Seven steps to stop comparing ourselves to others, number six is so important!
Comparing things is that trick that our mind plays on us when we are not happy, it seems like fair thinking however as we will see it may come under one of the distorted thinking styles.
When we see things that others are doing and make it about ourselves, we are personalizing and making something about others about us.
An example might be seeing friends getting married or having kids and thinking what’s wrong with me that I haven’t done this.
It might also be looking at peers and thinking god all my friends have their careers and lives sorted. They all know what they are doing, I must be a fool.
Isn’t that right though?
Well in some ways that other person may have something we want: the body, the career, the temperament or the relationship.
But when we compare ourselves to others we are picking a specific thing that they have and saying that there must be something wrong with us that we don’t have that.
Doing this we miss the nuances and the depth that make us all individuals. The kind of things that we define as success might not actually be important to that person who didn’t have to work for them as they were naturally gifted in that area.
We also run the risk of polarized thinking where we say that others are brilliant and we are awful because they have one thing that we don’t.
We don’t know how others feel about their lives, as behind closed doors things might not be rosy.
We forget as well to count what we actually have: which could actually be a lot in the eyes of others.
Our insecurities and unfair comparing makes little of our own achievements and flatters others.
The reality bit:
How someone else does has absolutely zero to do with us. If we see someone else’s happiness and think about our own misery we are only beating ourselves up.
Their version of whatever they have probably wouldn’t suit us anyway. We need to find our own way forward and to do this comparing and self-berating needs to stop.
We need to think about these thoughts like a hot potato……
We have to just drop them!
7 tips on how to stop comparing:
1. Don’t listen to the voice inside our head that tells us that we are inadequate. Inner critics love to play this game and tell us everything we are doing wrong. They are a false friend and we need to doubt them. Get help to know the critic, notice how it works, doubt what it says and help it change with compassion.
2. Don’t hang out with people who look for the flaws and can’t see the best in the people in their lives. Others who are jealous and mean individuals often like to knock us down and demean the achievements of others. We won’t go far with too many of these people in our lives.
3. Recognise that each person is different and unique. There is no-one like anyone else – and we do have great attributes, we just need to find our own way. The route that John and Sally took will not work for us, there is not one route to fulfilment.
4. Take note of the efforts and the progress we have already made. We’ve already come far. That should be celebrated. Our efforts even if they haven’t materialized yet deserve plaudits. Nobody who makes it anywhere does so without hard work and some setbacks.
5. Appreciate others, and what we gain from them. Don’t see them as people who undermine us by their own success. If we let our jealousy run free, then we are going to distance ourselves from people who might be good for us. If people in our lives seem to be doing better than we are then ask them about it. Learn from them, but also learn about their struggles. No one’s life is a picnic no matter how it looks from the outside.
6. Remember that NO-ONE is or has it perfect period! – Everybody struggles! They just may not with the same stuff as ourselves. This is the big one! No one is perfect so please don’t believe it is necessary to be perfect. That’s only going to bring disappointment and upset. We all find somethings hard, but when we compare through the looking glass of an already poor self-image, we think others are great and we are not. We all have strengths and weaknesses and good and bad days! The sooner we realize this and stop comparing the better.
7. Go after what matters the most in this life. Many clients I work with tell me they end up going after what they don’t even really want. If we think our self-worth depends on achievements and targets, then we will constantly chase them even when in actual terms they do nothing to make us happy. They might just keep the wolfs of self-attack from the door.
Go after what truly matters, not what matters to someone else but what matters to us. Love, friendship, connection with self, others and nature are a pretty good place to start.
A song I like has a line: “Status doesn’t love you, and money won’t phone”. What I take from that is that maybe those things aren’t as important as the people that do!
Working on Anxiety:
If any other these themes struck a cord and anyone reading this would like to chat about how psychotherapy might enable them to live a better, less compared life please always feel free to message the page to chat with me.
I am always happy to answer queries on my mobile on 087 063 0948. I practice Psychotherapy in Glasnevin Dublin 11 and on Skype. But Anxiety Ireland has a team of fully accredited therapists located around the country.
Get in touch today to see who we might have nearby.
Wishing everyone a brilliant week!
Remember we are all enough, we are all individual and we are all just waiting to find our individual path, one that can’t be compared with anyone else’s!