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Last Updated on May 8, 2019

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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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