How many times a day do you compare yourself to somebody else? We meet an old friend or see photos of people we follow on social media and we immediately go through a comparison list in our head: Her hair looks shinier but my style is definitely better… her kids go to a more renowned school, but my kids are certainly better-behaved… ooh, she lives in such a beautiful house, I wish I lived there…and everything looks so organized and clean and she is running her own business at the same time, I wonder how she makes time for all of that… maybe I should be trying harder, I am probably just wasting my life here… And here we go, in an instant we start doubting our whole existence. Based on what? Based on an edited and retouched image we have seen somewhere on the Internet or based on a story that somebody wanted to present to us.
“Every minute you spend wishing you had someone else´s life is a minute spent wasting your own.”
Comparison is the quickest way to rob ourselves of joy and contentment. It makes our lives look insignificant, meaningless and messy. Instead of celebrating your progress, you envy the achievements of others. Instead of focusing on the things that bring you joy, you are lying on the ground defeated by the success of others. Many times we strive to reach a goal that wasn´t meant for us in the first place. When trapped in a comparison game, we think that we should be headed a certain direction because everybody else is. We abuse ourselves because we want to prove to the world that we are as good, as smart and as cool as everybody else. We are willing to throw away our heart and exchange it for a little bit of praise and approval. The only way to heal the wounds caused by comparing is to let go of what we think our life should look like and find enough love for the life we are living. Here are a few things I do to stop myself from playing the comparison game:
1. Every time I´m mentally in somebody else´s life, I bring myself back
When you start throwing yourself a pity party because you´re looking at somebody else´s perfect life, walk away from the images in your head, close the door behind you and come back to the only place where you are supposed to be – to yourself and your life. There´s only one life you have power over and it´s yours. Start to think of the activities you enjoy doing, people you´re grateful to have in your life and things you´re looking forward to. This habit of coming back to where we belong helps us to use our focus and energy productively. When we stop focusing on the happiness of others we can start working on our own.
2. If I value something, I let people know
I can´t even count the times when I have been thinking that somebody is living a dream until I have found out that that is certainly not how they would describe it themselves. Everybody is struggling with their own insecurities. If you appreciate somebody´s qualities don´t hesitate and tell them what you think. In doing so, you will feel better because you have reached out and you´ve connected with them genuinely, instead of turning the admiration into silent envy. And you never know, maybe you are going to point out something they weren´t even aware of. There is nothing more powerful than supporting each other.
3. Be inspired and then move on
Sometimes we think we were born in a wrong city, wrong nation or to a wrong family. You are not who you are by accident. You find yourself in just the right circumstances to become who God created you to be. You can be inspired by others, but never ever think you should be exactly like them. It will suck the life out of you. Always look into your heart and ask it to show you how to walk your path, which is always going to be different from everybody else´s. We were all created whole, perfect and lovable and we have never stopped being any of those.
4. Make sure that perfection won´t steal your spark
In order not to lose yourself in the game, first make sure you know what the price is. When I hesitate whether I am good enough at something, I always remember this one particular holiday I was on with my parents when I was a teenager. My dad used to play volleyball every summer while we were at the beach. I usually refused to play because playing in the sand was hard (at least that was my excuse) and I didn´t want to embarrass myself in front of everybody. However, I sometimes watched others play. That summer there was a boy who left me in awe, every time he played. It wasn´t because he was that good… Not at all. Actually, he sucked at it so much that it was literally painful to watch him play. He was an embodiment of everything I was terrified of. I was afraid every time the ball flew his direction. You never knew whether he was going to hit the ball or whether the ball was going to hit him. He was so bad that even his teammates had stopped passing the ball to him. I kept thinking that this guy was lacking self-criticism whatsoever. As the days went by – and to my great surprise – he eventually got better. At the end of my stay, he was almost as good as the others on his team. But what was more important, you could tell from his expression that he was enjoying every second of it. You would hardly find somebody as enthusiastic about the game as him. I think he is to this day one of the bravest people I have ever met. He showed me how to live my life – not by comparing your game to that of others but by winning at your own.
I would like to know if you ever play the comparison game and how you deal with it, so feel free to share your experience with us in the comments section below.
Have a wonderful day,