Comparing yourself to others is one of the recurring topics of many coaching clients. Some of them are very capable and amazing women who have their own business or living their dreams, but after talking a bit longer, they admit that they compare themselves to others and that they believe they should be better.
It seems to be very common to compare yourself to others. It starts in childhood when your friends have more toys or more loving home than you have. If you have a sibling, then the chances are that there has been some point when you’ve been envious of them because they seem to have it easier than you.
The comparison trap doesn’t end there. It continues into the teenage and adult years. We’re bombarded by images of how we should look like and by sugar-coated stories of what success means.
Men compare their earning capacity and possessions to other more prosperous people. While women mostly compare their looks, husbands, or children.
My question is; have we all become insane? Aren’t there better ways how to spend your energy than thinking about Tony or Amy who is better than you?
I think that partially it’s insane, but it’s also a natural side effect of how our society functions. We live in a limited world where one’s success means someone else’s failure.
Therefore, there is no judgment – absolutely none- if you have fallen into the comparison trap.
But I’d like to help you understand why stop comparing you to others is a much smarter choice.
The comparison trap
As part of my business, I meet amazing people who have far greater potential than they can even imagine. But the problem is that they aren’t aware of it.
They’re in a self-sabotaging mode which keeps them going from one conflict and problem into another. Just to make sure that they don’t have enough energy and time on important things.
By comparing themselves to others, they don’t do what they feel called to do because Jenny is doing it better or because it is simply not going to work anyway.
Comparing yourself to others is a self-sabotaging mechanism.
Comparing yourself works as follows
You’re born with a unique set of skills and talents which are there for you to use and deepen. As a result of using your gifts, you inspire and uplift others – you don’t have to focus on doing that specifically, it happens naturally. Life works this way.
But at some point along the way, you start doubting yourself. You feel lost, and you question whether you should continue using your gifts. In the state of self-doubt, you look around you, and you see people who have similar sets of skills, doing way much better than you.
You feel disheartened, and you start to feel worried. ‘What if I should live just like others. What if I’m naive for believing that I could do what I love’, you begin to think.
The longer you stay in this stage, the harder it gets to change it. Many people stop doing what they love at this point because it feels too difficult.
You, comparing yourself to others, is one of the main culprits to not living your dreams.
It takes you out of the track, and you focus your energy on things that don’t serve you and which don’t matter.
Down deep you realize that you haven’t acted on your inner calling and it feels terrible. It’s honestly one of the worst things I know.
If you would instead accept yourself and your gifts and let the intuition and inspiration guide, you would be already much closer to your dream life, or you would be living it.
Why doesn’t it matter what others are doing?
Stop comparing yourself to others because what they’re doing (or not doing) has nothing to do with you. Absolutely nothing.
Other people’s actions are their choice and life path which is unique to them as well as your path is unique to you.
No amount of comparing will make you feel good about yourself because you’re trying to put yourself into the life of someone else.
Their life path has nothing to do with you. You have your challenges, experiences, and gifts as you follow your path.
Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time
Let me give you an example. Peter wanted to be a successful consultant because he believed that this is what successful and wealthy men become after studying a prestigious business university. He was saying no to invitations to meet his friends or family. His fiancée has left him because he didn’t find time to spend with her.
He was on the quest of what he believed was that he wanted. He was too busy even to notice that he wasn’t happy. There was no time for such thoughts and feelings.
His only friends became senior consultants who had opportunities to go for a weekend to Italy. He wanted to be one of them because, perhaps then, he thought he would find happiness.
Naturally, he was reading business news and interviews with successful men and was desperately wanting to be one of them.
Until the moment when he learned that his father died. This shaken his world and made him rethink everything in his life. He took one year to travel and as he traveled he realized that he was never happier than just him and a camera. He began taking photos and blogging about his travels.
When he returned home, he realized that he lost 15 years chasing a dream that was not his. It was comparing himself to what was the “standard” according to his beliefs. It was boosting him and pushing him to do more.
But how does it help to do more when you go in the wrong direction?
Instead of trying to push yourself into an ideal life according to someone else, focus on your dreams and passions. You don’t have them by accident, and they’re guiding you towards your happiness and pleasure. Don’t deprive yourself of this by trying to be someone you are not.
Create a new path that works for you and you’ll soon see that you’re much further than you thought was possible. Be your own benchmark and create a life that reflects you – not others. They have a different song in their hearts. We can all sing together.