I wanted to open this post with a nice quote about the danger of comparison. Something like…
“Don’t compare yourself with anyone else in this world. If you do, you are insulting yourself.” ~Bill Gates
However, type “comparison quotes” into Google and all you get is adverts for gocompare.com, comparethemarket.com, moneysupermarket.com, confused.com etc.
Not the illustration I was looking for…
Or is it?
As I went to type in another, more refined Google search – along the lines of “comparing yourself to others” – I paused and thought for a moment. Perhaps the first set of results aren’t as irrelevant as they might initially seem. I clicked on gocompare.com to read that GoCompare provides a comparison service to help you look for a deal better than the one you already have, whether than be for vehicle, home, pet and travel insurance, breakdown cover, gas and electricity, broadband, or loans and mortgages. But the principle of comparison is exactly the same.
We are always looking for a better deal in life. We want to be cleverer, happier, prettier, richer, more popular, more famous, more successful. We measure how good our deal in life is by comparing ourselves to others. But these comparisons are dangerous. They either make us vain (thinking we are better off than others) or bitter (thinking we are worse off than others). More often than not, we become dissatisfied with ourselves and perceive other people as being, having, or doing more than us. I am aware that I do this on a regular basis. I worry that I’m not progressing through life in the way that I should be. I self-deprecate and make myself feel like an inadequate failure.
I don’t have a boyfriend… but lots of my friends are in stable relationships. I still live with my parents… while many of my peers are beginning to set up their own homes. I overwork and struggle to relax… yet others seem to be pros at getting the balance just right. I feel sad… when everyone around me manages to be happy.
The grass is always greener on the other side, right?
Wrong! If the grass is greener on the other side, then it’s probably astro turf. In other words, what we tune in to seeing is other people’s ‘best bits’.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~Steve Furtick
Social media makes these comparisons extremely easy. I bet we’ve all scrolled through our Facebook newsfeeds, seen our friends’ posts and started to envy what they’ve got in their life. Their grass may seem greener than yours, but you have no idea know how much it’s been raining on the other side, or how much that grass has been fertilised with crap.
I think the reason we compare is because we like to be able to quantify our successes; we want to know where we fit into the grand scheme of life. But comparing yourself with someone else is an incredibly inaccurate measure of success.
You cannot compare apples to oranges. Yes, they are both fruit, but it would be ridiculous to fault an apple for not being a good orange, and visa versa, an orange will never succeed at being an apple.
No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you. As humans, we all have things in common; we are alike in many ways, but we are not the same. We are all different. And we are always changing. We are always becoming more. We are always creating and re-creating our selves – it’s human nature. The decisions you make today will direct you towards who you are tomorrow. So, when you catch yourself starting to compare yourself to another person, why not compare your present self to a past version of yourself instead?
Stop. Think. And ask yourself a few questions…
What are you doing today that you couldn’t have done a year ago? What new decisions have you made or what new actions have you taken that have resulted in new opportunities opening up in your life? What negative behaviour have you stopped? What positive behaviour started engaging in? How has your life improved? How have you improved? In other words, how are you becoming a new and improved version of yourself?
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” ~Michelangelo
You are the sculptor, and it is your job to sculpt your own statue. Your statue will be different to everyone else. Not better. Not worse. Just different. It’ll be unique and it’ll be you.