- 20 Jul 2020
Have you ever been in a race, in the lead, when that little voice in your head all of a sudden appears questioning how close your opponent is? You think to yourself, ‘I’m winning …
I’ll just take a quick peak.’ You take your ‘peak’ and before you know it, your opponent passes you and pips you at the post! Or perhaps you’re in an audition room, going for a show you really, really want. And there in your group ready to dance is ‘Meg’, in all her graciously talented glory, looking absolutely FABULOUS! ‘I wish I was as good as her! ‘If only I had/ could (insert your comparison here)’.
How do those auditions go when in this headspace? I’m guessing you’re so focused on what ‘Meg’ is doing that you fail to deliver the ‘real’ version of your best self.
The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion we experience. The problem with this behaviour is that if done often enough, it will eventually erode self-confidence and self-esteem; it can be exhausting to the point of burning yourself out; and in the extreme, can lead to anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, when we compare ourselves, what we actually do is compare our worst to someone else’s best. Whether you’re a performer, artist, teacher, athlete, businessperson, student, parent, you have a unique perspective backed by your own unique experiences, talents and beliefs. Your gifts and talents, your successes, contributions and worth are entirely unique to you and your own purpose in life. Therefore, you can never truly compare yourself to others – because there are no two people on earth the same.
Think of a specific time in your life when you were successful/confident/happy (whatever positive emotion you choose). What did you see? how did you feel? what did you tell yourself? Bring that feeling of success/confidence/happiness into the now and let that feeling ‘fill you’. This is a simple process called anchoring and gives you limitless access to the positive emotions you may find yourself in extra need of in any number of situations.
Remember nobody is perfect. We live in a world that glamorizes ‘perfection’ and it’s important to remember that one snapshot in time never tells the whole story. No matter how many hours you put into mastering your craft, it’s most likely that someone will still be better than you, so why would you insist on measuring your success by comparing yourself to others? At the end of the day, it’s their life, this is your life and your goal is to be the BEST version of YOU – NOT someone else!
Here are some tips to overcome the comparison trap:
- Recognize the problems in comparing yourself to another
- Become acutely aware of your own success, even the little improvements in what you are doing
- Give daily gratitude – it’s one of the most empowering practices you can develop
- Remind yourself that nobody is perfect
- Find inspiration without comparison
- Change your body language – it automatically changes the way you feel. Stand tall, look up and smile
- Celebrate who you are – enjoy the feelings of achievement and success
- Maintain a strong belief in your inherent talent
- Be kind to yourself
Give yourself back the power to succeed and feel happy and stretch yourself to your own limits and beyond as you grow. Remember the only person keeping score on how you compare to others is you. Write your own script for your life and create that.