There’s a famous quote –
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Comparing yourself to others.
When was the last time you compared yourself with someone else?
How did it make you feel about yourself… about them?
It’s actually completely normal to wonder how we compare to other people.
In psychological terms, this drive is part of our basic desire to understand ourselves and our place in the social world.
When we lived as part of a tribe, it was important for survival because we needed to know where we stood.
At that time, if we were all throwing our handbags about, wanting to lead the tribe there would be lots of fighting and not enough surviving.
We’re not in survival mode anymore but those drives still exist within us. If our self-worth and self-confidence are a bit low, we’re more likely to look outside of ourselves for a comparison to validate how we feel;
“How good or bad am I?”
That comparison creates a ‘gap’ between us and the other person, and the thoughts we then have about that gap can be positive
(“If they can do this, so can I!”)
(“I’ll never be as good as them…”)
Comparing yourself to others. When the thoughts are negative, we often feel envious and resentful too.
And that can spiral into us feeling very negatively about ourselves (perhaps leading to quitting) AND the person we were comparing with… even if we don’t even know them!
(“Who does she think she is anyway? I never liked her… “)
But the important thing to remember is that most comparisons we make with other people aren’t based on reality.
We don’t know the whole story so our imagination fills in the detail.
As Steve Furtick says,
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our
behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Self-doubt, envy, resentment… these are all feelings. And because all our feelings are caused by our thoughts, when we doubt ourselves those thoughts are clouded by our perception of reality filtered through negativity.
“I can’t do this.”
“I’m not good enough/clever enough/pretty enough/thin enough.”
“Everyone else has already done this and I’ll never catch up.”
These are disempowering thoughts that deplete our energy. They don’t serve us at all!
Comparing yourself to others. So what can we do when we compare ourselves with others and come out feeling less than sparkly?
- We can remind ourselves that envy is always about US and how we feel about ourselves and never about the other person.
- We can get quiet and listen carefully to our thoughts to become AWARE when we’re comparing ourselves with others.
- We can choose to come from a place of ABUNDANCE rather than scarcity, reminding ourselves that there is more than enough of everything to go around and just because someone else is doing well it doesn’t mean we won’t.
- We can remind ourselves that the GAP we’ve perceived between us and someone else can actually help us to strive for more in our own lives.
- When we do this we are more likely to think positively and use other’s successes as INSPIRATION.
- We can CHOOSE to think thoughts that EMPOWER us to take ACTION like “if they can do it, so can I and I’m going to start today!”
Comparison doesn’t have to be the thief of joy as long as we use what we learn about ourselves constructively.
That way, we can turn the passion of envy into the power to improve.
Michelle Reeves is a certified life and mindset coach, habit strategist, author and Pure Coaching Academy graduate.
She believes in the power of living life ‘on purpose’ and helps frustrated women in business to manage their mindset, overcoming their self-limiting beliefs and rediscovering their purpose and passion so that they can play bigger in their lives and businesses and intentionally craft their ideal day into reality.