How often do you compare yourself to others and then get the negative emotions that follow? With the online world of facebook, Instagram and everything else, there’s a lot of information out there about what others are doing. And this can have a big impact on how we feel.
It’s not just in the online world though, it might be that you’re comparing yourself to a colleague at work, to the friend, a neighbour … the list is endless.
The thing is, we can’t control what others do, so we have to sort this thing out with ourselves.
So how do we stop comparing ourselves to others?
Identify What’s Going On
The first thing is to start to identify when this happens. Really notice it and recognise what’s going on, not always with them, but very much with you too.
Is it a certain person that brings up the feeling with you? What is that feeling?
Is it a certain place or situation? What is it that’ going on with you?
Is it when you see someone’s apparently happy life or affluent lifestyle?
Have you been feeling like this for a long time or were you perfectly fine an hour ago, before you saw this thing / situation?
How do you feel. Really. Be honest with yourself. Are you jealous, feeling uncomfortable or not good enough? Is it a deeper feeling of shame, guilt, inadequacy?
The thing is, when the emotions kick in, for any reason at all, then we stop performing and the stress levels go up and confidence goes down.
When you start to identify what’s going on and you bring it into your awareness, then you can do something about it. That self awareness, whilst a little painful, can help you to work on the emotional turmoil that you’re experiencing when comparing yourself to others.
Assess the Situation
You might want to make a list or write out your feelings or emotions about these times.
You might want to take some time and give it some thought to ponder on what’s going on with you and the reason for that.
Make Some Decisions and Choices
Then you can make some decisions and informed choices about what you do next.
It may be that you avoid certain situations. That’s fine, depending what the situation is. Although there’s always going to be situations where you’re at risk of compare yourself, so eventually it’s hard to avoid all of them. But if you keep looking at people with cars or houses you can’t afford or wandering round the designer shops, then you can avoid that.
You might decide to use the comparison to motivate you to achieving what you want to, or getting where you want to be. That’s fine if it creates a vision for your goals and targets. However if you’re comparing a happy family picture on facebook to your grumpy teenager family – or as I did at one point, family life, when I couldn’t have children, then the plan for motivation isn’t going apply as easily.
Remember that all is not how it appears.
You’ve no idea the number of clients who have come to me with stress, anxiety, pressure, fear of failure, imposter syndrome and all sorts. Yet outwardly they look successful, like they’ve got it all together and are doing well in their career (whatever that means).
I had one client who was a millionaire. Had his own business. Gorgeously huge house. Did he have it ‘all’? Perhaps. But he was desperately unhappy and had struggles with his business and family dynamics.
I was in a mastermind group a few years ago and one member said, You’ve no idea how I feel. I have these voices in my head telling me how rubbish I am and no-one likes me, I can’t possible network and put myself out there. I stopped her and shared what I’d seen, from the outside looking in, last time I’d seen her at a network event. She had appeared to own the room. A big smile, chat, sometimes a hug, people coming up to her, she worked that room. After intros, when she told people what she did, lots of people wanted to talk to her. I reminded her that other people can’t see inside her head.
Have a think about a time when you found out something about someone and you were shocked. Maybe they were anxious or afraid of something and you had no clue. Maybe someone had a change in their situation and admitted they were struggling and you thought they looked so happy or had it all together!
All is not as it seems.
You are not them.
Whatever the shiny, happy picture. You are not them.
They don’t have your …. Fill in the blanks here. They don’t have your patience, your strength, your mindset, your ability to do maths, your writing skills, your humour, your knowledge about xyz. We can go further, they don’t have your husband, wife, kids, house, job, smile, sparkly eyes, grumpy mornings, grumpy evenings … you get the gist.
Comparison means you are focussing on the the wrong person. Them. You need to focus on you.
Recognise what skills, attributes, qualities you have.
Be grateful for what you have. Begin to notice things each day. Even the small things. Be grateful. It’s a simple thing that can often be overlooked. It re-wires your brain to see the positives, when done regularly. When you are regularly grateful for what you have, what you’ve achieved, however small, you recognise your successes and feel so much better about yourself that it doesn’t matter what others do.
A flower does not think of competing with the next flower. It just blooms.
Be YOU. You are unique. We are all unique. Give yourself permission to accept you as you are be blooming fantastic.