We’re all guilty of it. Walking into a room of people and thinking “Oh their outfit is so much cooler than mine”, “I wish I was as confident as them”, “I wish I was as talented as them”, “I wish I was as ambitious as them”. The list of comparisons that we could make between ourselves and other people goes on and on. For me, it’s become such a bad habit that it’s almost an instinct, something that happens as soon as I enter any new situation before I’m have time to stop myself.
Comparing myself to others is a habit I really want to work hard to break. I don’t know if it’s something that will ever entirely go away because we all have our insecurities and sadly, no matter how hard we try they’re never going to fully go away but I think being aware of the habit and making a conscious decision to try and put an end to it is a step in the right direction.
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to practice self-care much more effectively and protecting yourself from your own negative and insecure thoughts is a big part of that. Think about all of the negative thoughts you have about yourself on a regular basis. Are the things you tell yourself in your head how you would talk to your best friend? No, I’d like to think not. Think of how great you think your best friend is, how fiercely protective you are of her/him and apply that same protective attitude to yourself.
Take time to acknowledge your own success and achievements.
Keep track of goals you’ve set and tick off the ones you’ve accomplished.
Find a way to keep track of all of the positive elements of your life, the things that made you feel happy, the things that made you feel proud, the things that made you feel grateful.
And ironically – take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone in this comparative thought process.
As much as I wish we were all able to be more confident in ourselves, as I said before – everyone has their insecurities. I’m not saying that we all need to develop these arrogant, cocky egos, just that it’s time to start focusing on your own game and be grateful for the life you have rather than comparing yourself to others and what you don’t have. Failing that, turn the comparative thoughts on their head and make the comparisons positive, using the success of others to motivate yourself.
You have no idea the hard work that someone has put in to get to where they are now. As the saying goes, you can’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20 and in the end, comparison will only hold you back.
In a similar strand, you also have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. All you see is what others allow you to see. You only see the front that they put up but you have no idea what goes on in their head or the struggles they’ve had to deal with throughout their life.
It can be so easy to look at someone and think “I wish I had their life” and assume that everything is perfect for them but if you were given the chance to get to know them properly and dig a little deeper, I guarantee you would find that there is a lot more to the story than you think.
I was listening to Sophia Amourouso’s #girlboss podcast on my commute to work today as I do every day. As founder of Nasty Gal and author of #Girlboss, she’s someone that I really admire. Listening to her podcast on my way to and from work everyday really gives me the motivational boost that I need first thing in the morning and after a long day. On the surface it’s so easy to look at Sophia’s achievements and think she’s got this amazing life. She runs a hugely successful company, has written a best selling book and she’s living her own dream running a fashion company. In reality however, as she was saying on her podcast this morning, in the last year she’s had to deal with her year long marriage falling apart leading to divorce and her company’s future left up in the air when they declared bankruptcy towards the end of 2016. It got me thinking how little we really know about people. It’s not fair for us to compare ourselves to them or romanticise their lives in that way. It’s mind-blowing and completely shocking how little you might actually know those closest to you let alone celebrities or strangers in the street.
Another example of this is with social media. Earlier in the week, I went for dinner with a friend and we were talking about how different people are on social media to real life – me being the initial example that started the conversation. I was talking about how I can be pretty shy and very socially awkward at times which seemed to surprise her because I was able to chat away to her happily without being awkward. It’s so easy to hide behind a screen, put up pretty pictures, write blog posts about fashion or hair or make up and pretend you’re much more confident than you are. In reality, for all you know things might be falling apart behind the scenes. Maybe not even as drastically as that, things just might not be as shiny in reality as they are being portrayed to be on social media.
There’s a lot of compassion behind putting an end to comparing yourself to others. Not only are you learning to respect yourself more but you’re also respecting the people you’re comparing yourself to. Though you may think that you’re complimenting them by comparing yourself to them and yes, if it’s outfit/appearance related then you probably are but anything that goes deeper than that like wishing you could be as successful as them or as confident as them, by doing that you’re almost completely dismissing the struggles that they went through to get to where they are.
You don’t want to find that you’ve wasted so much time comparing yourself to other people that you forgot to focus on creating your own success and happiness. Comparison is such a dangerous game to play and the minute that you let that run your life and take control, that’s the minute that you lose.
So with all of that in mind, I’m resolving to focus on staying in my own lane from now on, to stop comparing myself to others and to just focus on myself while still practicing compassion for others around me. Something tells me I’ll thank myself in the long term.
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