Why do we compare ourselves to others? Come on now, you know you do it! We may not think we don’t (or say we don’t), but we do. It’s okay, it’s totally normal! Actually, we can compare ourselves to others in a postive or negative way, it really depends on where we’re at. I, personally, do it all the time. But with lots of practice and years of doing deep inner work, I can catch myself doing it and then ditch it.
But wait! It’s not always easy, and again, depending on how I’m feeling that day (fat, useless, stressed, overwhelmed), I get clouded in the head and stuck in that game longer! Then it starts to impede on all areas of my life and goals. For example, in 2004 when I started my yoga teacher training, I was constantly comparing myself to all my classmates up to the point where I almost quit. I didn’t realize then, that learning yoga and teaching (for that matter) was a process AND individual. We all have our own unique gift to share, and sometimes it takes longer to find. Also, we all STARTED somewhere, sometime and in some state-of-mind. But everyone struggles!
So I want to share a few tips of how you can ditch the comparison game and lock your focus on YOU!
1) Write down everything you’re telling yourself. GET IT OUT OF YOUR MIND! It’s not doing you or anyone any good, and then ask yourself, “are any of these true?” If you say “yes” to any, ask again, “But is it really true?”. In Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, when she works with people who may be experiencing this, she has the person dive deeper into the inquiry because, honestly, do we REALLY know any of it is true?! Or based on what we have seen or heard, did we make it up about that person, situation, etc.? A heavy ponder, I know. I’m still working on it and it’s not always pleasant to face it. But it does take a load off.
2) When you catch yourself comparing yourself to someone -their ability, traits, life, etc.- what is it about them that’s causing you to compare yourself? When I was in therapy, I remember my therapist asking something similar. Then it went further to ask, if I had this ability or trait, how would it benefit me and my life? Seriously, think about it. We all have own unique, special super power! Something that sets us apart from others. Once you find it and embrace it, the comparison game will start to fade out, and you won’t care that much about what others are doing or thinking. Who knows, they may even inspire you to go for it!
3) Learn how you can improve your self-worth and confidence. Read a self-improvement book, listen to an inspirational podcast or talk to someone. Invest in yourself and your mind! I’m not saying you need therapy. But, to be honest, we could all use it whether we think so or not. Everything affects us and has affected us up to this point in our lives. What has “happened” to us shapes us, which affects the present and future situations. Do you know your patterns and fears? It’s definitely scary sometimes to face them, but from my experience, the more I got to know those dark parts, the more the brighter parts could shine through. Sometimes ya gotta go through the dark to get to the light.
4) Turn the negatives into positives. Instead of saying “I can’t” say “I can” or with a question, “How can I do….”. What can you do NOW to get there? Not every famous inventor, athlete, celebrity or author all of sudden just became known! They went through failure and rejection a lot. But they didn’t stop there. For instance, J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, was a single, suicidal, mother on welfare while writing those books. She was rejected numerous times by publishers. To be suicidal and still submitting work, something had to keep driving her. When I learned this about her, she inspired me. If she could constantly put herself out there in that state of being, why can’t I live my dream life? Have a successful business? Be in the best shape of my life?
So maybe we sometimes need to put the blinders on around the eyes for a bit. I’m NOT saying check out. But once you find your purpose/passion/drive, focus on that and that only! If you have goals to lose weight, get/finish your degree, get promoted at your job, find your dream job, pay off debt, buy a house, have a family, have a loving, nurturing relationship, write down how you’re gonna do it in baby steps. Who cares what Joe Schmoe is doing over there. This is your life. I have to remind myself of this. It’s time you find your special super power and let it shine!