Comparing ourselves to others: What are we taking from it?
I was watching a TV show recently where the main character - a gorgeous young woman - asks her boyfriend “Am I prettier than Jen?” (referring to a girl he used to date). Even on a more superficial level this got me thinking: How often do we compare ourselves to others? How many times have we looked around wondering: Does my friend X have a bigger house? Do I deserve to earn more than my peers? Am I more competent than my boss? Is my life harder than my siblings’? I believe at some point most of us had similar thoughts.
To reflect: Where did these questions lead you? What kind of answers were you looking for? Have they made you feel closer to your goals? Have they inspired you to pursue your dreams? Or did they make you fall short instead?
It is indeed hard to resist the temptation to compare ourselves to others. It’s there since the beginning when immediately after arriving in the world, everyone is already pointing out our similarities with mom or dad or comparing us to an older brother or sister. After comes what’s so called as healthy competition through school grades and science fair projects among our peers. Later follows the unbridled race to job interviews where luckily, we’re chosen from thousands of candidates, to then compare our responsibilities with the colleague next door. Not to mention the demanding task of finding our soulmate without being influenced by our own or others’ assessments from previous love partners or even idealized ones. In other words, comparison after comparison after comparison.
With the above scenario in mind, what does it take to shift this inner tendency? To whom should we compare ourselves instead? How would a more compelling version look like? Let’s take a minute to think about what we’re trying to accomplish by comparison. Perhaps your purpose it to become stronger, smarter, wiser, wealthier, more influential…whatever your intention is, being a better version of yourself would surely fit that bigger picture. So, what if you were to compare yourself to that enhanced Self of yours? What if what it takes is to work on that version bit by bit, day by day, focusing on your own accomplishments and on the achievements that are yet to come. Regardless of what’s happening next door, sharpening your skills and staying connected to yourself will give you that competitive advantage you have been looking for. You just need to look right in your core.