The Damage of Self Comparison

From time to time we all have compared ourselves to others, even unintentionally or perhaps someone else made the comparison and brought it to our attention. Comparing yourself to others doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing if you do it hoping to learn; however, it should not be something you encourage within your habits. Regardless, if you catch yourself making comparisons, the important part is to recognize who you are comparing yourself to and to make sure the comparison doesn’t affect you negatively. For example, you may choose to “compare” yourself to someone you admire, such “comparison” doesn’t have to be bad as long as you cognitively understand you are you and have unique characteristics which are only yours while the other person has his or hers–better yet, don’t compare yourself at all!

You may have used comparison to help you develop a guide on how to better achieve your goals, for example, you may have looked at someone else’s life because there was something you felt you could learn; maybe they have great work ethic, maybe they started from nothing or perhaps they thrived despite adversity; those type of “comparisons” can bring something positive to your life if you focus on them as guides not as wanting to be the other person. Comparing yourself to someone can be a tricky thing and more often than not it leaves one depleted; even more so if you choose to compare yourself to someone superficial and/or self involved–that isn’t going to do you any good, in that case it is best to look in and try to understand why are you comparing yourself to such person; you might discover the comparisons are really triggers and unhealed wounds.

Comparing yourself to someone else should not be the central focus within your life or you will live miserably. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, we stop feeling good and feel less empowered, hence it is not recommended, as very few people have developed the ability to “compare” from a detached place within themselves. By comparing yourself to someone else, you lose sight of everything YOU have to offer, blinding yourself to your unique qualities. All of that can increase your level of stress, leaving you feeling worthless and preventing you from being able to express yourself creatively.

Today, I would like to share with you 6 points to help you stop comparing yourself to others:

Recognize and accept the fact when you catch yourself comparing to others: The first step is always to recognize the problem and then step out of denial; it may sound simple but it’s not. When there is a built in habit of repeatedly comparing ourselves, the action becomes involuntary, we do it unconsciously, without realizing it. Once you become aware, you can start taking action on this problem. At that point you can try to stop feeding these thoughts and instead start focusing on your strengths and your gifts which can enhance your life for the better and which you can share with the world.

Focus on who you are and what you have, not on what you think you lack: Focus on how you can grow in your own life and how you can contribute to the life of others. Obviously there are still many things to be learned; that is okay for no one knows it all, so don’t let that belief limit you. Likewise don’t think because your life wasn’t “perfect” or “rosy” that you have no right to share your experiences; on the contrary “wisdom” is the result of the lessons we gathered when we made mistakes or when we were hurt.

You are not perfect, so what? News Flash–No one is! The only way to strengthen your weaknesses is by learning to trust yourself and your abilities; to do so will require introspection, more importantly it will require your commitment to transforming your life in a way that serves your unique being. Strive to work on yourself and you will see how without realizing it you will start to recognize your strengths, your gifts and abilities while nurturing and healing your wounds and weaknesses.

Be more self-aware of the harm you do to yourself: Realize the fact that by comparing yourself to someone else you are wounding yourself, worst yet, the pain you feel is something you are inflicting on you by your own choice. The person you are comparing yourself to, is living his or her life in their own way and is unaware you are constantly comparing yourself to them. The pain you feel as as result of the comparison is completely your own responsibility and it is unnecessary in your life.

Focus on learning and not on competing: It is clear nobody is perfect and you are not perfect either. Feeling bad when comparing yourself to others is a sign you do not have a strong sense of self; that is okay, you can learn to build one but you won’t get there by focusing on other people. You want a better life? focus on yourself and LEARN from others (learn not compare. Learn what to do and what not to do from others). Developing a learning attitude can help you detach yourself from any situation. If you feel as if you are “compelled” to mimic someone else then it’s most likely you are not learning but competing, and that is a recipe for disaster for not one of us is like the other, as such there can be no competition.

Limit your time on social media: Unless you work with it, it is best to limit it. Quick example: I get most of my “mail” through social media: inquiries, messages, requests for appointments; as such I check these often. Despite this, I try to make sure to limit my time using social media; which is why at times I make sure to take “days off” which I would recommend to anyone, specially if you struggle with making comparisons.

Most people show their “online life” exclusively from what they consider their “best” angle; I know this first hand because I tend to write and share about things which can make many uncomfortable yet they are part of reality as it is. I express my good or bad days and I can see how it bothers some, usually those who like to pretend their lives are perfect or who have bought into the “fake positivism” routine. They don’t like to ask themselves why it bothers them; after all I am simply being human, I have good and bad days. Sadly our society has turned social media into something where only the “highlights” are encouraged to be shown as well as irrelevant, superficial or fake nonsense; creating a false sense of reality, in other words–Delusion. From watching your feed, you might get the impression these people have no problems or difficulties and very few defects or weaknesses; that is a lie, but a lie which can drain you of energy if you choose to believe it. Let me give you an example: a young lady approached me to talk about her constant struggle of comparing herself to what was “out there“, it took a bit before she realized (cognitively and spiritually) what she was seeing was mostly filters, pounds of makeup, false lashes, false attitudes, etc. Given her personality (young but genuine) of course she couldn’t relate; to do so would have require the annihilation of her real self in exchange for approval from a lot of “cookie cutter versions” which don’t even exist past the superficiality of the screen and filters.

