Everyone falls into this trap
It’s such an easy trap to fall into…and yet we’re all guilty of doing it: comparing yourself to others.
It just goes natural, without effort and without consciously noticing. Around Christmas this seems to be ever more evident, the rat race. How many Christmas presents have my friends bought? Is their tree up already? Is it better looking? Are my neighbours putting up any lights around the house this year? Are you tempted? Why?
Christmas is just one example, but there are so many more everyday examples you can probably relate to. Maybe at the gym or fitness class ‘Blimey, how many miles has he already done on the treadmill?!’, at the neighbours ‘Wow, their house is really nice!’, going out ‘That outfit looks amazing…’, and the list goes on and on. Best thing is that all of this is magnified and beautified times a gazillion with social media. Feeling gradually more deflated the further you scroll down your Facebook or Instagram feed. Lovely.
I’m also guilty of doing it
What I tend to do is look around and see what other life coaches are doing, especially those who specialise in habits. People like Leo Babauta or James Clear, who have been successful in what they do. I compare myself and my business to theirs and ask lousy questions such as ‘Gosh, look at what they have achieved. That’s so impressive. I want to do that as well. Why haven’t I thought about that?’
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask what your friends are doing for Christmas or you shouldn’t continue to compare your business to others. No, crack on with that if you want. Especially if doing such a thing is helping you in the long run. Who am I to tell you what to do or not do in your life. You’re old enough to make that decision for yourself. You know what, comparing yourself to others doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. It can inspire you, drive you into action, and sometimes actually teach you something new.
But most often, comparing yourself to others is not a conscious decision you make. It just happens, like we mentioned earlier, without effort. Often, it pulls you down and you can feel pretty lousy about it.
So, how can we prevent such a thing to happen? Two things should help you on your way.
2 tips to rise above comparing yourself to others
Tip 1: Acknowledge that everything in life is relative
First, don’t just look up to others. Acknowledge and allow that everything in life is relative.
Since we all have got different life experiences, there will (unfortunately) always be someone better or superior to you in one or more areas of your life. Better looking, a higher wage, a bigger house, you name it. Perhaps your neighbours can afford a fancier Christmas tree and spoil their children with what seems an endless number of gifts. It sucks.
But also, so what?
As similarly – believe it or not – there are always people out there who are worse off than you in at least one area of your life. It might not be easy to admit, but it’s damn well true. Some people aren’t just as healthy, wealthy, or generally competent as you are if you’re completely honest to yourself. Can you think of someone in your life? Well, you don’t often compare yourself to those individuals now, are you? It just not as natural or easy to think about those cases.
Some people might have just been dealt a lousy set of cards at the start of their life. Nobody said life is fair. No, life is definitely not always fair, but every one of us have different life experiences. Because of these experiences, there will always be someone out there who is more ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ in one area of life.
So, next time when you compare yourself to others, be wary of the fact that there always different ways of looking at the same situation. You can look up or look down, maybe even next to you. The point I’m trying to make here is there is no right or wrong, it’s a matter of perspective.
Tip 2: Set your own bar
Secondly, when you do feel down, jealous, powerless about the situation that you’re in now when you compare yourself to others, realise that you still have the opportunity to do something about it.
How? Simply ask yourself what your standards are.
When you compare yourself to other people, we often get sidetracked. Feelings of guilt or jealousy tend to show themselves. In these moments, we often fail to acknowledge our own standards.
Think about that for a moment.
Because when you’re comparing yourself to others, you basically tell yourself you have no standards for yourself. For example, when you’re looking at someone’s figure and think ‘gosh…I wish I was so slim’ have you set a standard for yourself? I think not. Similarly, when I compare my business to that of someone else and say to myself ‘Wow, they are so impressive‘ have I not got a choice to set a bar for my own business? Of course.
So, what’s the solution? Set your own standards. Have actionable goals, goals you can move towards. Write them down and chip away at it. There is no harm in trying. There is more harm in following. Just going with the flow, getting distracted, and being a product of your direct environment because you have set no standards for yourself.
So instead of looking around, to others; look at yourself. You’re in control of you. Your body, your actions. So, where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? What do you care about? From this point of view, you’re more empowered and in control.
If you set your own the bar, there is less of a need to be jealous or feel down about the achievements of others because you are you, and they are they. You are on a different journey. You’re not looking because you’re focused on your own bar, on your journey and is more sustainable, I can reassure you. Then you feel no longer powerless but in control, no longer jealous but focused.
Next time you compare yourself to others
So, next time you compare yourself once more to others, don’t feel taken aback. Gosh, no, as you will continue to compare yourself to others. What you could do instead is just to pause for a moment, notice what you’re doing (aha, I’m comparing myself again..) and acknowledge that everything is life is relative (are you looking up or down to others in this case?) and ask yourself: where did I set my bar?
Good luck and if you need a hand, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.