Last week, over the dinner table, my 6 year old son was telling me who in his kindy class was a faster runner than him. He had it all stepped out in a highest to lowest order where he was sitting about 4th. I then launched into a very ‘parenting-type’ lecture explaining to him that life is not a comparison to others and that all he needs to be is the best that he can be.
In the same breath I realised I had engaged in the exact same comparison earlier in the day. One of my favourite blogger’s posted on Facebook that her successful self-published book was on the shelves for only a month before it was snapped up by a famous publishing house to have worldwide distribution! OMG – she just achieved MY dream! Instantly I felt deflated, hopeless, unmotivated and (dare I say) even a bit jealous! I’d been comparing myself to another woman’s success and, even worse, I was comparing my beginning with someone else’s middle! It seems I needed to take a dose of my own advice!
Comparing ourselves to others is ALWAYS unfair! Typically we compare the worst of ourselves with the best we presume about other people (usually shown on Facebook!) We compare our boring life to the incredible lives of our friends (or even complete strangers on Instagram) and wonder why we aren’t doing more. Why aren’t we more social, eating more beautiful food, travelling the world like everyone else seems to be doing?
It’s never a fair comparison when you realise that those same people would never post a photo of themselves sitting around, bored, looking at their phone like you are doing.
And really, we actually only want one tiny aspect of their life anyway. If you saw what that person dealt with in all the other moments of their life (never discussed or posted on social media) you would likely take your own life back.
You might want your friend Stephanie’s career, your workmate Julie’s relationship or Susan, the mum from school’s, body. You may even feel like a lesser person in comparison to these people somehow. But when you look closer at their lives you realise that Stephanie is really insecure about her looks, Julie has significant health problems and Susan is currently going through a very painful divorce and custody battle. Do you really want their life? There is always more than meets the eye and they’re usually dealing with their own set of life’s challenges.
We each own totally unique talents, gifts, experiences and knowledge that make us a completely rare individual. It’s not apples v’s apples when we compare ourselves to others. But how do we stop, especially in the age of social media?
5 Tools to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
1. Appreciate YOU!
Stop looking at the outside world and appreciate what you have, where you are at in your life and what you have learnt. Focus on the amazing person you are and all that you have achieved.
2. Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude!
Ensure you bring gratitude techniques into your life, and practice them! When you feel that your confidence is low and you are comparing yourself to others a lot, increase this practice to change your perspective. Want some guidance? Read our blog called 5 Ways to Get an Attitude of Gratitude!
3. Look OVER & Learn
Instead of looking ‘UP’ at people (as if they are superior to you), practice looking OVER at them as a form of admiration and inspiration rather than superiority! Consider that the individual often had to work hard and/or take big risks to obtain or be that thing you are comparing yourself to. I personally would LOVE a toned, fit body that can wear a mid-drift top without concern but I am not prepared to put in the work at the gym to do it. I am just hoping the genie pops out of the bottle to grant me the wish while the woman I am admiring sweats it out at the gym 6 days a week. That can’t be fair! Instead of wishing, ask yourself – What can I do to be more like that? Admire the effort that person put in to be what they are, or have what they have, and build some of those strategies into your own life.
4. Compete ONLY with Yourself
You hear athletes (who live daily in the world of competition) talk about achieving their own ‘P.B’ – their own personal best. They know the importance of competing with themselves and of focusing on improving their own results. It’s the same for you. Aim to be your best because this is what matters most for your own satisfaction.
5. Have a Social Media Holiday
If all else fails, consider giving yourself a social media holiday until you feel stronger or more able to deal with life on the internet.
BE YOU! (and compare ONLY to YOU!)