I am forty-two years old and can confidently say that most days I have my life and act together. I manage a household, two teenagers, a partner, a dog and a full-time job. I know how to use the washing machine and prepare dinners AND I’ve mastered the art of handing an open purse over to my daughter for her enjoyment and consumption. Most days I’m happy enough with myself and what I’ve achieved.
But then there are the days I (like every other woman on the planet) feel like utter CRAP. When everything I put my hand to fails miserably – the words I write are boring and fail to hit the mark; everybody at work is in on a joke that doesn’t include me; my son hints that his Dad is wayyyyy better at something that I pride myself in.
The days that I seem to fall short of every other woman - and man and child - on the planet, and the ugly temptation to play ‘everybody else is better and prettier and smarter than me’ strikes. Can you relate? Are you expert at comparing yourself to others, especially when the chips are down?
I have dealt with my fair share of rejection. I’ve missed out on a work promotion that I’d devoted many hours and many tears to; I’ve professed my undying love to somebody who very clearly did not feel the same way toward me; my husband left me for a woman almost twenty years my junior.
Yet I have two beautiful children. I have an amazing partner and a decent house and a blossoming business. I have met enough people, had enough jobs and been in enough houses and cars to know that things are not really terribly bad in my world. Some of the houses and cars have been much grander than mine – and some have been shabbier.
I have never once felt the need or desire to judge someone based on the house they live in, the car they drive or the job they go to each day. So why should I judge MYSELF against other people and their things? Does it not go both ways? Is it okay to be kind to and accepting of other people and their place in the world, but not to ourselves? NO IT IS NOT!
HERE'S THE THING:
We are all different. We all pretend we are doing better than we are. None of us really know what we’re doing. We’re all on a learning curve and we are all doing the best we can with our limited circumstances and resources.
Think about what you are doing when you compare yourself to another – you are comparing the WORST of yourself to the perceived BEST of another. Hardly fair, right?
Try doing this instead: Compare yourself with YOURSELF. Sound more reasonable?
Compare where you were, what you were doing, and what you were like six, nine or twelve months ago, to where you are at and what you are like NOW. Notice the improvements – they will be there. Identify the things that need to be improved – they will be there as well.
Aim to personally be in a better spot in six months’ time – health-wise, job-wise, money-wise, whatever. Don’t worry about or focus on others and what they are doing – this is about YOU. Remember, you are the only person you have any control over. There are absolutely no winners in the comparison game because there is no end to the comparisons we could potentially dream up! There will ALWAYS be others doing better (and worse) than you. This is life. Accept it, and move on.
Practise these steps next time you find yourself caught in the TRAP of comparing yourself to others:
Think – really think – about where your thoughts are heading
Remind yourself that you have strengths and weaknesses
Remind yourself that the other person/s also has strengths and WEAKNESSES
Be realistic about what you are hoping to achieve
Embrace your imperfections
Focus on your STRENGTHS
Be grateful for all that you DO have, and all that you HAVE achieved
Don’t criticise others to make yourself feel better – there are no winners here
Focus on the journey. Keep at it. You WILL get to where you need to be
Above all, remember: You are a unique human being with unique talents, strengths and weaknesses. So, GO GET ‘EM! YOU GOT THIS!
Do you ever mercilessly compare yourself to others? Tell me about it in the comments.
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