Do you ever get stuck in the comparison trap?
I started thinking about this long ago, when I had an influx of clients who were starting their own small businesses, and many had said that they compare themselves to others and then often end up feeling bad for doing so.
They feel bad for the initial comparisons, and then they feel bad for not being at the same level as the person they are comparing themselves to.
I must admit, I was guilty of doing this too. When I first started coaching several years ago, I saw other coaches as more accomplished than me. They had more clients, more knowledge, better systems in place and more income. I kept putting myself down for not being at the same level they were at.
Until one day I realised that my journey is different to anyone else’s and comparing myself to others was not doing me any favours. Knowing myself and the way I operate, I know that I do things in my own time and in my own way and I am now very comfortable with that.
If I do compare myself to others now, it is only because I see traits in them that I would like to have too, and so I work at that until I have mastered whatever it is I want to master.
So, why do we compare ourselves to others?
I think for women especially, comparisons are drawn because we want to be better, achieve more and lead more fulfilling lives.
However, it seems all too easy for many women to compare themselves to others and then put themselves down because they are “not there yet” or “not as good as XYZ” and this can stir great feelings of judgement, jealousy, rivalry, envy, and other feelings of inadequacy and not feeling good enough. Not a fun way to live, wouldn’t you agree?
I conducted a little research and asked some of my male friends for the purpose of this article if they compare themselves the same way women do, and the majority said that men do not compare themselves with others; that they are typically struggling to be the alpha males in the group.
However, the comments were that men want to be seen as successful and want respect from those around them.
Surely that is similar to women then? Women strive to succeed, to be respected and to make our place in the world too.
Maybe comparing oneself to others is just part of our human nature. Perhaps the downfall is only when the comparison leads to negative thought patterns that tend to spiral out of control and hold you back from being the successful person you want to be.
Personally, I think it is okay if you do compare yourself to someone in order to take on certain positive traits or attributes if that is what propels you to move forward and be more successful.
However, if comparing yourself to someone else leads to negative thinking and feelings of not being good enough, then it is time to choose something different.
Because at the end of the day, you are your own unique person and what someone else is doing is really none of your business!
How do you mellow out the comparison-itis then?
Know yourself. Know how you work. Stay true to your values and focus on what you want to achieve and how you will get there.
This is your journey, not someone else’s. Stay in your own lane!
What someone else is doing may not fit what you are doing and vice versa, so let go of the comparison and follow your own path. It is totally okay to do that.
Self-acceptance is key to your success and to forging your own path. Learning how to be kind to yourself and treating yourself with compassion are probably the most important qualities you can develop for yourself, especially when running a business or advancing your career.
If you are struggling with comparison-itis, please do get in touch with me. I work with women in the field of self-acceptance and self-worth and would love to help you ditch the comparisons and for you to stand in your own grace.