7 Ways To Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
"Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self-worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has." - Elizabeth O'Connor
At Mavericks Unlimited, we talk a lot about making your own rules and having success on YOUR terms. But, you can't be successful on your terms if you are constantly comparing yourself to others!
If you find yourself looking at others with a bit of green-eyed monster, you are probably focused on one of three things:
- Thinking they are better than you - that might be better at a specific thing, or just that they are better looking/smarter/more deserving than you.
- Thinking they have a better life or better opportunities than you.
- Thinking they have an easier life and fewer worries or problems than you.
The truth though, is that you can't do anything about "they", you can only affect your own life.
If you are focused on "they", you instantly disempower yourself...either by going into victim mode (where you feel powerless and inferior) or judge mode (where you feel righteous, angry and superior).
So, STOP IT!
Easier said than done though, right? So let's take a deeper look at what is going on inside...
What’s going on inside
"Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value. Jealousy scans for evidence to prove the point - that others will be preferred and rewarded more than you.” - Jennifer James
Whether your response to comparing yourself to others is feeling better than or less than the other person, both almost always come down to the big kahuna:
I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
This belief can affect us so much that it causes an actual physiological reaction. At it's worst, the adrenaline pumps. The thoughts race. The inner critic has a field day. Some of the things we say to ourselves, we would punch other people for. I’m an idiot. I’m a fuckwit.
Or, you might go the other way and get angry. Jammy g*t. Lucky so-and-so! How come they get all the luck?
Whichever way, it isn't pretty...and it doesn' actually help you feel better or make your life better.
How to stop comparing yourself to others
Simply put, when you are in this space you are not living in the present. You are either in the negative past or future. You are probably in your head.
You are not in your body...yet that is exactly where you need to be. That is where your POWER is.
When you get into that space, get out a pen and paper. Not a computer…it is not organic enough. Writing with a pen is visceral, kinesthetic. It will get you back in your body.
Then, write answers to any or all of the following prompts:
- What are you envious of? - What is it that you think they have got? What does having this give them i.e. why EXACTLY are you jealous? This may give you a clue to what you actually want! What are one or two steps that you could take towards what you truly want?
- Get real about the situation - Most envy or jealousy about is based on assumptions and appearances, especially if we are basing what we see on Facebook or Twitter. What facts do you know about the other person’s situation? What assumptions are you making? What might be the downsides of having what you think they have? (Almost EVERYTHING has a downside)
- What are you proud of? - What are 20 things that you have done or achieved…no matter how big or small? Next to these write down why this is so important.
- Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate - What are 2o things that you can appreciate in your life? When you focus on what is good in YOUR life, you stop caring so much about other people's lives.
- Get some sage advice on the situation - Write a letter to your wisest self or your inner 80 year old (thank you Julia Cameron and the Artists Way for this one!) or your biggest hero about how you are feeling, what you believe etc. Get it all down. Everything. Drain the swamp. Then put your pen down, take some deep breaths, pick your pen up and write a letter back to yourself as if you were writing from your wisest self or inner 80 year old or biggest hero. See what your bigger, wiser self has to say on the subject!
- Change how you want the situation to be…on paper - Write down all that you are thinking and feeling about the situation. Again, drain the swamp. On another sheet, write down what you do want…in detail. Ditch the first piece of paper…burn it, flush it. Keep the second.
- What would scare the bejeeeeesus out of you? - Most of the time we are living well within our comfort zone but if we were to go after the amazing things wer are capable of, we wouldn't worry about comparing ourselves to others. So, what could you do that would move you towards your dreams that would scare the living daylights out of you? Now instead of finding reasons not to do it, write down 20 reasons why it would be amazing to do. Then do it!
Some other thoughts to remember
Here are some bigger principles and lessons that might help in those moments as well...
- Trust YOUR process - Everyone is on their own journey. People evolve at different rates and have growth spurts at different times. Sometimes people will be ahead of you. Sometimes you will be the object of other people’s envy. Just know that your path and everyone else’s (yes…all 7 billion people on the planet) are different.
- It is not a competition - Comparing yourself if based completely on lack mentality and competition. There seems to be not enough to go around (money, resources…self esteem!). However, this is just a perspective and not a very empowering one. How about choosing a more abundant and collaborative perspective? Being pleased for other people’s good fortune, blessing them and supporting them will put you straight back in the flow.
- Take responsibility - Responsibility is about your “response-ability” i.e. you have the ability to choose how you respond to the situation. You are also responsible for your life and what happens in it. What can you choose to think and do that will lead you to where you really want to go? Or is being envious of someone else just easier than making your own best life happen?
- You MUST take action - any of the above questions or thought starters will shift your internal perspective and state. BUT, if you want to create real change in your life, you are going to have to DO something. What action can you take in the direction of your dreams? What is the very first step?
So there you have it. Time to stop focusing on other people and what they apparently have going for them...and time to focus on YOUR LIFE. YOUR RULES. YOUR SUCCESS. Get get 'em, tiger!