Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” ~Unknown
It appears to be everywhere, something that everyone at some point has to deal with, if it is not on social media than it’s between colleagues, your “outer circle”, your “inner circle”…and even within your family. Comparing your beginning with someone else’s middle or even end. We compare our behind the scenes with someone’s highlight on stage. This is a typical yet destructive habit. Whether we’re comparing careers, houses, cars, relationships, marriages, ministry, physiques, intellect, businesses, the list is endless; there are an infinite number of categories to compare ourselves, leading to numerous shortcomings and evoking negative and often unhealthy emotions.
After much observation and from my own personal experiences, I have concluded that the measuring stick is pointless and inaccurate which will always leave you coming up short .There will always be someone else that you perceive to be having more, doing better or simply blessed with something more than you!
Growing up, my sister and I were often compared perhaps due to the fact that we are close in age. It was never a spiteful comparison mind you, she was always praised for her ‘looks’ and me for my ‘books’! I experienced the negative effects of comparisons first-hand however, in the work field. Once I felt the senior lawyer’s intense gaze as she interviewed me, staring at my weave to my shoes, literally from head to toe. If I could have just snapped her out of it, who knows, she may have actually taken note of what I was saying. I could gauge from her questioning that she was not interested in my “USP” for the role butrather from what she perceived me to be and to have.
As you can probably tell by now, I feel a profound sense of sadness revolving this topic. I think the effort of comparing yourself to another human being is not only futile, its destructive. So how do we avoid becoming so consumed with comparison, that even in a professional setting like law, it can creep in and cloud our judgement?
I thought that I would offer nine helpful tips:
Stay in your lane– Take a moment to imagine yourself driving on the ridiculously busy M25, but then you get distracted by the car in a different lane in front of you and start to dangerously drift into that lane. The truth is if you remain focused, you will probably end up at your destination a lot quicker! Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself, in other words take time out to assess your own goals and dreams making sure you always strive for excellence and finding ways to better yourself.
From passion to purpose-discovering your purpose, can be a journey but through your passions you will be able to identify your purpose. Likewise, there are times where your purpose can stem from what grieves you or seriously annoys you. A good friend of mine has always had a heart for the less fortunate, she used what pulled her heart strings to make an impact and successfully set up charities worldwide. Why am I saying this? Pursue YOUR purpose, not someone else’s. There is no greater fulfilment than when you live a purpose filled life.
Take away distractions-sometimes social media can be a huge distraction, if it’s not Twitter or Facebook then its Intsagram and the irony that you probably came across this article on one of those sites does not escape me. However, social media can be quite revealing, if you deliberately don’t press ‘like’ or comment on someone’s status or picture when something great has happened to them, because of how you feel, than perhaps the issue is with you…which leads me to character.
Deal with character issues– It is not your looks that will get you far, but good character. It is the very character within you that determines your beauty. Sometimes you have to weed out the bad character that is making you compare yourself to others.
Instead of focusing on one self and materialistic things, focus on others– We live in a society where we can easily become selfish. What can she do for me? But how about, what can I do to help her? Being selfless is a beautiful thing. Replace comparison with inspiration.
Be secure in who you are– you only become insecure when you try to live someone else’s life. Love yourself. In fact, did you know that even in identical twins, about 360 genetic differences occur in fetal development? This is such a profound way of saying – YOU ARE UNIQUE!
Realise there is never a win – The issue with comparison is that you never win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us or we perceive as being, having, or doing more? Yes, you may feel great for a moment when you get a nice car. But a week later you’ll see someone with an even better car than yoursand then how will you feel?. I once read that ‘covetousness is simply craving more of what you have enough ofalready’. One way to tackle this is to simply be content.
Control your thoughts-there are many studies revolving around social comparison and the effects it has on mental and physical health. Replace negative thoughts by renewing your mind.
Stop putting others down for your benefit– it’s important that we acknowledge another person’s success, without allowing ourselves to become consumed with negative thoughts. We must rejoice with those that rejoice. One of the stages in overcoming the habit of comparison is to routinely appreciate and compliment others.
“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” Galatians 6:4
Words by Lara Jinadu
Photography by payainc