocking other people down in order to feel better about yourself – stop. Someone else’s failure is never going to be your win.

Some people belittle others in order to elevate themselves, but even if you do decide to go down this (wrong) road, it won’t do you any good. Why form an enemy when you could form a friend?

In the end, you’ll still be in the same place you were in before. So just forget about everyone else.

This is about you, but don’t knock yourself down either. It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between pushing yourself and punishing yourself.

4. Accept Your Shortcomings

If you want to grow, then you need to start out by learning and accepting all parts of yourself. You wouldn’t ignore a problem to solve it, would you? Most of us probably tried at one point, but came to realize it doesn’t really work that way.

Shortcomings aren’t always a problem, or something we necessarily need to solve. But it’s impossible to grow if you don’t allow yourself to take a good look in the mirror and really get to know yourself – strengths and weaknesses.

If we don’t have a starting point, it’s hard to be able to see how far we’ve come later on, and it’s these kind of reminders that often will help us keep going and motivate us in the future.

At the same time, once you figure out what you aren’t good at, it will be much easier to see what you actually can do well.

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And sometimes it’s our weirdness that sets us aside. Chris Sacca once said in a speech:

”Weirdness is why we adore our friends. Weirdness is what bonds us to our colleagues. Weirdness is what sets us apart, gets us hired. Be your unapologetically weird self. In fact, being weird may even find you the ultimate happiness.”

5. Remember: It’s All about Time

There is no way around it. Comparing yourself to other people is a waste of time. It’s not productive in any way.

What does it really do other than taking away precious minutes (sometimes hours) from your day? We get 86.400 seconds every day. Why waste a single second on comparing yourself to others?

It won’t help you. It won’t make you grow in anyway. It definitely won’t make you feel any better.

Sometimes we don’t need science or clever pep-talks. All we need is to remind ourselves of basic, which are probably true facts about life that we already know.

Take a minute to review your day and week. A little recap might help you realize how much time you’ve already spent on this without even knowing it. Not all wake-up calls come from your phone.

6. Chose Whose Input You Ingest

While it’s unhealthy to compare yourself to others, it can actually be quite helpful to learn from others’ habits. Habits can be adapted and it’s possible to find inspiration in others.

Take some time to fully realize who you’re choosing to look up to and how it’s impacting you:

What are you watching, listening to, and reading etc? Are you looking up to someone who’s done some grown-breaking work the field you’re working in that can actually learn you something?

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Or are you simply looking up to Brad Pitt because he’s rich and famous? Are you eating a new groundbreaking protein bar because your dietitian told you, or because an influencer did a sponsored post on them?

7. Learn to Love the Journey

We might just have learned something really big, had a huge win either personally or professionally, but for some reason, we’re still only focused on how far away we are from our end goals.

The true is that we will never be enough – in our own mind at least. Humans are built to keep growing. We’re not supposed to reach a point where we have it all, because then what? What’s the point of getting up in morning if we already have it all?

We need a purpose. We need something new to focus on, so we’re always going to want more.

Accept that you don’t have to have it all to enjoy the journey. Appreciate that you have something to wake up to — a goal or something to work towards.

Maria Popova said:

“Life is a continual process of arrival into who we are.”

Every lesson, every journey takes us one step closer; but we’re never really done.

So stop focusing on what other people are doing in their lives and focus on what you’re doing.

More Articles About Self-Confidence

Featured photo credit: Sam Manns via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Why Media Matters

More by this author

Maria Jensen

Specializes in personal and professional development.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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