We’ve all been there. Some person walks through the door of whatever establishment you find yourself in, and before two seconds have passed you’re comparing yourself to them.
Who’s more attractive? Them or I?
Who’s got a better body? Them or I?
Am I more stylish or are they?
Are they more successful or am I?
Who’s happier? Them or I?
And the list goes on and on and on. It’s a disgusting human habit that is never and will never be a healthy attitude. And don’t start with the, “But comparing yourself to someone else helps you gauge where you’re at, helps you get challenged or inspired to be better.”
There’s a fine line, though it very much exists, between comparison and admiration. Admiring someone does challenge and inspire yourself, while lifting that person up at the same time.
Comparison has only two outcomes: either you walk away feeling inferior to someone else, or you walk away feeling superior to them. Neither is a positive outcome.
I know parents mean well when they tell their daughters they are the prettiest girls in the world, or their sons the most talented etc. but I’m going to share with you what my parents taught me that has stuck with me my whole life, and for the best.
Although they told me all the time how pretty or smart or capable they thought I was (Parents, tell your kids they are beautiful and smart and capable. Trust me, it’s important), whenever I lamented about not feeling as pretty, smart, talented, capable etc. as someone else my dad always responded with this:
“Jessie,” he’d say, “There will always be someone prettier or smarter or more talented than you. So there is no point in comparing at all. The most important thing is to be you.”
My mom would say something similar. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” she’d say.
And you know what? The older I got the more I realized how right they both were.
I know you might find those responses of theirs offensive. I think for whatever reason we want to hear that we are the best. But what my parents were trying to get at is this: If you rely on some grading system for your self-worth you’ll not only become a slave to it, forfeiting all happiness, but you’ll become arrogant and proud, or jealous and petty.
The only wise way forward is to focus on being 100% yourself. Relish being all the things that make you uniquely you. Relish the love and appreciation you’ve got from those closest to you. And be a force of love and appreciation for others.
I’m going to wrap up this sentiment quoting someone who has said these things far better than I.
“Comparison is the death of joy.” –Mark Twain
What have you found to be a positive motivation to focus on instead of comparing yourself to others?