Select Page

Do you ever find yourself falling into the trap of comparing yourself with others? Whether it’s your achievements, your looks, your social media followers or whatever the case may be, it’s all too easy to bring yourself down by comparing yourself, usually unfavourably, with others.

I love to look to nature to learn life lessons and I thought to myself one day, whilst admiring a beautiful bed of flowers I was passing: these flowers don’t compare themselves with their neighbouring flowers. Can you imagine these flowers thinking “oh my gosh, she’s purple and I’m red, maybe I should be red too?” or “Why are there so many leaves on her stem when I’ve only got two? There must be something wrong with me.” Or “Why has she bloomed far bigger and brighter than I have? What’s the point in me even trying, I might as well quit.” No! Of course, flowers don’t have brains to think these thoughts to begin with and that’s why they simply just do their thing – they flourish and bloom into all they were meant to be – whether they were meant to be blue, pink, short, tall, a huge spray of flowers or one elegant blossom. They don’t have that inner critic whispering in their ear all day, pointing out their faults and telling them that they don’t measure up to the others around them. Meanwhile, us humans do! We are blessed with faculties that allow us to think, feel and choose but we often use these faculties against ourselves by entertaining negative self-talk and focusing on the wrong things.

Here are my top three tips to stop the comparison monster rearing its ugly head in your life:

1 | Focus on your own journey

An important thing to remember is that each and every one of us is on a completely different journey to the next person. So many different factors come into play and we often fail to take those factors into account when we look at ourselves and then compare our progress or results to others who seem to by just doing everything right and getting ahead effortlessly. I remember trying to build my business around my full time, really stressful job and would constantly beat myself up for either being too exhausted to do anything when I got home at the end of the day or for moving at a snail’s pace compared to others who built the business of their dreams in one month alongside their full-time job. Well, good for them if they made it work! Maybe they didn’t get home feeling like they’d been in a boxing ring all day as I did and they had the mental and physical energy to work on their business throughout the evening. I didn’t! Instead of looking at someone else’s journey – of which I could only see the surface and not the underlying factors – I needed to instead focus on my journey. How far had I come overall if I looked at the bigger picture? If I was spending a fraction of the time building my business around work that others were spending, that was good progress for me given all the things that I had to contend with in my life. The next time you look at someone else and think ‘wow, they’ve got it all together, I must be a complete moron’, just remember that you cannot compare your chapter 1 with someone else’s chapter 20. They are at their own stage in their journey while you’re at yours. Give yourself credit for where you are and what progress you’ve made. How do horses win their races? By wearing blinkers – the blinkers block out the distraction of what the other horses are doing and how fast they’re going compared to them. The blinkers mean they are 100% focused on their own journey and making it to the finish line. By all means, look at others as inspiration and learn from them, but remember that their circumstances are not the same as yours, your journey is unique to you!

2 | Change your perspective

One quote I love by Wayne Dyer is ‘Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.’  I’m a huge believer in the power of thoughts and just changing your perspective on the way you look at things can make a huge difference in your life. I worked for a long time in the engineering industry alongside some really brilliant engineers and sometimes I would find myself feeling inadequate around them, after all they were so smart and solving some of the world’s biggest problems and I, well, wasn’t. But then I would stop myself and tell myself how ridiculous it was for me to compare myself with these people who had clearly mastered what they did for years, some for decades, to get where they were. Like the saying goes, you can’t compare apples with oranges, they are different! Apples are good at being apples and oranges are good at being oranges! I am pretty sure there are things I can do well that an engineer can’t do! Just by changing the way you look at things can change its effect on you. The next time you find yourself comparing yourself with someone else, ask yourself ‘does this make any sense? Is there another way I could look at this?’ Try and be that outside observer – what would you say to someone else who was making this comparison? We often dole out good advice to others but are really hard on ourselves. Be your own cheerleader and stop to look at things from a different perspective the next time you start comparing yourself to someone else.

3 | Focus on your strengths

Where your focus goes, energy flows. So, what’s going to happen if you keep choosing to focus on your perceived shortcomings? They’re just going to be magnified, you’re going to look for more shortcomings and you’re just going to end up feeling really terrible about yourself. Not exactly helpful, is it? Instead of looking at the half empty part of the cup, look at the half full part. What are your strengths? What makes you special? Write them down. And you don’t need to be an Olympic level athlete or be able to sing like Mariah Carey, there are so many strengths that we all have that we often under estimate – maybe you’re great at organising and planning, or you’re an excellent listener (very hard to find these days!) or you’re good at writing. Focus on and build on those strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses and feeling bad about them. Build on your strengths and improve in your weak areas without thinking you’re inferior because you have weaknesses – everyone has weaknesses that they need to improve on, you just don’t need to feel bad about it! Another spin on focusing on your strengths is to focus on the progress you have made. When I look at the space of a month I often feel really bad about the lack of progress I’ve made – and often there’s a valid reason for the lack of progress. But if I step back and look at the bigger picture – if I look at the last year or two, I can see that actually, I have made good progress overall. Pat yourself on the back for the progress you have made and keep going. Taking a tiny step forward today is progress that you need to celebrate because all those tiny steps soon add up.

In addition to these three top tips, I really recommend working on personal growth, daily if you can! Read good books, surround yourself with positive people who encourage you and lift you up rather than bring you down. A book I highly recommend reading is ‘Worthy’ by Jamie Kern Lima, I did a review of this book which you can read HERE. It’s a great reminder that every one of us compares ourselves to others, it’s perfectly normal – we are all human after all, but the most important thing to remember is that you are worthy just as you are.

You don’t need to be someone else or somewhere else, you are exactly who and where you need to be right now.