Theodore Roosevelt once said that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and I really think he hit the nail on the head with this one.
Comparison, according to our dear friend google, is described as ‘a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.’ Essentially meaning to compare how similar or how different you are to others.
One of the problems with the information and social media age that we currently live in is that, it is extremely difficult to avoid comparison. Even if we don’t want to know what others are up to we will somehow find out. It’s always in our face.
So we get stuck in this trap of comparing ourselves to others especially when we see them doing things that we wanted to do or could have done but fear and/or a lack of confidence stopped us.
Over-indulgence in comparison can lead us to create imaginary benchmarks in our heads where we measure our own successes and shortcomings against those around us and even worse those in popular culture. Before you know it you are competing with people you don’t even know!
But do you know how crazy it is to compare yourself to people who most likely had a different starting point to you?
See once you begin comparing yourself to others and letting those thoughts manifest in your mind and heart, you begin to feel frustrated and discontent with life causing yourself unnecessary torment. Comparison robs us of precious time. The same time and energy that you could have invested in yourself and your goals.
Although comparison can be positive especially if it brings on a desire to achieve and further develop yourself. Just as a business analyses the external environment to spot opportunities in the market that aid in development and innovation, you may decide to do the same with your own external environment.
So how do we avoid ‘negative’ comparison? Below are my top 5 tips
- Focus on yourself – not as simple as it sounds, I know. But it is so important to focus on your own journey and remember that you are running in your own lane and not competing against others
- Remind yourself of your achievements and why you are remarkable (because we all are!). Whether you prefer to speak positive affirmations out loud or stick post-it notes around your bedroom, you have to be your own biggest cheerleader!
- Develop an attitude of gratitude. Try a gratitude jar – where you write things you are grateful/thankful for on a small piece of paper and store it away in this jar (on a daily basis)
- Find inspiration through comparison e.g. if she/he can do it, then so can I!
- Learn to be content with your yourself, your progress, your journey and the unknown
Remember that you are your own worst enemy and the only thing stopping you from being the best version of yourself is yourself.
So will you let comparison steal your joy, your strengths and your success or will you reclaim what’s yours?