“Comparison is the death of joy.” – Mark Twain
Everyone including myself are guilty at one point in time of measuring our own self-worth, status or success against another individual whether we know them or not. We all have done it at some point in our lives. We compare ourselves to others and gauge where we are based on what we observe them to be doing both personally and/or professionally. It’s one of the most common and destructive daily habits our brains are hardwired to do. Our mind is a quantifying machine looking to rank and file and organize information we perceive from others to determine how and where we fit it in to the lager picture. So, how is it some people are better at not allowing it to derail them while others are journey down the slippery slope of self-judgement?
If this was simply an observation, that would be one thing. But in comparing ourselves to others, we often end up judging ourselves and this is where the slope becomes slippery.
So what can you do? How can you get a handle on this habit?
The next time you catch yourself comparing yourself to another, stop for a moment and catch that judgement (as quick as you can) and re-direct the thought. Instead of taking a ride down that slippery slope, ask yourself these questions:
- What are you doing today that you couldn’t have done five, three,
or even one year ago?
- How have you stepped out in the last year that you might have found inconceivable before?
- What new decisions have you made or what new actions have you taken that have resulted in you moving in a new direction in your life?
- What are your wins this year, compared to last year at this time?
- How has your life improved?
- How have you improved?
- What have you done recently that you never thought you could do?
Be patient with yourself as this does take some time. Remember, you have had a lifetime of building the muscle called comparing yourself to others – go slowly and start by creating awareness and catching those negative thoughts and patterns and then stopping yourself and asking yourself one of the questions above.
Building this new muscle will set you on the path of creating gratitude, appreciation and kindness towards yourself as you observe how far you have come, what obstacles you have overcome and the goals you achieved. This will ultimately leave you feeling better about yourself without having to think less of other people.
Remember, you can’t win if you compare yourself to others, instead compare yourself to yourself.
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” – Lao Tzu