When you’re comparing yourself to others, you are loosing focus on the self and traveling down a slippery road to self doubt and personal denigration.
I can remember, even back into my early childhood, always comparing myself to others. When I was really young, this was mostly to my twin sister, agitated and somewhat encouraged of course by others comparing the two of us because.. well, twins. But as I got older it turned more and more into a catalyst for self loathing or depredation. Comparing myself, my body, talents, pursuits, social status, and so on to peers, mentors, celebrities.
I never noticed its affect on my self esteem, never feeling like I was good enough and never feeling like I could rise above my current state. It wasn’t until I was an adult and noticed that I was so incredibly unhappy in my personal and professional life, but not because I hated my job or I didn’t have an amazing, loving partner to share with this beautiful life we were creating together. I was unhappy because I still felt that I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t have enough, didn’t do enough, couldn’t be enough. I started second guessing decisions that I had been so sure on before only because I saw the lives of people who had made different choices from mine.
I was measuring my success by comparing myself and my lifestyle to other people’s. All my hard work and small victories just disappeared into a void and were replaced with pessimism and a defeatist attitude. I felt paralyzed to take risks or grow in fear that I wouldn’t become as great as someone else. It took a real ‘come to jesus’ moment when I was at my lowest to tell myself the truth: That I wasn’t living my life honestly or for myself and no one cared if I was, least of all the people I compared myself to. I had lost my life’s joy in the pursuit of other people’s lives.
Comparison is the thief of joy and this couldn’t be more true.
One of the greatest and most impactful areas of our life that we do this in is when we try to measure our success. Instead of looking inward, all too often we look outward towards others. We see that maybe our current state isn’t our end goal, that it’s not as grand as someone else’s, or we worry that others wont view us as successful. By doing so, we fail to see and acknowledge our own progress or reward our own accomplishments. We stagnate and become slaves to our circumstances instead of showing gratitude for what we’ve already attained. We forget that success can’t be measured in numbers.
Success is personal. We need to sit down and ask ourselves what success means to us. In your business, is it your income? Or is it that you love what you do and you have what you need? In your home, is it the size of your house? Or is the family you share it with? You decide how to measure your own success and it has nothing to do with anyone else.
We must love ourselves for who we are, where we are, and not on the basis of others. We are each unique and hold our own truths and we will never be able to be, nor should we want to be, someone else. Stop letting comparisons steal your joy.