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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
- How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence
- How to Gain Confidence and Really Boost Your Self Esteem
- How to Build Self Esteem (A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power)
- How to Be More Confident (the Definitive Step-By-Step Guide)
Featured photo credit: Sam Manns via unsplash.com
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