“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
– Lao Tzu
There are very few of us that don’t regularly indulge ourselves in the destructive habit of comparing our abilities, possessions or social standing with others.
Unfortunately, the one sure thing this competition produces is negative feelings and a Self-Esteem Imp that finds it difficult to feel confident.
The trouble is this habit sets you up in a vicious circle. You feel unsure of yourself and therefore compare yourself to others to see how you measure up. Because we are all unique and have different strengths and weaknesses, you may find yourself wanting in various ways, as a result, you feel even more unsure. Then what do you do? You look about for someone else to compare yourself to and so the habit and the negative feelings and inappropriate actions and inactions that accompany those feelings of inadequacy continue.
Below are five mini-CANDoables that have helped me get control of the negative self-talk that tempts me to compare myself to others and has directed my thoughts onto more productive paths.
One – Kindness
Do unto others and all that jazz. I hold fast to the idea that we reap what we sow. If our Judgement and Tolerance Imps are judgemental and intolerant of weakness in others, we tend to feel as though we are being judged or treated unfairly in return. We do this because in some small psychological way, the things we judge negatively about others are often lurking somewhere in the background of our own behaviour.
Stop judging and accept weakness in others and you will be more likely to subconsciously accept or work out your own weaknesses.
Two – Have Mentors Not Heroes
Nobody is perfect but there are people out there that do certain things particularly well. If I’m setting myself up to achieve something, I don’t look to the best of the best and worship everything I hear or see them say or do. I consider what part of their advice would be apt for me and make use of that. Don’t make successful people into Heroes and blindly follow their lead, they are simply people that have already travelled the road you want to trot along and may have a few good tips that could help you along the way.
Openness is in the long run more fun than being judgemental.
Three – Accept you Can’t Always Win
Even just accepting the possibility that you can’t always be the best or win can help you to become more successful. Regardless of what you are trying to do, you can always find someone else in the world that has more than or is better than you.
Four – Don’t Compare From Any Angle
We often think comparing ourselves to others is a comparison of the negatives but it works both ways and if you compare yourself to someone worse off than you and come up smelling of roses, this won’t help you in the long run either. Stop indulging yourself in the habit of comparing in all directions. This is difficult to achieve today in a society where we are judged and compared with our peers from the moment we are born, for example, at what age did walk, use a potty, go through the night without pampers, etc. How did you grades compare to your classmates and the national average, etc., etc.
Five – Remember: You are You
You are you. There is no-one else like you in the whole wide world so stop comparing yourself to others, either negatively or positively. If you are happy with where you are, then be happy. Appreciate who you are, what you have and all you have achieved.
Comparing ourselves with others is a destructive habit that our Inner Imps such as Doubt and Fear tempt us to indulge in as a means to boost themselves and alleviate their fears. Make no mistake; it is a vicious circle and one you will do better without. Stop comparing yourself to anyone other than yourself.