I’ve spent a good portion of my life comparing myself to others. Normally, I blame that on my career choice and the life of being a musician. After all, it’s a job that is heavily reliant on social media, numbers, followers, and “competition.” If you’ve figured out a way around self-comparison then you are superhuman and I applaud you… and I want to know your secret.
I think we can all agree that comparison is an exhausting and destructive mindset to have. Plain and simple... it sucks. If you think about it, we develop the habit of comparison very early on in life and it never really stops. It starts as early as childhood when we realize someone has a better toy or a bigger snack than we do. We are born with the desire to be the “best” and have the “most.”
I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with striving to be the best. However, there is a fine line between having goals and letting other people’s success inspire you to work harder versus comparing or tearing yourself down up against someone else's accomplishments. The truth is we don’t know what the person we envy has done to get there. We have no clue how many sleepless nights they’ve had or how many relationships they’ve lost. And we never see how many sacrifices they’ve made to get to where they are. We only see the end product in all its glory.
Comparison is not a pretty color on anyone.
More times than not, comparison can breed jealousy, insecurities, self-doubt, and even resentment. I’ve personally experienced all of the above. I’ve learned this the hard way in my career and I’ve even seen in bleed over into some of my personal relationships.
In my opinion, a comparison mindset is just like any other bad habit. It’s something we have control over and absolutely have to learn to take charge of.
Comparing yourself to others might be an indicator of a bigger personal issue. If you are feeling like you're not enough, comparing yourself to someone who you think is doing better than you is only going to enhance those negative thoughts and feelings.
I think the real question is why do we compare ourselves to others? Is it because we’re unsatisfied with ourselves or is the reason we are unsatisfied because we are comparing ourselves to others?
Honestly, there are a lot of times for me when I feel very confident about something in my career or about my body and then I get on social media and that all goes out the window. As I’ve grown older, I’ve tried to shift my mind from comparing myself to others to comparing myself to the person I use to be. Instead of looking at the person next to and seeing if I match up, I look at where I am now compared to yesterday, last month, or last year. I know, I know. That sounds so freakin’ cheesy. But it’s true.
If you can set goals and aim to be better than you were yesterday then you will be further along than most. You’ll be encouraged when you actually start to pay attention to the change and growth you are making instead of worrying about what someone else is achieving.
I was having this exact conversation with a friend the other day and it made me take a look at how much has changed in the past year. It made me look at both the good and bad. I realized how many new people are in my life now, and reflect on the accomplishments I’ve made both big and small. I even saw a lot of progress in my personal growth and learning that I’m still in pursuit of.
So let’s all try to only compare ourselves to who we were yesterday and strive to be better based on that. All of our stories are different. We shouldn’t be in pursuit of anyone else’s happy ending other than our own.
Join the conversation: What area of your life do you struggle most with comparing yourself to others (career, body image, beauty, relationships, etc.)?