Too many people (specially young or older people) use this sentence “I’m not good enough”, good enough for who or based on what? If you think you can’t compare to a lot of the fake attitudes and fake faces on social media, let me tell you something…that is a good thing! Why would you want to be like them? It’s ok to have fun and play around with your “filters” and makeup or whatever you like but don’t buy into the delusion that those things are what makes the real you. If Social media is causing you stress, then limit your time; revisit your “friend’s” list and decide if you are learning something and if it’s relaxing you or not. If not, then it is time to remove some people, maybe even block them. Deleting or blocking someone doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it just means you want to limit your exposure to things which are not real or constructive and from which you can learn nothing. Exposing yourself too long to seeing situations that are not real requires of you to maintain active defense mechanisms to protect yourself and erodes at your mind and your reality. It doesn’t matter if people choose to make fake excuses for why you blocked or removed them, let them; after all it should not matter and it has always been easier for some people to put the blame on the other person rather than to look at their own lives and attitudes.

There is a principle most people have forgotten, because of this, when this principle becomes action most people automatically assume hate, jealousy, resentment, pettiness and other trivialities must be part of the equation, when in reality they may not apply. The principle I am talking about is this: We are under no obligation to like everyone we come across, and others are under no obligation to like us. It may sound cold but it is a reality and it is natural, for people resonate with those who vibrate at the same or similar rhythm. I don’t have to hate or even dislike someone in order for me not to want to be around that particular person. Confidence isn’t faking we are okay with everyone or that we like everyone. Our society applauds those who supposedly get along with everyone and are “accepted” by most. Carl Jung, Freud, Socrates, Gurtieff and many others, taught it is impossible to get along and be friendly with everyone. To be able to do so would mean the person is being “diplomatic”, in other words, that person is not being genuine; he or she isn’t expressing his or her real self. This usually means there is something which needs to be addressed within that person; something that person denies within his or her shadow or which they are suppressing. Confidence is having the courage to say “NO”, to remove oneself from a group of people or to remove a group of people from one’s circle without malice.

Don’t be in conflict with imperfection…Nobody is perfect: Although this may seem a bit redundant by now, I want to emphasize it for most of us “know” this at an intellectual level yet emotionally we tend to feel bad when we feel the results of something we did didn’t turn out “perfect”. We are not perfect and we never will be–that isn’t bad, it’s part of the beauty of self discovery and expansion; if we were “perfect” imagine how boring life would be. Being able to expand is precisely what makes us human and divine. It isn’t about not making mistakes, it’s about having a resilient attitude when we do so or when we face hurts or defeats, in doing so we learn. That process is what is called INTEGRITY.

Integrity has become so twisted and misconstrued from its original meaning, yet even its basic spelling points clearly to what it refers. Integrity is not faking “goodness”, pretending to be perfect, righteous, serious or covering oneself up from head to toe–none of that is integrity. As Plato and other great philosophers tried to teach, integrity is the “integration” of the polarities (good/bad, light/shadow) we perceive within us. This integration doesn’t happen through pure wishing it to be so but through the alchemical or psychological process of working on one self, not by denying it or by putting the responsability on some deity to wash us of our “flaws” without the internal work. As such a person who recognizes his own darkness, his own hurts, his own imperfections, while being conscious of his light–that person then is building integrity and has more integrity than the person who pretends or has “bought” the mask of false ego. Integrity CANNOT be faked, it has to be attained.

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT COMPARE YOURSELF:

-Comparisons are always unfair as we usually compare the worst of ourselves with the “best” others boast about themselves.

-Keep in mind there is no way to measure the internal aspects of the life of others and the external aspects can be faked.

-You are unique and singular; your talents, skills, successes, contributions and the way you do things all belong to you.

-When you compare yourself, you have nothing to gain but you have a lot to lose, for you start to neglect your own abilities; in the long run you end up losing your security, your dignity and your passion.

-Comparisons steal your time and bring forth depression. We start to focus on what we do not have (and we imagine that by having it we would be better) instead of focusing on what we have and what can be strengthen.

-The habit of comparing oneself can become a life long thief, for comparisons can be endless. Once this becomes a “habit” it is not easy to overcome; even when one becomes “successful“; for there will always be someone else to compare ourselves against.

-The comparison places the focus on the wrong person; keep in mind you can only change one life…YOURS. It is precisely by focusing your efforts on yourself that you will be able to achieve some change.

Whatever your passion is, keep doing it. Don’t waste time chasing after some make believe “success” for that looks different to everyone. Stop comparing yourself to others; not everything that shines is gold and every flower blooms at a different pace. Excel at doing what your passion is and only focus on perfecting it. Eventually the wrong people will exit your life and the rights ones will waltz into it.

“You marvel and applaud big heroes in their big heroic actions, and forget you are a hero in your humble life and have modest heroic actions to complete yourself.”

― Bangambiki Habyarimana

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By Sofia Falcone

I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges, victories, hopes and learnings, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves!

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