Warning: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others!
By Tania Kotsos
Comparing yourself to others can be the most self-limiting and pointless thing you can do. Comparing yourself is the main source of your biggest insecurities and prevents the kind of self worth and self esteem that is at the back of all real success. That dreaded feeling of "not being good enough" has its roots in comparing yourself and stands in the way of your success from the outset. Even if you manage to achieve outwardly success in spite of comparing yourself, it can never be accompanied by the inner peace that comes with an unshakeable sense of self, free of any need for comparison.
A Brief History of Comparing Yourself to Others: Comparing yourself is really just a bad habit that is likely to have started as far back as your school days. Things like school grades, appearance and sporting achievements often determine a child's popularity and hence his or her self worth. As adults, such outward appearances are simply replaced by "grown-up" equivalents like money, material possessions and so on. Ironically, the most popular kids on the block are likely to be the ones who have the biggest need to compare themselves as adults, because they came to depend on the good opinion of others and on the ego-boost of being "first" or "the best", from a very young age.
Comparing Yourself is a Roller-Coaster Ride: Comparing yourself to others traps you in a roller-coaster ride, on which you self worth is flung around by the opinion, words and actions of others. Even when you do feel better than others by comparison, the strength you gain is a temporary ego-boost disguising itself as authentic inner power. Once the ego-boost begins to fade (as it will), so your insecurities re-surface, thereby re-triggering your need for outside reassurance that sends you on a futile search for inner strength in the one place you will never find it - outside of yourself - and so the ride starts again.
The Debilitating Need for Approval: If you compare yourself to others, you are likely to find that you also look to others for their approval. Needing the approval of others makes you second guess yourself and your decisions. It drains you of any sense of self and leaves you never quite sure of who you are and what you really want. The good opinion of others may feel "good" in the short run but can only leave you feeling "bad" in the long run. Someone else's stamp of approval can be likened to an ink stamp on your skin that is quickly washed off with the first sign of rain. Whoever you need to "stamp" you, owns you.
Comparing Yourself Fuels Your Insecurities: Those unwanted feelings of not being good enough, of constantly needing the approval of others, of inadequacy, of resentment towards others' success and of envy, to name but a few, are all the result of one thing: comparing yourself to others. You can never quite feel good enough if your "good" is defined by the achievements of others. You can never quite approve of yourself if that approval depends on the opinion, words or actions of others. You can never quite feel adequate when you place yourself on a step ladder of adequacy, with the more adequate above you and the less adequate beneath you. You can never quite be genuinely happy for the success of others when by comparison that success is greater than your own thereby making them greater than you. You can never quite admire others' strengths when those strengths are the yardstick for your weaknesses.
Comparing Yourself Breeds Mediocrity: Ironically, when people compare themselves in an attempt to judge their own success, they set themselves up for nothing more than mediocrity. Using others as your yardstick places a limit on your success. Few people dare to compare themselves to the truly successful and those who do, usually look to successful people as a source of inspiration. In contrast, most people are quite satisfied with comparing themselves to their immediate circle of friends, colleagues, neighbours and acquaintances, with little consideration as to the true nature of their success. Comparing yourself to others limits your success to the success of the person you are comparing yourself to.
Comparing Yourself Drains You of Your Creative Power: Each time you compare yourself or seek the approval of others, you give away your authentic power to consciously create your life. The more you give it away, the more insecure you feel. When you are more concerned about what others think than what you think, then you effectively stop thinking for yourself. You neutralize your thought power. Irrespective of whether you are aware of it or not, everything you experience in the visible, outer world of the physical realm has its origin in the invisible, inner world of your mental realm. It is your own thoughts that you should be focusing on, and not the outward appearance that they, or someone else's thoughts, have produced. There can be no more compelling reason why you must think for yourself. If you want to have any real power over your own life, then you had better start making up your own mind.
How to Stop Comparing Yourself: Since comparing yourself to others is such a pointless and self-sabotaging exercise, the obvious question then is how do you stop it? The first step is to actually acknowledge that you do compare yourself. It may seem obvious, but you cannot change a problem if you do not acknowledge its existence. This is not about blaming yourself or feeling bad that you compare yourself, but rather it is just a matter-of-fact recognition of an unwanted habit that you intend to overcome. Endeavour to become aware of your thoughts and catch yourself in the process of comparing yourself. Once you understand the root cause of your need to compare yourself, then stopping will be effortless.
The Root Cause of Comparing Yourself: Behind your every need to compare yourself to others is a warped sense of self worth based on a definition of success that you never chose in the first instance and a not-so-solid self esteem. Herein lies the solution to stop comparing yourself once and for all: building your self worth and a solid self esteem that cannot be disturbed by outside factors and opinions. Doing so will give you the freedom to be the only person you were ever meant to be - yourself.
In the words of the French politician, Marquis de Condorcet, "Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another."
In a nutshell, comparing yourself to others is one of the most self-limiting and pointless things you can do as you set out to create the success you intend. Comparing yourself is at the back of your biggest insecurities, from not feeling good enough to resenting the success of others. It sets you up for mediocrity rather than real success, it drains you of your authentic inner power and it neutralizes the creative power of your own thoughts. Building your self worth based on your own definition of success and developing a solid self esteem will free you to stop comparing yourself to others once and for all.
Article continued here: Self Worth: The Definitive Guide to Valuing Yourself