When was the last time you compared yourself to somebody else? This year, this month, today?
Comparing ourselves to others is such a humane inclination, and yet so detrimental to our peace of mind, positive attitude, and progress.It takes a toll on your confidence, doesn’t it?
Envy disappoints you at its best, and discourages you from tying at all at its worst.
Out of countless actions you can take, few will hurt you mindset as comparing yourself to others, and becoming envious of their progress.
Envy and jealousy are natural feelings but how frequently you have them, and how long you hold on to them, will decide how fast you move forward.
If you remain stuck on seeing only what you don’t have, you will lose the precious time in getting to what you really want. That’s why in today’s blog post I am discussing with you why comparisons give you a faulty and inaccurate sense of what’s going on around you.
If only you could see it all, you would not waste any time and energy in comparing yourself to others.
My goal is to give you a perspective so that you can retaliate your desire to compare when you notice it sneaking in.
Are you ready? Here you go.
When it comes to comparisons, perception is almost always… NOT the reality. Here are the 3 reasons why:
1. You don’t have the complete picture.
These days, social media makes it so easy to believe that everything is hunky dory in everybody’s life. Then you start wondering, what’s up with mine? Why is it happening only to me?
I recently was watching an episode of Criminal Minds. (A sidenote – I love this series and how they analyze the minds of criminals, however, a word of caution, don’t binge watch it or watch it at nights. That much stimulation WILL ruin your sleep. 😉 Anyway, back to the topic at hand.)
In that episode, a criminal tells one of the agents of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), “Earlier without internet, all the criminals used to wonder why these thoughts came only to us? Now we have a family of people like us. We don’t feel alone anymore. That increases our power.”
The exact opposite is happening with the average people in the age of internet. We all feel alone because what we see doesn’t look like our own life. And THAT is taking away the power from us.
Beware of it.
Research has shown that people share selective news on social media. Dr. Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has done extensive research on social influences and how they shape human behavior.
He confirms what you may have already noticed, “when you share a story with your friends and peers, you care a lot more how they react. You don’t want them to think of you as a Debbie Downer.”
Intuitively that makes sense. Why would you announce to the world that you were just fired or you lost a lottery or you had an average day? If it doesn’t get likes, we tend not to see it worth sharing.
The point is, do NOT compare your life to that of your Facebook network. What you see is only a part of the picture and by no means the whole picture. We all have our own issues, vulnerabilities, and challenges we are dealing with in our lives. Just focus on how you can deal with yours rather than worrying if others have them or not.
2. You compare others’ milestones to your journey.
This happens in the business world so commonly. I hear members of my business group saying, “I feel envious of the success others are getting but I don’t know how to replicate it or why I am not seeing as much progress.” They feel stuck and discouraged because they compare their effort with others’ results.
It’s not easy to see somebody else with whom you associate or relate to reach the milestones that you thought you should have reached by now. You think that they are just like you, then what went wrong with you.
The problem is you don’t see all the work they have put into it before reaching that stage in the life. You are currently in the build-up phase where you are figuring out your mojo and building the foundation. They have already worked on that phase and moved further.
If you see where they were 2, 5, 10, 30 years ago, you will most likely find out that they were also struggling just the way you are now. Their journey might even be similar to yours.
So don’t just focus on where they are now. Instead try to learn from what they did to get there. You may find some valuable lessons that you can apply to your own journey.
And here’s what I read just yesterday that struck a chord with me, “Bless that which you want.” Rather than being envious of others’ progress, bless it.
3. You compare your own journey to that of others
This is just the extension of point number two. Sometimes, we don’t compare our journey to others’ milestones because it seems quite clear that they are way ahead of us. We don’t relate to them.
But then what do we do? We compare it with the journeys of those who we think are more like us.
There is still a problem with that because everybody’s journey is different. Our struggles are different. And the lessons we are supposed to learn from our own struggles are different.
You may see a person just “like you” who seems to be all set. They are happy as if they have sorted out everything in their life.
But rest assured that it is your illusion to perceive it that way. The only reason they “appear” to be so set in life is because of their attitude. They have a positive, winning attitude. That doesn’t mean they do not get sad, overwhelmed or frustrated with their own challenges. They just feel whatever they need to, and then pick themselves up back again.
So even in their journeys they seem to be in control of their life.
I have experienced this first hand when some people have asked me, “Your life is so great! You always seem happy and cheerful.”
I start laughing when I hear this because I know my own struggles, frustrations, and disappointments. And my closed ones can vouch for that.
I just don’t like to stay in that state of the mind for a long time. So I choose not to. Ultimately it’s a choice, and the choice is completely ours to make despite our circumstances.
And you know what, many times we don’t even know if what others have is what we really want in the first place. Then why waste our time in thinking about it?
My neighbor says it the best, “Run your own race”.
The only comparison that might be, just might be healthy at times is to see where you were and how far you have come. If you have deviated from your desirable track, then learn from your mistakes. But if you stand today where you didn’t believe you could be a few years ago, give yourself a pat on the back and smile.
It’s not easy to fight our own demons, continue learning and keep rising. Don’t make it even more difficult by comparing yourself to others. Let them walk on their paths, and you enjoy yours.
Remember, “Bless that which you want.” Just the fact that somebody else has what you want is the proof that it is not impossible to have it. 🙂
Now it’s time for action.
As you were reading this, some comparisons you have made in the past came back to you. It is the perfect time to send positive feelings to the person. Be grateful for allowing you to see the possibilities. Bless them so that they go on and get more of what they want. And bless yourself to get the courage to run your own race.