Check yourself before you wreck yourself!
Sometimes we make mistakes because mistakes are inevitable, no matter how much time and thought you put into a plan. Other blunders are the result of laziness, rashness, inflexibility or plain arrogance. Honest mistakes can be costly and are very frustrating, but mindless and avoidable errors are especially very expensive and gut ranching. The knowledge that a misstep could have been avoided is the bane of every thoughtful person.
Usually when plans don’t go well, you point a finger at other people and find someone else to blame. But a thoughtful person owns the mistakes and seeks to learn from them so as to avert them in the future. This often requires honest self-appraisal and internal inspection which eventually will help you to recognize your own thought patterns and change them before they cause bad behaviours or negative results. There are common behavioural patterns that you inflict on yourself and they are forming roadblocks and even insurmountable mountains in your progress and development in life. Over the next few weeks, we shall be looking at 5 of such self-sabotaging behaviours starting this week with “comparing yourself with another person.”
Comparing Yourself to Others
Life and the society are hyper-competitive and can batter and bruise even the healthiest egos. But the damage is exacerbated when you constantly measure yourself by other people’s standards. While it’s undeniably important to be aware of what the competition is doing, but too much focus on others is bad for business and worse for self-confidence. To maximize success, sometimes we must tune out and lock the door to the outside world so as to focus on improving our self.
When you see yourself as your “chief competitor”, and work to better the yesterday’s version of yourself, you will go far and eventually learn to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to illusive rivalries. You have your race to run and you cannot live your life on other people’s agenda and purpose. We are all human beings but your destiny and purpose in life is different. Comparing yourself to others will only make you vain or bitter because your true identity and capability will only be revealed in your lane and purpose.
Comparing yourself with others is an insult to your own being because it limits you to only reaching their level, but when you compete with yourself, you will reach your highest level potential and your best.
Many people cannot look at themselves in the mirror and smile, because on the road to “Rise and Shine”, while comparing themselves to others and living someone else’s life they somehow lost themselves. In order to shine in the eyes of other people, they became blind to themselves. Comparison can easily grow out of objective reasoning to negative thought patterns such as suspicion, judgmental attitude, resentment sadness, self-hatred, envy, bitterness, ungratefulness, and unfriendly rivalry. Each person has a distinctive personality and a unique appearance, and that is what made them special and one of a kind.
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
- Recognize your differences.
Most people compare their weaknesses to other people’s strength! Their insides with others’ outsides; what they haven’t accomplished with what others have – including people who have a huge head start on them!
Whenever you notice yourself comparing yourself with another person, take a moment to remind yourself that you are good enough just as you are, even if you don’t have something you see in those around you such as business success, academic credentials, wonderful home, hot body, celebrity social life or high-achieving kids. They are very likely looking at something you have or do well, and wishing they did, too.
- Avoid your triggers.
Social media such as Facebook can trigger depression as people compare their lives with those of their increasingly expansive online network of “friends.” But remember, people can photo shop their postings by highlighting the good and leaving out the not-so-pretty parts. So if Facebook feed makes you feel miserable about yourself, then log off or take a social media sabbatical.
- Focus on your own progress.
Research have shown that the happiest people are not just those who make positive comparisons with others, but include those who don’t make any. Instead, they focus on their efforts to improve themselves. Imagine the difference it would make if you re-channelled all the energy you’ve expended comparing yourself into bettering yourself. You are your ultimate frame of reference, so track yourself against yourself.
- Admit your envy.
The emotions we don’t own will own us. So if you’re wrestling with the envy, the best way to loosen its grip is to acknowledge and verbalise it. You might feel a bit foolish by admitting you’re jealous of someone else’s success, talents or attributes but having the courage to admit it can be liberating. Not only that, but by having the courage to confide in the person you’re envious of, can forge bonds in ways harbouring hidden envy never can.
- Get off your own back.
You might think you’re the only person who ever struggles with feeling like you’re constantly falling short of your expectations, but the truth is that many people have made self-criticism an art by habitually focusing on what they haven’t done as well as what they would like rather than on all that they have. Imagine the difference it could make if you focused on what you did well? Imagine how much better you could channel your energy if you weren’t always pulling yourself down and marking yourself wrong.
Also, don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself making comparisons because it will only fan the “I’m not enough” flames. Instead, try being kinder to yourself; accept your own humanity, fallibility and vulnerability. As a bonus, it makes you more forgiving of others’ failings, too.
The truth is that we all have our own fears to overcome, burdens to carry, gifts to share and lessons to learn. So run your own race and focus on doing the best you can with what you’ve got. The rest will take care of itself.