Your goals are important: don’t sabotage them by comparing yourself with others
Are you tired of the struggle to stop comparing yourself to others? Here we are at the start of a new year and oftentimes we are making resolutions or setting new goals for ourselves. But we can get stuck in some of those same patterns that have played out in our lives…including comparing our progress with others’.
Well, I’m here to remind you that this is not gonna help you reach your goals. And, you can wave goodbye to the struggle, because I have some things for you that WILL HELP. Keep reading for super simplified explanations and tips so you can understand WHY you compare yourself to others, STOP getting stuck in that old pattern of thinking, and finally, realize why YOU CAN and should BE YOURSELF.
WHY DO WE DO WE DO THIS THING WHERE WE COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHER PEOPLE ANYWAY?
First, it’s a normal human thing to do this. Our brains tell us we need to be comparing ourselves to others so that we can fit in with groups of people. Groups of people are safer than being alone. It’s a survival thing that isn’t really necessary in today’s world. Comparing ourselves to other people will not help save our lives. Obviously!
In today’s world, comparing ourselves to others is oftentimes just negative thinking. When we compare ourselves (our looks, our jobs, our money, our material stuff, our children, our progress, etc.), a lot of the time we are thinking that we aren’t as good as that other person, not as successful, not as competent, not as attractive…
So WHY do we feel the need to do this if, deep down, we know that it isn’t helpful?
One of the main reasons we compare ourselves to others (and self sabotage) is likely that we feel insecure about our own abilities, strengths, and other attributes. Unfortunately, a lot of us continue to struggle with feelings of self worth and self acceptance. It totally sucks. But, it’s the truth.
At this point in our lives we KNOW that this is not how we want to feel. But for whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to shake these feelings of insecurity over the years. We want to be confident and secure. Shouldn’t we be past this by now? These feelings have become embedded into our psyche though.
2. We are competitive
Another big reason for comparing ourselves to others, even when we are in our middle years, is our need to be “right” or “the best” at everything. We may be competitive by nature. This is something that I actually just realized about myself. I never considered myself to be competitive, but had an aha moment recently when I found myself comparing me to another person.
I realized that I am more competitive than I ever thought. Kind of funny at my age to have this revelation….but I think we learn things about ourselves every day…if we pay attention!
So if we are competitive (or find out we are -haha), we are constantly looking around to make sure we are “winning” or “the best” or “right.” (That sounds icky to me, but recognizing it helps!)
The third reason that we may be comparing ourselves to others, which is closely related to being competitive, is that we struggle with perfectionism. Psychology Today says, “Perfectionism is a trait that makes life an endless report card on accomplishments or looks.”
In order to “score ourselves,” we need something to compare ourselves with – so we look at what others are doing, being, achieving, etc. These days, it’s multiplied exponentially because, not only are we comparing ourselves with people we come in contact with in person, but with people all over the world, online.
SO HOW DO WE STOP THIS NEED TO COMPARE OURSELVES WITH OTHERS?
I’ve put together a list of tips to help with this struggle…these things have helped me so I know firsthand that they work. And, these exercises are FOR YOU, not for anyone else! Get a free worksheet with prompts to guide you in putting these tips into action.
Take 30 minutes and make a list of your accomplishments over the past 6 months or year (or whatever period makes the most sense to you)….this can be “I cooked an amazing meal yesterday.” or “I learned to crochet last month.” or “I sent a card to a friend with a truly heartfelt message.” or “I have been walking 5 minutes every day on the treadmill for the past 2 weeks.”
Whatever it is, and no matter if it seems big or small, ALL accomplishments ARE accomplishments and they are YOURS to claim! (Reminder – no need to think of anyone but you while doing this.)
And, then practice this daily by jotting down 3 or more things you did the previous day. Doing this consistently reminds you of all that you offer to this world!
Check out this post on Downplaying Your Success (if that’s something you also deal with).
Say/write Daily Affirmations. Affirmations are statements that you say to yourself (or write down) about something that you want to be true for yourself or your life.
It might seem weird to tell yourself how amazing you are, but well – YOU ARE! And, you need to hear it. Maybe you don’t hear it from your partner or your family. Maybe you didn’t hear it growing up. Maybe you did…but saying or writing these statements on a regular basis (consistently) affirms the truths that you want for your life.
We want to stop comparing ourselves to others so an affirmation could be, “I am important to this world, just as I am.” or “What I have to share is equally as important as what others have to share.” And, one that is SUPER important is, “I love myself unconditionally.”
Affirmations can change your thinking by training your brain to believe these things that you want to be true for you.
Often, we will tell ourselves that what we’ve done is wrong or just not good enough. The things we tell ourselves stick. And because our brains are more likely to focus on negatives, it’s so important that we show ourselves compassion and build ourselves up! The more we do this, the more our brains believe it and there will be no reason to feel the need for comparison.
If you read this blog, you know that one of my tips is gonna be MEDITATION. Why? Because meditation can be helpful in SO MANY areas of our lives.
But mainly, in regards to this comparison thing – practicing meditation will help with NOTICING when you are comparing yourself to others. And when you notice yourself comparing, you can purposefully choose to change those thoughts.
BUT without judgment (this is important). There is never a need to judge yourself harshly when you notice that you slipped into a thought pattern that isn’t good for you.
Just remind yourself of your own amazingness while at the same time acknowledging the amazingness of the other person to whom you are comparing yourself. A win-win…or something like that. It’s all good.
Read this post on various Meditation options. There really is something for everyone! Trust me!
Miscellaneous things to help you feel better:
Start a gratitude practice…just a few minutes per day. Use your journal to write down a few things for which you feel grateful. Or throughout the day, just take a minute here and there to take a few deep breaths, look around and find something to be grateful for in that moment.
Use a tool to find out what your strengths are and build them…leading to more confidence.
MOST IMPORTANT REASON TO STOP COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS…
Please remember this. Every person is unique and special and has their own purpose for being here on this planet. Not just one purpose, but oftentimes, it’s many purposes.
No one has the same story or situation so there really is no comparison. It’s APPLES and ORANGES.
Your job here is to BE YOU. Not someone else. It’s the things that set us apart that are the most important aspects of ourselves. These are the unique things that the world needs from you!
Don’t forget to grab your free worksheet with prompts to guide you in putting these tips into action!
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I love hearing from you – email me and let’s chat about how you’re feeling about things and let me know what you think of the worksheet!