Do you compare yourself to others? As Dr. Phil asks, “How’s that working for you?”
Comparison is an emotional see-saw that perpetuates a one up – one down “Who’s better?” dynamic.
When we compare ourselves to others, we either feel inferior (people are better than us) or superior (we are better than other people). Neither feeling is healthy.
We don’t want to feel better than other people; that’s arrogance. And we don’t want to feel other people are better than us; that’s unworthiness.
The goal is to have a a centered core of confidence we carry with us wherever we go that doesn’t depend on where we are or who we’re with.
How do we do that?
Instead of putting ourselves down and comparing ourselves to others – we admire, aspire or appreciate.
Here’s an example.
A woman from my “Got Confidence?” workshop told me, “As a result of your program, I rejoined my gym. I used to go three times a week, but had gotten out of the habit. Believe me, my body had paid for being a couch potato. I walked into the aerobics class, took one look at all those hard bodies leaping around in their leotards and was tempted to head home and inhale a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Then I remembered you saying, ‘If you don’t quit comparing, comparing will cause you to quit.’ You were right. I was about to quit something I wanted to do because of those comparisons.
Instead I admired, ‘Good for them for being in such good shape’ and then aspired, ‘How can I get back in shape?’ Not by going home and dating a pint of ice cream. Thanks to that shift in my mindset, I’m now back to working out three times a week.
Every once in a while, I’ll look at the people around me and get intimidated. Now though, I know If I keep focusing on how they’re doing better than me, I’ll get demoralized or depressed. Instead, I switch my attention back to my goal, which is to be fit and healthy, and I give myself props for effort. That helps me feel good about myself and I’m motivated to continue instead of quit.”
How about you? Do you compare yourself to others? Does any good come out of it?
It’s natural to want what others have or to feel bad when they’ve got something we don’t. We look at their glowing Facebook update, fun vacation photos or latest promotion, and it’s easy to feel jealous.
The problem is, jealousy don’t help, it hurts. It causes us to lose sight of our own value, to question our own self worth, and to feel less than.
Get crystal clear about this, “Comparison is the root of all unhappiness and the ruin of self-esteem.”
From now on, follow my friend Maggie Bedrosian’s advice to switch envy to appreciation. Maggie told me, “During lunch at our annual convention, everyone went around the table introducing themselves. It turned into a brag-fest. This person had just been on Oprah, this one just had a speaking tour in Europe, this one just got a six figure book deal.
I found myself shrinking in my chair, feeling smaller and smaller as everyone shared their achievements. I had been happy with my life and career until I heard what everyone else was doing. I snuck back to my room after lunch. I was so discouraged, I was thinking about skipping the afternoon sessions. Then my eyes fell on a photo of my husband and son I take with me whenever I travel. Just seeing their faces reminded me how much I love them and how good my life really is, just the way it is.
I impulsively slipped their photo in the back of my plastic name badge. The rest of that convention, anytime someone carried on about where they’d just been or what they’d just done, I would peek at my husband and son’s photo and it would instantly re-center me in how I’m already wealthy in what matters.”
How about you? Do you ever feel small when people trot out their latest achievements? Do you feel envious while scrolling through other people’s social media posts? Do you look at what others have got, and what you’ve not?
How will you re-center yourself in who annd what really matters in the midst of all that? What will you do to turn envy into appreciation?
An author told me, “I get depressed every time I walk into a bookstore.”
“I look at all those books on my topic and think, “What can I possibly say that hasn’t been said before?”
I told her, “If you don’t quit comparing, comparing will cause you to quit. Instead:
Admire … “Good for those authors for getting quality books out in the world.”
Aspire …. “How can I get my book out in the world (not by quitting!)”
Appreciate … “I am so glad I have the autonomy and opportunity to write.”
Remember, if you feel your life is like a see-saw, you’re probably depending on other people for your ups and downs.
Jump off the jealousy see-saw. Theodore Roosevelt said it 100 years ago and it’s as true today as when he first said it, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
If you’re feeling discouraged, stop comparing yourself to others. Turn envy into appreciation by focusing on what you’ve GOT – instead of what you’ve NOT. Look at who and what you have to be grateful for, right here, right now.
Admire. Aspire, Appreciate. If you do, it will create a centered core of confidence you carry with you that doesn’t depend on where you are or who you’re with.
And isn’t that what we all want?