Norman Vincent Peale
Why do we do this? Why do we compare? Why do we look at what other people weigh, how “fun” their life looks on Facebook or Instagram, the type of car they drive, the shoes they wear, the success of their job position, how well-behaved their kids are in public, the size of their business, the (fill in the blank)….? You know as well as I do, the list is endless. And exhausting.
Christina Hibbert, PsyD says, “On a deeper level, we compare because we’re searching — searching for who we are and who we are not.”
No matter how much advice comes across our path – through books, or articles, or podcasts, or friend’s counsel – we still do it. It almost feels as though it’s human nature.
Ok, I know there are monks and nuns out there who may be a little more removed from this than us every day folks, but I’d make a bet, at some level,they even struggle with this a little.
So what do we do? Say, “oh well… I can’t help it” as we keep the measuring stick handy to see how we stack up? I certainly don’t think so. I think it’s an area we continuously work on because I believe the more we discipline that urge, the less power it will have over us.
Here are a few things to consider:
Become more aware of when you are in comparison mode. And how often. Some of us compare so often – all day, every day – that we don’t even recognize the hold it has on us. So, start paying attention to how much you’re looking at other people.
Answer this question: When I’m comparing, do I feel bad about myself, like I just don’t (and probably won’t ever) measure up; or do I celebrate how that person is different and the comparison a good motivator to push me in certain areas to change or improve? We always want to be working towards the latter.
People compare themselves to you. Most of us don’t love it when we know someone is comparing him/herself to us. It’s uncomfortable. And, truthfully, we don’t often feel like we deserve to be on any kind of pedestal. We know the real us. So, know that (typically) that’s how someone else feels when you’re comparing yourself with them.
Remember that living things grow. So, you have to stop and remember where you were 5 years ago, 1 year ago, even 2 months ago, and celebrate how far you’ve come – even if it’s only in one certain area. For those things that you really want changed, the excuses will fade away, and change will come.
You are unique. There is only one you. Once you get comfortable with that and lean into all your quirks, and curves, and strengths, and features, you’ll see that life is better when you compare yourself less to others.
Some comparison is good. For example, if you’re hiring a new designer, and you’ve got three really good applicants, well, you have to compare them and choose the right one. Or, if you’re deciding which food to eat based on their nutritional value, then that’s great. But, when it causes a little black cloud to follow you, it needs to be proactively kicked to the curb.
Make the daily conscious choice to not let comparison control you.