If you are anything like me, you often compare yourself to others. Unfortunately, I frequently seem to come up short. My house isn’t as clean, my children as well-behaved, my blog as cute, my hair as stylish, my body as thin—sound familiar?
The biggest problem with comparing is that we usually compare one of our weaknesses to another’s strengths. We may see a neighbor in church with eight perfectly groomed children all sitting reverently waiting for the meeting to start and invariably compare our own children who look like their hair hasn’t even seen a brush that morning. What you don’t know is that the woman left a messy kitchen at home with cereal and milk spilled on the floor, or that she feels inferior inside so she strives to look polished on the outside to hide those insecurities, or that she constantly fights with her husband and is secretly watching you and your spouse wishing she had the kind of relationship that you do.
So how do you break this negative habit of comparing yourself with others?
Here are six useful tips:
• Become aware. Often we make these social comparisons without realizing we’re doing it. You need to become consciously aware of when you do this. Try this. You’ll be surprised how often you notice it.
• Stop and change focus. Once you realize you’re comparing yourself, pause, but don’t criticize yourself or feel bad—just acknowledge the thought, and gently change focus.
• Count your blessings. A better focus is on what you are already blessed with. Think about how lucky you are to have what you have, the unique talents you’ve been blessed with, and the people in your life who care about you.
• Focus on your strengths. Instead of looking at your weaknesses, ask yourself what your strengths are and be proud of them. Don’t brag, but feel good about your talents and work on using them to your best advantage.
• Be okay with imperfection. No one is perfect. We all know that, but still seem to strive for it anyway. You aren’t perfect and you never will be. I certainly am not, and I’m still working on being okay with that. If you look at it in a different way, that imperfection is what makes you who you are. Perfection would be boring!
• Don’t knock others down. Sometimes we try to criticize others just to make ourselves look or feel better. This is a destructive habit that, in the end, hurts you as well. Instead, try to be happy for them and learn from their successes.
Don’t focus on how you rank in comparison to others—life is not a competition. It’s a journey. We are all on our own path — to find something, to become something, to learn, to create something of our own. Your journey has nothing to do with how well other people are doing, or what they have. It has everything to do with what you want to do, and where you want to go. That’s all you need to worry about. The only one you should compare yourself with is you.
No matter how many clothes you buy, or how skinny you get, or how many people follow your blog, or how many books you publish, or if your children are reverent at church . . . if you always want what others have, you will never have enough. That is an endless cycle that never leads to happiness.
Instead, learn to realize that what you have is already enough. If you have shelter over your head, food on the table, clothes on your back, and people who love you, you are blessed. You have enough.
You are enough!
Be good with that, and you’ll find contentment.
I love to learn from you, and I’m always interested in hearing what you have to say, so please share your thoughts with me in the comments.